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Watch Your F#*k%^g Language!: Why the Analogies We Embrace Drive Success and Failure, and How to Choose Better Ones

John Pollack

September 24, 2014

"The analogical instinct is the human urge to compare what we encounter to what we know and, based on that comparison, jump to conclusions. This rush to judgment is a good thing, most of the time. It's an evolutionary advantage that helped our ancestors perceive the difference between a floating log and a floating crocodile; those who failed to see the similarity tended to get eaten at higher rates, and reproduce less. ... Eons later, analogies still drive our decision-making as individuals, as organizations, as companies and even as nations. ... In fact, a survey of history's greatest innovators, from Copernicus to Gutenberg to Darwin to the Wright Brothers, all achieved their greatest breakthroughs in large part through the effective use of analogy. Leaders as diverse as Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King also used analogy to great effect, persuading millions that they could change the world, no matter what challenges might lie ahead."

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