James Geary

year in books
Linda
763 books | 177 friends

Sadie D...
139 books | 284 friends

Keith
2,824 books | 730 friends

Meg
Meg
8,107 books | 17 friends

Michael...
404 books | 365 friends

Christa
5,122 books | 708 friends

Fabiano
253 books | 173 friends

Elise
279 books | 71 friends

More friends…

James Geary

Goodreads Author


Website

Twitter

Genre

Member Since
September 2013


James Geary is the author of Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It, I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World, Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism, and The Body Electric: An Anatomy of The New Bionic Senses. He is the deputy curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, editor of Nieman Reports, and former editor of the European edition of Time magazine. ...more

To ask James Geary questions, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

James Geary I follow Paul Valery's observation that inspiration is "the act of drawing the chair up to the work table."…moreI follow Paul Valery's observation that inspiration is "the act of drawing the chair up to the work table."(less)
James Geary Sadly, inspiration has nothing to do with the way I write. (See my answer to the 'how to deal with writer's block' question.) If stuck, though, it's o…moreSadly, inspiration has nothing to do with the way I write. (See my answer to the 'how to deal with writer's block' question.) If stuck, though, it's often helpful to do something else for a while, like the dishes or go for a run. That gives the unconscious a little more room to roam and send back ideas...(less)
Average rating: 3.74 · 1,262 ratings · 209 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
I is an Other: The Secret L...

3.87 avg rating — 667 ratings — published 2011 — 4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Wit's End: What Wit Is, How...

3.35 avg rating — 295 ratings — published 2018 — 6 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
The World in a Phrase: A Br...

3.71 avg rating — 202 ratings — published 2005 — 10 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Geary's Guide to the World'...

4.08 avg rating — 79 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
The Body Electric: An Anato...

3.25 avg rating — 8 ratings — published 2002 — 3 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
Corrupted into Song: The Co...

by
4.64 avg rating — 11 ratings4 editions
Rate this book
Clear rating
More books by James Geary…

Wit’s End World* Tour

The Wit’s End World* Tour is winding down, but here’s a little visual retrospective of the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met. My thanks to all the booksellers, bookshops, festivals, and organizers of these events—and especially to everyone who turned out to talk about wit.


(* By ‘World’, of course I mean the United States of America…)


I’ll be adding new dates to the Events section of my homep

Read more of this blog post »
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on December 07, 2019 12:58

Upcoming Events

No scheduled events.

James’s Recent Updates

James Geary has read
The Overstory by Richard Powers
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Downeast by Gigi Georges
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver (The Giver, #1)
by Lois Lowry (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Self-Portrait in Green by Marie NDiaye
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Abel's Island by William Steig
Rate this book
Clear rating
James Geary has read
Rock 'n' Roll Sweepstakes by Campbell Devine
Rate this book
Clear rating
More of James's books…
“You only really discover the strength of your spine when your back is against the wall.”
James Geary

“For life is short and the art of writing books is very, very long.”
James Geary

“Pattern recognition is so basic that the brain's pattern detection modules and its reward circuitry became inextricably linked. Whenever we successfully detect a pattern-or think we detect a pattern-the neurotransmitters responsible for sensations of pleasure squirt through our brains. If a pattern has repeated often enough and successfully enough in the past, the neurotransmitter release occurs in response to the mere presence of suggestive cues, long before the expected outcome of that pattern actually occurs. Like the study participants who reported seeing regular sequences in random stimuli, we will use alomst any pretext to get our pattern recognition kicks.

Pattern recognition is the most primitive form of analogical reasoning, part of the neural circuitry for metaphor. Monkeys, rodents, and birds recognize patterns, too. What distinguishes humans from other species, though, is that we have elevated pattern recognition to an art. "To understand," the philosopher Isaiah Berlin observed, "is to perceive patterns."

Metaphor, however, is not the mere detection of patterns; it is the creation of patterns, too. When Robert Frost wrote,

"A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain"

his brain created a pattern connecting umbrellas to banks, a pattern retraced every time someone else reads this sentence. Frost believed passionately that an understanding of metaphor was essential not just to survival in university literature courses but also to survival in daily life.”
James Geary, I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World

Topics Mentioning This Author

topics posts views last activity  
Booktastic Bookah...: Color Count 2018 8 23 Jul 03, 2018 08:39AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: Richo's Challenges to Get to 1,000 Books 83 289 Oct 28, 2018 05:12AM  
Nothing But Readi...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Level 4 of the Serious Reader Challenge for 2018 51 250 Jan 02, 2019 06:37AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: Richo's 365 books for 2018 944 591 Jan 06, 2019 03:57AM  
2021 Reading Chal...: Let's Turn Pages - 2018 2214 1629 Jan 12, 2019 04:17AM  
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Goodreads Author profiles needing merging BY GR STAFF pt. 25 1073 653 Feb 12, 2019 09:31AM  
The Lost Challenges: Title Search 156 134 Jun 16, 2020 02:29PM  
Nothing But Readi...: April: ANZAC Challenge 52 759 May 25, 2021 06:51PM  



No comments have been added yet.