A review by steph_84
Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate: The Essential Guide for Progressives by George Lakoff


This book is for progressives who identify as progressives. If you don’t identify as progressive this book isn’t for you: as evidenced by many of the reviews by centrists and right-wingers who gave the book one or two stars!

It’s very important reading for anyone wanting to progress liberal issues, explaining how to frame issues and respond to the very-successful framing by conservatives so that their ideas seem like “common sense” to anyone not paying attention. I tweeted once that anyone who used the phrase “common sense” was probably a pushing a right-wing agenda. This book explains why that’s true... for now. It’s a good kick up the bum for progressives to be more strategic.

The downsides for me were:
1. There’s quite a lot of repetition. The editing could have been tighter. The ideas were interesting but in practice I got distracted by other books along the way rather than wanting to read it all in one go.
2. I know it’s by an American author but wow it’s really REALLY American. The assumption that Americans are superior to everyone else led to a fair bit of eye rolling and eyebrow-raising on my part, and I was alarmed at how even progressives were assumed to be pro-military. Most of the advice applies to other western countries, but not all.
3. The original book was written in 2004 but my version was updated in 2014 with a few notes throughout, which was an odd mix. For such a popular book I’d like to see a proper update with contemporary examples and ideas.

Irritating phrases aside, the Left really needs this book. We are losing the war and need to change strategies. I plan to implement these strategies and have already started talking to others about it.