Metaphors We Live By (Book)

For the first time in decades, I started re-reading one of my favorite books, “Metaphors We Live By”, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.


I mention this book because I consider it helpful for mnemonic purposes. Metaphor plays a very important role in our thinking processes. This book explains important ways in which metaphor structures our concepts.


Yes! It was my research into Lakoff’s ideas that led me to mnemonics earlier this year. I like to build my images with metaphorical understanding of concepts.

Would definitely like to hear more about your research and how that led you to mnemonics.

Not much to say. I was asking questions about “embodied knowledge” on a Facebook group and someone suggested a previous discussion they had started about Moonwalking with Einstein could be related. I read the discussion and thought it sounded interesting so I looked further into it and the rest is history.

I do think the two are related. Lakoff and Johnson’s thesis is that our concepts can only be understood through our experience with the world such that even abstract concepts are thought of in terms of things we perceive through our senses. In the same way, in mnemonics we take abstract things and turn them into something else that is perceivable by the senses (images in places) - albeit in our imagination.

Do memory palaces work because our brains really work the way Lakoff and Johnson say?

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I discovered Lakoff’s book around ‘92, if I recall correctly. I found his discussions of metaphors exceedingly useful, but I am not sure to what extent their use is fundamental to our thought processes—that is, not sure if there is a strong argument that we are neurally wired in some way that favors to metaphorical thought as opposed to some other thought structures or processes.

When I was younger, there was a time when I was excited about language-shapes-perception type theories. I haven’t ruled them out, but I am neutral on them now. I think that is part of Lakoff’s view. I am fine with the parts I remember of his arguments, but I would need to read (or remember) more deeply before I would ready to completely drain that draught.

Lakoff has another book that I remember fondly, called “Women, Fire and Dangerous Things.” I would like to revisit it sometime soon. I just did an online search for him. Found a Wiki entry that mentions his views and other books. I might take a look at his other writing if time permits.

Take care,



I have been watching videos where George Lakoff elaborates on his findings. This one is particularly interesting, in my opinion. It’s about and hour and a half long, but he goes into more depth breaking down metaphors to something deeper called embodiment. For me, this is extremely interesting.

Edit: Forgot to include the link, here it is:

Yep, embodiment is an interesting topic.