Famous Analogy Essay
Klann was able to see past the superficial differences between pig and engine because he had worked in such a wide array of industries.
Exploring, reading, traveling–diversifying your own experience, as well as cultivating diversity of experience in the people you collaborate with–are all key to mastering the art of analogy.“The most creative problem solvers are those who draw from more diverse streams of information,” says Pollack.
There is great beauty to a phrase such as "All whites are created equal." Our forebosses who framed the Declaration of Independence well understood the poetry of our language.
Think how ugly it would be to say "All persons are created equal," or "All whites and blacks are created equal." Besides, as any schoolwhitey can tell you, such phrases are redundant.
Aeon email newsletters are issued by the not-for-profit, registered charity Aeon Media Group Ltd (Australian Business Number 80 612 076 614).
In fact, according to John Pollack, former Bill Clinton speechwriter and author of the new book is: “How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas.” And it turns out, in Pollack’s telling, that the “analogical instinct”–the ability to see how certain things are like other things–is at the root of innovation and of sales. I spoke with Pollack (who previously penned an entire book on puns) to learn more about how products from the Model T to the Macintosh computer owe their lives to analogy. Here’s a working definition, from Pollack: “an analogy is a comparison that suggests parallels between two different things, explicitly or implicitly.” Analogies can take many forms. A single word can be an analogy, but so can an entire fairy tale, particularly if there’s a “moral of the story” meant to persuade the listener of a certain abstract principle that applies outside the story.“We use analogies to think through all the information we encounter to make a decision,” says Pollack.
Just as you could write words on a piece of paper and retrieve those words later by holding that paper and reading it, so could you store and retrieve words in a virtual “document” on your computer.The parallels to us now seem obvious, even laughably so. And Steve Jobs’s analogical instinct (which persists today in design innovations that still make Apple the most user-friendly hardware company) is a major reason why his company is worth well over half a trillion dollars.How to Get Better at Analogies You’re starting to wish you paid more attention in that college English class?You know what I'm talking about-those who accuse speakers of English of what they call "racism." This awkward neologism, constructed by analogy with the well-established term "sexism," does not sit well in the ears, if I may mix my metaphors.But let us grant that in our society there may be injustices here and there in the treatment of either race from time to time, and let us even grant these people their terms "racism" and "racist." How valid, however, are the claims of the self-proclaimed "black libbers," or "negrists"-those who would radically change our language in order to "liberate" us poor dupes from its supposed racist bias?If you know the answer to that, you understand the power of analogies.And you have more in common with Steve Jobs than you may have realized.Just as you could organize those papers into folders for storage and easy retrieval, so could you organize those “documents” in virtual “folders” on your computer.And just as you could move your real-life folders around the surface of your desk at home, so could you move these “folders” and “documents” along a “desktop.” Your computer screen and its contents were fundamentally like something you already knew: your physical desk.Well, it’s not too late to hone your analogical talent, says Pollack, even if you snoozed through those lectures on Milton.One trick is simply to look for analogies as your read.