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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keys to advertising and political campaigns
The book not only shows how to argue, it also reveals the tricks behind advertising and political campaigns. Heinrichs walks us through the basic rhetorical principles, starting with "ethos, pathos and logos," or character, emotion and logic. Character is the most important, he says, because your audience is much more likely to accept your point if it likes and trusts...
Published on March 7, 2007 by Michael Vegis

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219 of 269 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, some errors
This is a useful, well-written book focusing on using the tools of rhetoric to persuade people of things. It's different from most books on rhetoric by emphasizing contemporary, realistic examples - trying to get a promotion, win a client, make a sale, convince someone to vote a certain way - and by focusing on how people really decide things, not on idealistic versions...
Published on November 20, 2009 by rbnn


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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keys to advertising and political campaigns, March 7, 2007
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
The book not only shows how to argue, it also reveals the tricks behind advertising and political campaigns. Heinrichs walks us through the basic rhetorical principles, starting with "ethos, pathos and logos," or character, emotion and logic. Character is the most important, he says, because your audience is much more likely to accept your point if it likes and trusts you. He shows how to construct the image of a leader to suit any audience--useful for anyone who manages people, or wants to.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Word Book, March 7, 2007
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This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
The chapter on figures of speech is worth the price alone. They help you come up with snappy answers and intelligent things to say when you normally freeze up. And they've helped me write better. Some of the terms can be a mouthful, like paralipsis, anadiplosis and diazeugma, but there's a glossary in the back. Plus you don't actually have to know the words themselves, just the principles behind them.
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219 of 269 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, some errors, November 20, 2009
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rbnn (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
This is a useful, well-written book focusing on using the tools of rhetoric to persuade people of things. It's different from most books on rhetoric by emphasizing contemporary, realistic examples - trying to get a promotion, win a client, make a sale, convince someone to vote a certain way - and by focusing on how people really decide things, not on idealistic versions of that. Thus, the author does a very good job of discussing why "decorum", fitting in, is important, and how it is important to know what motivates the other person. And it's different from books on psychology and people-skills, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, because it focuses mainly on rhetoric.

The writing is anecdotal and personal, full of jokes, some of them funny, and references to pop culture. I felt the second half of the book became a bit disorganized - it was sometimes not precisely clear to me whether the author was discussing logos, pathos, or ethos, or exactly where a chapter fit into the big scheme of things. But it's certainly well-written.

And the book is unquestionably useful, both in identifying and in using rhetorical techniques. Frankly, I wish I'd had this book when I was younger: I used to think persuasion was based entirely on logic. There are many day-to-day interactions and even career decisions that would be greatly aided by knowing the material here.

Although the book is entertaining, useful, even important, I nevertheless had a couple complaints.

(1) There were a number of errors in the identification and naming of rhetorical figures. Although these errors were likely just due to sloppy editing, I felt they would substantially confuse most readers.

For example, "metonymy" is defined on page 213 as something that "uses a part to describe the whole." True, using a part for a whole can be a type of metonymy, but metonymy actually means using something associated with another thing to stand for that other thing. The glossary repeats the incorrect definition, but concedes that metonymy can mean using cause for effect. Again, that is a type of metonymy, not metonymy itself.

Similarly, synecdoche is also misdefined as that "which swaps one thing for a collection." (p. 213). Synecdoche is using a part for the whole. Saying "The White House denied the allegations" would be a metonymy, not a synecdoche as the author incorrectly claims, because "White House" is not a part of the presidential administration.

The author also argues on page 210 that "every verse in the first book of Genesis" after the first starting with "And" is an example of anaphora. I think most people would say "chapter" not "book" of Genesis, but leaving that aside, I don't think anaphora is the correct figure here, if anything it is polysyndeton. The "and"s are not emphasized, they are just connecting words. (This point is fairly clear when we think of the meaning of anaphora, which is to emphasize the repetition, but in the Hebrew it's even clearer - the "And" comes from the Hebrew prefix vav- and isn't even its own word, it's just sort of a grammatical linking word.

The author makes the same error on page 211, mischaracterizing an example from Monty Python and the Holy Grail as anaphora when it is better characterized as polysyndeton.

On page 196 the author does correctly define polysyndeton, but the example next to it seems like an example of asyndeton. The editing is unclear but the treatment is at best confusing and at worst incorrect.

