The S. I. Hayakawa Book Prize

igslogo-smallerThe Hayakawa Book Prize goes to an outstanding work on a topic of direct relevance to general semantics.

Awarded by the Institute of General Semantics, it is presented annually at the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture.

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S. I. Hayakawa

S. I. Hayakawa

Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa (1906–1992) — popularly known as “S. I.” and familiarly known as “Don” — was the author of the best-selling general semantics text Language in Thought and Action, the founder of the International Society of General Semantics, and the first editor of ETC: A Review of General Semantics.

Dr. Hayakawa was also a college president, a United States senator from California, and an expert on traditional jazz.

First given in 2009, the Institute of General Semantics awards the S. I. Hayakawa Book Prize to the most outstanding work published in the past five years on topics of direct relevance to the discipline of general semantics.

The prize includes a cash award of $1,000.

Competition for the annual Hayakawa Book Prize is open to any book published in the past five years on topics and themes of direct relevance to the discipline of general semantics, including:

  • time-binding

  • abstraction

  • language

  • symbols

  • meaning

  • communication

  • media

  • perception

  • consciousness

  • epistemology

  • scientific method

  • etc.

To nominate a book, send a letter of nomination and three copies of the book by August 31st of the nomination year to:

Martin H. Levinson
Institute of General Semantics
Attn: Hayakawa Prize
72-11 Austin Street #233
Forest Hills, NY 11375

For more information on the Hayakawa Book Prize, contact IGS.

Past Recipients


Reading Alfred Korzybski through Inter-Theoretic Explorations: Indian and Western

by TRS Sharma

(Pencraft International, 2018)

Acceptance Speech

Read the Acceptance Speech (PDF)

Presentation & Acceptance Videos

The Kingdom of Speech

by Tom Wolfe

(Little, Brown and Company, 2016)

Presentation & Acceptance Videos


General Semantics: A Critical Companion

Edited by Deepa Mishra

(Pencraft International, 2014)

Presentation Video


Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

by Sherry Turkle

(Basic Books, 2012)

Presentation Video


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert

(Henry Hold and Co., 2014)

Presentation Video


In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa

by Gerald and Janice Haslam

(Bison Books, 2011)

Purchase in the IGS Store

Presentation & Acceptance Video


Uncapping Family Wisdom: Recognizing, Treating, and Reconciling Transgenerational Dysfunction

by Sandra Pate

(Phillip Monroe Publishing, 2011)

Presentation Video


Korzybski: A Biography

by Bruce I. Kodish

(Pasadena, CA: Extensional Publishing, 2011)

Purchase in the IGS Store

Presentation Video

Acceptance Video


Graymanship: The Management of Organizational Imperfection

by Bob Eddy

(Lake Mary, FL: GIST Publishing Co., 2010)

Purchase in the IGS Store



The Hidden Side of Babel: Unveiling Cognition, Intelligence and Sense

by Laura Bertone

(Buenos Aries: Evolución, 2006)

Purchase in the IGS Store