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Book Review: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion

What is the book Thank You for Arguing about?

In ancient time, rhetoric art was considered a necessary skill for the leader. It was one of the most crucial learning subjects back then. According to Heinrichs, the first democracy in the world was created with the help of rhetoric. Rhetoric art was a source of inspiration for Caesar and Cicero, Shakespear also excelled at it. The founding fathers of America used rhetorical principles for writing the US Constitution.

Closer to the end of 19 century, rhetoric became less popular. The classical art of arguing has gone out of fashion. However, not for everyone. Many politicians and lawyers continued practising rhetoric. They honed their art in debates and successfully used it in practice. Heinrichs points out that if someone wants to become a successful leader in the modern world, he has to adopt at least the basic principles of rhetoric.

Aristotle once said that if a leader wants to appear trustworthy, he has to show virtue, selflessness and conventional wisdom in his speeches. This statement still holds.

The author describes some specific rhetoric techniques used to make the audience trust the orator, believe his arguments, and ultimately do what the audience wants the audience to do. This subtle art is based on the well-spoken speech, well-disguised ulterior motifs and ability to impose your opinion without anyone noticing.

This book contains a bunch of practical advice on how to use rhetoric in real life. Heinrichs describes how he argues with his kids, provides a plethora of historical facts, cites many instances of using rhetoric from movies and books. To some extent, this book can serve as a comprehensive, practical manual. On the other hand, the author gives us an opportunity to look at the world in the context of argues and arguments.

Summary and 6 Ideas of Thank You For Arguing

  1. Don’t argue for argument’s sake: establish your goals and pick disputes by them.
  2. Try to keep any disputes as low key as possible.
  3. If you want your audience to trust you, try to think like them.
  4. Make the audience listen to you with the right arguments.
  5. Win your audience trust.
  6. Control the mood of the audience.

Review Thank You For Arguing

Jay Heinrichs’ book is an excellent combination of the classic principles of rhetoric and the realities of our world. Those who think that rhetoric is something obsolete, useless and dead (pretty much like Latin), will be surprised to know that it can come in handy in modern life.

Some might say that the author is encouraging readers to manipulate people. Well, Heinrichs admits it. At the same time. He points out that little tricks that can help you win debates are a lesser evil than the pointless wars where no one is a winner at the end of a day.

Pros and Cons

A lot of humour, exciting ideas and practical advice on how to use rhetoric in daily life.

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