Recommended Books

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Reviews for some other excellent books coming soon: Merge Left by Ian Haney Lopez is great for activists; Just Listen by Mark Goulston for people who want to have more effective and connected conversations in general.

George Lakoff's don't think of an elephant! know your values and frame the debate helps Democrats get their heart into their message.

Read with Chapter 1 of Cognitive Politics

Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion is a fascinating exploration into morality, culminating in the Moral Foundations theory about why we become liberals and conservatives.

GoodReads review

Read with Chapter 2 of Cognitive Politics

Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is a great counter-balance to vapid high school history classes. It doesn't pretend to be balanced, but to show the side of history that is often skipped. Note to progressives: Zinn doesn't really pretend to be balanced, but to show the other side of history. I've started hearing from people in very progressive high schools, that sometimes this is all the history they get: and they don't appreciate getting biased partial stories either! We're most convincing when we've listened to everyone, confident that our view will hold up.

Read with Chapter 8 of Cognitive Politics on American Exceptionalism.

Reading Saving Capitalism, it's clear that Robert Reich has listened to conservatives: he doesn't just call for more equal outcomes, but shows why the outcomes people are experiencing are currently unfair.
Saving Capitalism connects how inequality is getting worse, and how that is bad for our country and our democracy, while also digging in to the reasons why it's getting worse. For all those negatives, it is a very positive book -- Reich is one of the few people who can both admit to the negative trends and describe a realistic, non-utopian answer to turn the problems around. Review on goodreads. Saving Capitalism is a great companion book for the "Economics" chapter of Cognitive Politics, sharing a progressive view that engages conservative starting points. If you have friends who think "redistribution" is unfair, buy them a copy of this book.

Read with Chapter 9 of Cognitive Politics — or gift to people you want to reach.

Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom was a response to fascism that predates
Haidt's research on authority and Authoritarianism, but has many parallels.

Read with Chapter 2 of Cognitive Politics

Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear Frank Luntz gives framing advice -- parallel to
George Lakoff -- to Republicans.

Read with Chapter 1 of Cognitive Politics

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Online Resources

Chapter 1. George Lakoff discusses reframing and reclaiming some words and phrases currently used more effectively by Republicans: Reframing, Words to Reclaim. For a good introduction to his theoretical work on metaphors, outside of politics, read the first pages of Metaphor: The Language of the Unconscious.

Chapter 2. There has been an increasing scientific consensus that there are real differences between what we label liberal and conservative. Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains is a good overview, or see The Secret Lives of Liberals and Conservatives:
Personality Profiles, Interaction Styles, and the
Things They Leave Behind
for a detailed and historical look at the science.

Chapter 4. The Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer.

Chapter 6, Abortion: Sanctity, Authority, Otherness. Paul Ryan's The Cause of Life simply never mentions women.

Issues - change this to a block

Cognitive Politics covers framing for four issues, chosen because they best exemplify the framing techniques, not because they are the hot-button issues today. After the book publication, I'll be exploring the framing on more issues. For each hot topic, the (admittedly ambitious) goal is to have both an examination of the framing and a sample comment you can rewrite, make your own, and share. If you would like to be involved, let Stephen know.