December 24, 2018

Serendipity is credited with some of our most important discoveries, from penicillin to super glue. But what is it?

The Atlantic

December 23, 2018

Why Exaggeration Jokes Work

The Los Angeles Times

December 19, 2018

The State of Politics Today Should Scare Us into Our Wits

Lit Hub

December 18, 2018

Making Dad Jokes Is, in fact, A Neurological Condition

The Wall Street Journal

November 16, 2018

Five Best: James Geary on Works of Inspired Wit

Nieman Reports

October 31, 2018

Why Journalists Need To Be Witty

Journalistic wit means spotting the connections others don’t see—or don’t want us to see

The Wall Street Journal

September 21, 2018

So a Computer Walks Into a Bar…

The future of artificial intelligence depends on teaching machines to talk like human beings - complete with irony, sarcasm and puns


Annual Question


What is the last question?
Why is the phenomenon too familiar to investigate the hardest thing to completely understand?


This question appears in The Last Unknowns in the U.S. and U.K.


What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?


This article appears in This Idea Is Brilliant in the U.S. and the U.K.


What will change everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?
The Brain-Machine Interface


This article appears in This Will Change Everything in the U.S. and U.K.


What have you changed your mind about? Why?
Neuroeconomics really explains human economic behavior


What are you optimistic about?
'Personal carbon trading' will allow people to take individual action to tackle a global problem


This article appears in What Are You Optimistic About? in the U.S. and U.K.

Nieman Storyboard

April 19, 2017

One Great Sentence: Félix Fénéon


December 16, 2012
Lexicon Valley - Good Is Up

In this podcast, Mike Vuolo & co. explore how Lakoff and Johnson’s theories illuminate the persistence of the “fiscal cliff” metaphor, with contributions from yours truly

The Independent

 October 14, 2012
The wit of the wise

Where would we be without aphorisms?

Nieman Reports

Fall 2012
Waving, Not Drowning
Thoughts on The Future of The Magazine

The Guardian

June 30, 2011
Worn-out words

Expressions that have become such cliches that they have lost all meaning — including the use of 'literally' to mean 'metaphorically'

SETI Institute

May 23, 2011
Metaphor and Science

From string theory to the greenhouse effect — how metaphor sheds light on science. Discover why your brain is like a rain forest (that's a simile!)

Macmillan Dictionary

April 11, 2011
Metaphors in mind

Schott’s Vocab

February 8, 2011
Metaphor, A Taxonomy

The Observer

February 6, 2011
Ideas for modern living: metaphor

Life constantly shows us ways to use metaphor literally

The Takeaway

January 12, 2011

The Misinterpretation of Metaphors
The impact of metaphors in political rhetoric and imagery


December 16, 2010

Soft Countries Make Soft Men
Q&A with Mike Newell, director of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The Takeaway

March 2, 2010
Telling a Story Through Numbers

Are telling the numbers the best way to tell a news story?

August 2009
Sudden Wisdom

Aphorisms are literature's hand luggage—no other type of writing does so much with so little

The Takeaway

October 8, 2008

Political campaigns and the war of witty words
The Takeaway talks with James Geary about political aphorisms

The Observer

July 13, 2008

I, Robot
Although we've always been a bionic species, says James Geary, we're now blurring the line between man and machine like never before

Time Out - London

March 12–18, 2008
Slogan’s Run

Those pithy little sayings that capture universal truths in a nutshell

BBC Radio 4

October 21, 2007
Broadcasting House
A modest proposal for funding the BBC...

The Huffington Post

October 2, 2007
There Is an Aphorism for Everything

The Huffington Post

September 29, 2007

If It’s Good Enough for Gordon, It’s Good Enough for Me
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown can choose his moment for the next election; oh why, oh why can't I...?


July 2, 2007
Bomb plot tests British again
New Prime Minister Gordon Brown edges away from Tony Blair and the Iraq war as the U.K. braces against the rising terror threat


June 29, 2007
Tony Blair’s toodle-oo
If the British people really do want less spin and more substance from their prime minister, then Gordon Brown could be the man to deliver it

The Huffington Post

June 2007
The RoboCup 2007 robotic soccer championship


Dylan Evans' utopia experiment in Scotland

BBC Radio 4

April 15, 2007
Broadcasting House
More on Britain’s relationship to the tabloid press...

BBC Radio 4

December 3, 2006
Broadcasting House
On the tabloid press and British impertinence toward authority...

The British Journalism Review

Vol. 17, No. 1, 2006, pages 41-44
In praise of the tabs (sort of) — Why I (kind of) like the British tabloid press...

James Joyce Quarterly

Fall 1999 / Winter 2000, Vol. 37, No. 1 / 2, pp. 287–290

Review - De Invloed van Joyce op Sterne, by Peter de Voogd

James Joyce Quarterly

Summer 1999, Vol. 36, No. 4, pp. 1014–1017

Review - Fighting the Waves: The Music of George Antheil, Ensemble Modern

James Joyce Quarterly

Fall 1996 / Winter 1997, Vol. 34, No. 1 / 2, pp. 201–206
Review - Ulysses, by James Joyce, translated into Flemish by Paul Claes and Mon Nys

James Joyce Quarterly

Winter 1996, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 305–310
Review - The Verbal Empires of Simon Vestdijk and James Joyce, by E.M. Beekman

New Scientist

13 April 1996
Saving the Sounds of Silence
James Geary rants and raves about peace and quiet


Vol II No 2 1995
My translation from the Dutch of Rabbit, Run by Jan Stavinoha, pp. 25-28


My translation from the Dutch of Family Secret by Stephan Sanders, pp. 33-35

Het Parool

My translation from the Dutch of 221b Bakerstreet, a poster by Waldo Bien


An interview with Sir John Maddox (1925–2009)


Here's a review of Helix, from Nature Vol 365 7 Oct 1993 pp. 570-571