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Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A presidential speechwriter for Bill Clinton explores the hidden power of analogy to fuel thought, connect ideas, spark innovation, and shape outcomes 

From the meatpacking plants that inspired Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line to the "domino theory" that led America into Vietnam to the "bicycle for the mind" that Steve Jobs envisioned as the Macintosh computer, analo
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2014 by Avery
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Joseph Serwach
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas by former White House speechwriter John Pollack and The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall. I recommend both books. Pollack focuses on the most-concise stories of all, analogies, to show how the smallest of momentary stories sparked the thoughts that invented our greatest innovations (including the light bulb, the assembly line and airplane), won and lost court cases, prod ...more
Melissa I
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Melissa by: Goodreads....where i find 99% of all my awesome reads
I absolutely LOVE books like to come.

Thank you to the Goodreads First Reads Program and Gotham books for allowing me to read this awesome book!! :)
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
What qualities are essential for an inventor, Edison was asked (1905)
Edison cited three:
1. Be persistent. In working out an invention the most important quality is persistence, Edison said. Nearly every man who develops a new idea works it up to a point where it looks impossible and gets discouraged. That's not the place to get discouraged. That's the place to get interested.
In developing the phonograph record, Edison's team tried all kinds of wax mixtures, even inventing some of their own, but
Mario Di Maggio
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I've always loved using analogies (or 'illustrations' in my former religious life); not only when teaching but in everyday life too. So it was a pleasure discovering some of the greatest analogies on record and how many of them triggered world-changing events and innovations. I'm not going to list them here but I particularly loved the modern computer revolution analogies, like Steve Jobs' 'bicycle of the mind' and of course Apple's 'desktop' with 'mouse', 'folders', 'scissors', 'paste', 'trash' ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Ah, analogies. This is like a survey class on analogies. The author describes the various uses of analogies and provides some interesting anecdotes about how analogies have been used and misused in a variety of situations. This was not a how-to book. The author doesn’t suggest how to use analogies, or answer usage questions (I always wonder using analogies in sales how to, or even whether to, discuss where the analogy I’m presenting breaks down – it’s not covered here). I was disheartened to lea ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Well written, engagjng, and thought provoking. This could help a lot of people create true analogies and avoid the traps set by misleading ones.
I might have given it 5 stars, but for the repeated short shrift given to conservative ideas. He gave a few nods to a few here and there, but just enough to feel comfortable in dismissing others so quickly.
This was a mere occasional annoyance, and was only bothersome at all because it was presented as being objective.
I will certainly be looking up so
Jesse Langel
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. This is for anybody who is interested in language, history, inventions, speaking, and humanity. I've been raving to everybody about it. I know a book is phenomenal when I write notes all over it. I did in this one for sure. I bought Mr. Pollack's other language book, The Pun also Rises, which I can't wait to dig into.

I thank this author for this incredible contribution to language development.
Gerardo Alonso
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
pretty good to get a reminder about how to communicate abstract ideas to the masses. Excellent for engineers, politicians and business people.

The only caveat would be that it is an American book focused on the US. Expect at least three-quarters of the book to provide you the "American way."
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A thought-provoking and engaging read filled with innumerable memorable stories about how analogy can be used to understand, innovate, & influence. The author was a speechwriter for Bill Clinton. I learned a ton and will intentionally use analogies even more in the future.
Amalie Thams
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, it added to my experience of the world around me and my understanding of language as well as mind. It’s one of those books where quotes and knowledge from the book pops into your mind as you walk around your everyday life.
Bob Wilson
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Fascinating information, well-written, easy to read and useful. Very happy I read this one!
Victoria Chin
Apr 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of short stories filled of analogies
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good writing and a perfect mix. Good length
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable book about the power of analogy, which can be used for good or evil.
Devin Ambron
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
"Analogies are like icebergs. While they often operate unnoticed, analogies aren’t accidents, they’re arguments - arguments that, like icebergs, conceal most of their mass and power beneath the surface." Effective analogies work by framing situations and arguments so subtly that there’s no awareness of the frame. They are essential to sharing ideas in stories which our brains are tuned to understand.

Analogies work by the following five criteria:

* Use the familiar to explain something less famil
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
1. The art of analogy is the art of cultivating and communicating ideas, revealing fresh connections and relationships between things that are not only useful and make intuitive sense, but also bear up under honest scrutiny.The perfect analogy makes things as simple as possible but no simpler.

2. Analogies trigger emotions that override those circuits of reason, and sometimes at a subconscious level.

3. Comparisons are the only practical way to sort a flat of incoming data.

4. Most people
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly interesting book that deserves more recognition.

This book may not be especially groundbreaking, but it really makes you think about things that you wouldn't have considered before.

Pollack starts off by saying: "Analogies are like icebergs. While they often operate unnoticed, analogies aren’t accidents, they’re arguments - arguments that, like icebergs, conceal most of their mass and power beneath the surface."

