Don't Think of an Elephant!

  • by George Lakoff
  • Narrated by George Wilson
  • 4 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This New York Times best seller is the authoritative guide to comprehending what happened in the 2004 elections and understanding how progressive thinkers can wrest control of America's political dialogue away from the conservatives who have it now. Author George Lakoff, who has become a key advisor to the Democratic Party, asserts that the Republican Party has enjoyed recent success because of the way it expertly "frames" the issues. Using carefully chosen terminology like "tax relief" and "family values", conservatives have cast themselves in a positive light and convinced many Americans to vote against their true beliefs. Now Lakoff shows how progressives can beat conservatives at their own game.
Regardless of your political beliefs, Don't Think of an Elephant! will surely open your eyes to the reality of the modern political landscape.


What the Critics Say

"[Lakoff's] writing is clear and succinct, and he illuminates his theories through easy-to-follow examples from current politics." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A tremendously insightful book

This is a popularized version of George Lakoff's superb POLITICS AND MORALS, which was an attempt to explain the fundamental differences between the moral vision that informs both parties. Members of both parties can definitely benefit from the book, either by affirming one's view of things, or by causing reevaluation. Lakoff explains that the views can be best expressed in terms of how each side views families. Democrats tend to operate with a "nurturing parent" model of morals and politics, while Republicans tend to operate with a "stern father" model. I personally believe that this has extraordinary explanatory power in describing the difference between the two parties. Indeed, if you listen to almost any member of the GOP, you will see a host of concepts that flow from a "stern father" model. It explains why Republicans consistently fight any effort on the part of government to help Americans, prefering instead to force individuals to take complete responsibility for their lives. It explains conversely why Democrats tend to support legislation that helps those who may temporarily in need of help. The GOP is trying to force people to stand on their own two feet, while Democrats realize that sometimes people need help getting back on their feet.

The other major aspect of the book is Lakoff's concern that Democrats (his affiliation) have done a terrible job of "framing" political issues, and using the moral model he has articulated and noted in my first paragraph, he wants to show Democrats how he can reframe issues themselves, and not merely allow the GOP to frame every issue.

Republicans might disagree with Lakoff, but I think his "stern father"/"nuturing parent" distinction is astonishingly insightful. Many conservatives will embrace the concepts that attach to a "stern father" model (it certianly describes, for instance, the work of GOP kingpin James Dobson). I heartily recommend this book.
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- Robert

A very insightful book

This is one of the best audiobooks I've downloaded. Prof. Lakoff does a terrific job of explaining how the Republicans use (abuse?) the language. Truly a wake up call for Democrats.
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- William H. Frye (Home)

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-01-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books