Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Analogy: Another Way Words Matter


An analogy is a comparison between two things to explain or clarify a concept, especially an intangible one. For example, success is a concept and a state desired by most people. But what does success mean, and how can I achieve it? An analogy answers both questions. Warren Buffett uses analogy to answer both questions from his point of view:

“Games are won by players who focus on the playing field--not by those whose eyes are glued to the overboard.” --Warren Buffett

Knockerball places soccer players inside plastic bubbles. They can more easily
see their own feet instead of scoreboards or the whole playing field. Still, they
would be wise to heed Warren Buffett's admonition to win. They must read
the field and go to goal.
Photo courtesy of Al Griffin Photography
Buffett’s analogy explains success as victory and the means to victory as “focus on the playing field,” not simply on the final score or a win-loss record. Winning is knowing the opponents, the rules, and physics affecting impact, angles, and lines.

In Buffett’s world wining is knowing investors, policies, and markets. Buffett is, after all, an investor with a great record of building assets. The context of his experience allows readers to conclude that winning is playing a long game, longer than a one-point advantage,

Reading Challenge:

Read for analogies--comparisons that clarify--as Buffett’s does.

Writing Challenge:

Create analogies, comparing prisons to public schools.