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

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

‘THANK YOU FOR ARGUING: WHAT ARISTOTLE, LINCOLN, AND HOMER SIMPSON CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE ART OF PERSUASION’


JUMP TO SECTION:

OPENING LINE:

Have you ever sat down with a significant other and tried to pick a movie, only to end up getting in a fight instead? Have you ever had trouble not being able to convince your children to eat their vegetables? Have you ever had to fight for a direction on a project at work that you are completely confident is the right way to go only to have someone else decide to go in a different direction?
These are examples of when we need to use persuasion in our daily lives. If you think you come out on the losing end of scenarios such as these far too often, then ‘Thank You for Arguing’ is a book you may want to add to your reading list.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

Thank You for Arguing is your master class in the art of persuasion, taught by professors ranging from Bart Simpson to Winston Churchill. The time-tested secrets the book discloses include Cicero’s three-step strategy for moving an audience to action as well as Honest Abe’s shameless trick of lowering an audience’s expectations by pretending to be unpolished. But it’s also replete with contemporary techniques such as politicians’ use of “code” language to appeal to specific groups and an eye-opening assortment of popular-culture dodges, including:
• The Eddie Haskell Ploy
• Eminem’s Rules of Decorum
• The Belushi Paradigm
• Stalin’s Timing Secret
• The Yoda Technique
Whether you’re an inveterate lover of language books or just want to win a lot more anger-free arguments on the page, at the podium, or over a beer, Thank You for Arguing is for you. Written by one of today’s most popular online language mavens, it’s warm, witty, erudite, and truly enlightening. It not only teaches you how to recognize a paralipsis and a chiasmus when you hear them, but also how to wield such handy and persuasive weapons the next time you really, really want to get your own way.
©2011 Jay Heinrichs (P)2012 Tantor


THE PLOT:

Do you know the difference between an argument and a fight? If you read ‘Thank You for Arguing’ by Jay Heinrichs, you will learn the difference and so much more.
‘Thank You for Arguing’ is a book about the art of persuasion. Heinrichs writes about how he tried to go a day without using persuasion techinques in his life and how it ended up being an impossible task. We all, at some point or another, have to persuade someone else or perhaps just ourselves to do something. Even our pets must be persuaded from time to time.
Heinrichs often refers to the teachings of the Greek philosopher Aristotle who had a lot to say on the subject of persuasion. But he does not end there. He mixes the techniques of Aristotle with examples from history, politics, popular culture and his own family life.
In ‘Thank You for Arguing’ Heinrichs teaches us about the finer points of such concepts as knowing your audience, when to concede a small point to earn a larger one, what tense to speak in when making an argument (it depends on what you are arguing and trying to gain out of it), and when to argue with logic, emotion and character.
As the book was originally published several years ago, former President George W. Bush comes up a lot in Heinrichs’ examples. It turns out that Bush may have been a lot better at speaking to his audience and knowing how to persuade people than he is usually given credit for in the eyes of the media and some of the American public.
As someone who spent some time on the high school debate team, I have this firm belief about the art of persuasion. Persuasion is a lot like most everything else in life. There are going to be some people who are naturally good at it and there are going to be other people who struggle. But it is a skill and it is one that can be improved upon with practice.
‘Thank You for Arguing’ is a book that has many degrees of usefulness. You can learn techniques that will help you convince your girlfriend that your choice of restaurant is preferable to hers. Or you might find it helpful to build consensus among a team of colleagues working on a project together.


THE AUTHOR:

Jay Heinrichs is an author, speaker and corporate consultant. His website says that he helps clients and audiences win arguments without resorting to anger. Such is the goal of ‘Thank You for Arguing’.
What I like about the way Heinrichs authored this book is that it has something for everyone. The teachings of Aristotle might go over your head until Heinrichs gives you a quote from Homer Simpson in which a particular principle is demonstrated. If that doesn’t work for you, perhaps you will find Heinrichs more personal examples relating to his own wife and kids more to your liking.
Heinrichs also goes out of his way to repeat things. He doesn’t simply put the same line of dialog in a different spot later in the book, but he does constantly remind you of what different terms mean and how to apply different concepts.
After reading ‘Thank You for Arguing’ you will hopefully have found something that you can apply to your own situation to make your arguments better and help avoid turning an argument into a fight. What you won’t be able to argue with at the end of the book is Heinrichs’ command of his subject.


THE NARRATION:

Another good performance by David Drummond. There is some acting to be done, and Drummond does attempt to do a few voices when reading direct quotes from ‘The Simpsons’. Drummond definitely has a voice that lends itself well to giving instruction.


THE PRODUCTION:

A standard track from Tantor Audio. There is no music or other use of sound effects and there are chapter stops in the appropriate places.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Using examples from history, politics, popular culture and his own family life, Heinrichs provides everyone with the tools that they need to be more effective in the art of persuasion.
This is a book that is best consumed in chunks. For this review, I read it straight through and as a result there are a lot of concepts that I feel I would do well to go back and revisit in smaller chunks. That’s okay though because I think that is the way books classified in the self help genre are meant to be read in the first place.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, And Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion Jay Heinrichs David Drummond Tantor Audio Self Development 06/04/2012 11 hours, 57 minutes 7/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘THANK YOU FOR ARGUING: WHAT ARISTOTLE, LINCOLN AND HOMER SIMPSON CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE ART OF PERSUATION’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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