DonnaM » Blog Archive » Should I keep reading Lakoff

Should I keep reading Lakoff

I have been struggling to read George Lakoff’s ‘Women, Fire & Dangerous Things‘ for well over a year now. I found the information about prototype theory and basic level categories very interesting and have been thinking hard about the implications for IA. I recently had a slight paradigm shift when I realised that the underlying paradigm of computing is based on the classical concept of mutually exclusive categories with clear boundaries, which doesn’t match the way categories work in the real world.

Right now I’m slogging through the second half of the book about philisophical implications. I’ve read 60 pages and not understood a lot, and am wondering whether this half is worthwhile.

So, if you have read it (all of it), let me know whether you think it is worth continuing or whether the first half is enough for me in relation to IA.

3 Responses to “Should I keep reading Lakoff”

  1. Alex Says:

    I’ve read it 1.5 times; 1 whole time to make sure I’ve read it all, and the .5 was when I wanted to reread it to make sure I understood it all. Halfway through, I decided that the first half was really enough. Yes, the second half is a bit dull, mostly because what was so thrilling back then (the book is almost 15 years old) is rather common amongst us clever people today. :)

  2. Dan Says:

    My two cents: Most of my annotations are in the first half of the book. I’d be more inclined to read that a couple times, and if there are any topics that interest you, check the index and see where they appear later in the book.

    The case studies are very linguistic and do not illuminate the nature of categories in the way an IA would use them.

    You might also consider Moral Politics, which applies some of the ideas to the political realms in a more accessible way. You can also pick up Metaphors We Live By. This is much more about metaphor, but has gentle introductions to cognitive models (which are bases for categories). It won’t be as explicit, but it’s much more readable.

  3. donna Says:

    Thanks guys! I can get back to reading something else on my never-ending list…

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