What Wit is, How it Works, and Why We Need It
Wit is often thought of as simply being funny. But wit is more than just having a knack for snappy comebacks. Wit is the quick, instinctive intelligence that allows us to think, say or do the right thing at the right time in the right place.
Forthcoming from Norton in November!
I Is an Other
The Secret Life of Metaphor and
How It Shapes the Way We See the World
New York Times bestselling author James Geary offers a fascinating look at metaphors and their influence in every aspect of our lives, from ordinary conversation and commercial messaging to news reports and political speeches.
Geary's Guide to the
World's Great Aphorists
Geary's Guide is the result of a lifetime's obsession with aphorisms and a year's death-defying research in the British Library. More than 350 authors from around the world, some of whom appear here in English for the first time, are brought together in this lively and thought-provoking compendium.
The World in a Phrase
A Brief History of the Aphorism
The World in a Phrase is a whimsical, humorous tour through the history of this remarkable literary form and its extraordinary practitioners. The book chronicles the varied, often idiosyncratic backgrounds of the world’s key thinkers and shows, as eighteenth-century aphorist Vauvenargues puts it, just how much “the maxims of men reveal their hearts”.
The Body Electric
An Anatomy Of The New Bionic Senses
Drawing on fields as diverse as artificial intelligence and neuroscience, The Body Electric provides an exciting synthesis of the people and technology making the convergence between biology and technology possible, while addressing the psychological, social and philosophical implications of these startling developments.
Advance praise for Wit's End
"Wit’s End is delicious. James Geary has managed to produce a witty book about wit that steers an elegant path between waggishness and wisdom."
– Stephen Fry
"Comedy is famously impossible to describe without destroying it, so James Geary — in this entertaining and informative and funny book — makes a very smart and effective move: he does the police in different voices. He embodies the many different forms that wit takes, from poems to jokes to jive to rap. In a time of constant, unintentional humor, here is a purposeful and valuable reminder that sometimes it's on purpose and sometimes it's very nearly life-saving."
– David Shields
"If you've ever spent hours overanalyzing your favorite standup special or sitcom episode, this is the kind of insightful, carefully reasoned deep dive you'll love."
– David Litt, New York Times bestselling author of Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years
Aphorisms by John Getchell
January 7, 2018
One fateful day in March of 2015, John Getchell, having stirred from a long, cold, snowy Maine winter, found himself shopping in a big-box store south of Portland, where he encountered an internally-illuminated portable marquee, of the kind most often seen bearing Bible verses outside churches. John had a little revelation right then. He bought the internally-illuminated portable marquee, set it up on his front lawn along a well-traveled road in his Maine neighborhood, and began posting his thoughts for the day—every day. And so it came to pass that Maine got one of its most eccentric roadside attractions and the rest of us got the musing, amusing gospel according to John the aphorist, in Sign of the Apocalypse: Ruminations and Wit from An American Roadside Prophet.
Many of John's signs are unabashed plays on and with words...
Box wine is a cardboardeaux
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses
Others harbor more wistful wisdom...
Be the person your dog thinks you are
Half of the people you know are below average
Some are smart political satire...
The buck doesn't even slow down here
Build a longer table, not a higher wall
And one is a lovely Emily Dickinson-ian quatrain that serves as a kind of perennial existential New Year's resolution...
Eat it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Wherever you turn in Sign of the Apocalypse, you find unmistakable signs of Getchell's warm, funny, insightful intelligence at work.