Analogies structure our thoughts and frame our perceptions. They use the
Benjamin Espen
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I received this book for free as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.

This was a fun little book. Pollack is a skilled writer, and since he chose to focus on the use of analogy in persuasion, as a political speechwriter, he also knows the field well.

I could quibble with some of the examples, or the conclusions Pollack reaches from them, but that isn't really as interesting as analogy itself.

Pollack is right, analogy is widely used by almost everyone all the time, not least for decision
William Schram
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting book on the importance of analogies in our lives. Analogies help us a great deal to understand new things by connecting it to something we are already familiar with. For instance, in one analogy that really stuck out to me, some person sued the state of Maryland because they took his DNA without a warrant. The prosecution asserted that taking DNA from someone was "like taking a fingerprint" and that is what the trial became centered on. Fingerprinting is a standard booking practic ...more
Roger K.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a fast read that tells some interesting stories about the power of analogies. He illustrates how much the use of analogy dominates our thinking. For instance, in the previous sentence, "illustrates" is a visual analogy, while "dominates" is an analogy to social hierarchy.

Pollack also shares some of the science behind how analogies are related to our experiences. He outlines a five-point framework for creating persuasive analogies:

- Use the familiar to explain something less familiar
- Hi
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A thought provoking book by a former speech writer for President Clinton, John Pollack. The book focuses on and examines the central theme of the powers and pitfalls of using analogy to drive home a point. Pollack uses many examples of recent and distant history where proper usage of powerful analogies propelled ideas, events, and politics.

Pollack also breaks down the essentials in using the principles of utilizing analogies that will make the point you are looking to achieve. And thus the shor
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC copy of this book as part of GoodReads First Reads contest.

John Pollack's book pulls back the veil on analogies we don't even realize are analogies and why that matters. He sets out a 5 point system of what makes a good analogy and consistently refers back to this in his examples. Aside from this formal definition, though the book is full of interesting historical and modern examples of analogies and how they work and what they did.

This book will make you rethink some of your
Rachel Blom
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
Shortcut is an entertaining, yet informative read about the power of analogies. The author shows how well-chosen analogies can make decisions easier, sell ideas, convince others of viewpoints, etc. He does this by sharing dozens of examples of analogies, mostly good ones and a few ones that didn't work so well.

Technically, 'Shortcut' is not a book on writing of course, as analogies can be used in speaking as much as in writing - as the author demonstrates by analyzing several brilliant speeches
Fernando Suarezserna
The topic it covers is great, I was already interested in the topic since some of the best persuasive speeches are done using analogies. The problem is that, even though this is a short book, it becomes tedious and repetitive. From the second half on, there are no new insights, just the same (good) principle it states at the beginning of the book written in different ways.

Another problem with the book is that is uses the definition of "analogies" waaay too carelessly. Stories, symbolism, pictogr
Lance Eaton
Pollack explores the power of and importance of analogies in our personal and professional communication. It's a solid book to help one think about the ways we fall into traps around analogies and how we can construct substantial analogies to get our point across. I appreciated Pollack's ability to provide many examples that help show both the power and problem with analogies as well as the factors that go into making strong analogies. If you plan to do any work wherein you need to convince othe ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author takes you on a journey to show you how common analogies are in our daily lives, how much power they have and how readers can assess if an analogy is accurate or not. Analogies are important because they serve as shortcuts in our minds for decision making are related to our experiences.

He provides users with a five-point framework for creating persuasive analogies:
1) Use the familiar to explain something less familiar
2) Highlight similarities and obscure differences
3) Identify useful
Akhil Jain
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
My fav parts:
1. Ronald Reagan at time of his second presidential election was the oldest president candidate ever. When asked by media about the age issue, he remarked, "I would not make age an issue for this election despite my opponent's inexperience and young age."
2. Einstein recognizes imagination as more important than knowledge as knowledge is limited; analogies as the best way to learn and invent. Standardisation he says is for the automobiles, not for human beings.
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is really a masterpiece,
Every invention and ideas are originated from analog.
I never read a book more precise with clear explanation about analog.
The presentation and the invention discussed are amazing
this book guide how you to take a clue and develop a beautiful ideas into invention.
Great book,
Sammie Mays
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads first-reads winner. I thought this book was very informative. Helped me to make better connections when trying to win an argument or to just get my point across.
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this as part of the Goodreads a First Reads program. I found this book interesting, with several examples of analogies used, and how those analogies were effective. It had made me consider my use of analogies, and how I can increase them in my life.
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“subtle yet powerful role of analogy in persuasion. Because while they often operate unnoticed, analogies aren’t accidents, they’re arguments—arguments that, like icebergs, conceal most of their mass and power beneath the surface. In many arguments, whoever has the best analogy wins.” 0 likes
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