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When we decide to blow the whistle, spill the beans, take a rain check, or get the hell out of Dodge, we're using analogies whose original meanings rarely enter out consciousness. But beneath their surface, all of them convey a complex network of ideas that shape our thinking in analogous situations. Unfortunately, not every analogy that rings true is true.
Do neighboring countries really topple like dominoes? Is DNA evidence the fingerprint of the twenty-first century? Is the marketplace a true battlefield? And do 'three-strikes laws,' modeled after baseball, actually ensure justice, or do they simply fill up our prisons with shoplifters and potheads? Surprisingly, most of us don't realize just how often analogies slip in under the radar to mislead or deceive - often with serious consequences.
But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, because analogy also plays a catalytic role in the discovery and spread of good ideas. Loose coins gave Johannes Gutenberg the idea for movable type. Meatpacking plants inspired Henry Ford's first moving assembly line. And the 'bicycle for the mind' that Steve Jobs first envisioned as a friendly Mac not only democratized computing but ushered in the information age. Such breakthroughs are no coincidence; since the dawn of history, human progress has always been fueled by out analogical instinct.
In Shortcut, former presidential speechwriter John Pollack reveals just how pervasive analogies really are, and how powerful. He also explains how to evaluate the 'truth' of any analogy and explores why people who hone their ability with analogy become more creative, more persuasive, and more likely to achieve their goals. For those of us who need to explain, innovate, persuade, or sell, this book - rich with stories and insights - should change the way we perceive out world and our ability to shape it.