The author claims that "a man who wants to sound like a Rat Packer uses a speak-around when he refers to woman as 'broads'." By "speak-around" the author means "circumlocution" or periphrasis, but using "broad" for "woman is not an example of this. It's not even close, frankly, I'm not sure what the author was even getting at, since he correctly defines periphrasis. (p. 210). By the way, this also illustrates the author's penchant for using his own pet terms for rhetorical terms of art, here "speak-around" for "periphrasis." I find this annoying - jargon is there for a reason, so that people do not have to constantly redefine their terms and can look things up easily - but he does it a lot.

(2) My general philosophical concern with the author's approach is that he comes perilously close to confusing persuasiveness with correctness. It is true that the author's repertoire of techniques are ultimately persuasive to most people, but that's just because most people are not trained in statistical inference and logic and are thus subject to various kinds of cognitive fallacies. But this persuasiveness is not related to the actual correctness of the arguments. At one point the author mentions "formal logic" but does not seem to mean real logic, i.e. mathematical logic, by that; and the author does not generally seem to realize that only by quantitative analysis can correct decisions be arrived at - what he calls "logic" is Aristotlean logic, and there have been considerable developments in logic since Aristotle's time. Of course, the author has no doubt been very successful with his techniques, but I am not sure he fully realizes that what he is doing is not related to actual truth.

(3) The danger of the author's philosophy is apparent in several rather distracting comments throughout the book. Generally, the problem with being persuasive like the author is that he is going to confuse what is popular or widely-believed with what is correct.

(3a) This fallacy is probably most clearly exemplified on page 174, when the author suggests that a politician who votes donor's interests instead of public opinion should not be voted for. As the author puts it, "when the candidate says 'I don't just vote the opinion polls' what she really means is 'I prefer special interests to voters' interests.' ". The flaw here is that the author is conflating public opinion (as measured by opinion polls) with voters' interests. But many issues, most issues in fact, are much too complex for voters to have informed opinions about. The idea of a republican form of government is that representatives with greater time and resources to study the issues can determine what is in voters' interests. Donors who agree with the politician's will of course support her, but these facts alone don't show the politician is acting against voters' interests.

The point is that an opinion poll, or an opinion, is highly relevant to someone like the author who is very interested in persuading people. But it's not that relevant to the issue of what the correct vote would be on an issue.

(3b) Similarly, on page 129 and elsewhere the author constantly confuses or conflates "intelligent design" and "creationism", particularly in a passage arguing that intelligent design should not be taught. But creationism is different from intelligent design: creationism typically denotes a young Earth theory that rarely makes pretensions to being scientific, but intelligent design denotes another theory, one that does claim to be scientific. The fact that some people do not realize that creationism is distinct from intelligent design (although of course some claim the latter is an intellectual descendant of the former) is not a reason to conflate the two.

(3c) On page 183 the author suggests, although he does not directly state, that a Supreme Court justice should have "phronesis" or practical wisdom, and he seems to praise Justices Breyer and O'Connor for being "deliberative thinkers" and for their "practical wisdom." But it's far from clear that, popular opinion to the contrary notwithstanding, the role of Supreme Court Justice should be one of "practical wisdom." Rather, some might argue that the main role of a Supreme Court justice is to ensure that statutes and case law are decided in accordance with the Constitution. Perhaps, I am reading too much into that paragraph, but in conjunction with many somewhat tendentious political positions the author advocates in the book, it's not unreasonable to infer that the author is advocating a legislative role for the justices.

(3d) On page 110, he notes "When President Clinton told the special prosecutor, 'That depends on what your definition of 'is' is' he was redefining a term - in the slickest, most lawyerly way, unfortunately."

There are a whole slew of problems with this statement.

First, the author misquotes Clinton. Clinton said "meaning" not "definition" and "upon" not "on". The reason this is important is that it shows the author, like in all the cases above, is not independently checking facts, and is not having anyone else do it for him. He just sort of assumes that what most people believe, is the case, or he does not care. But if someone is going to accuse a former president of the United States of deceiving or trying to deceive the court, he ought to fact check the quote.

Second, contrary to what most people think, the word "is" is ambiguous. Suppose for example that John and Mary have an intimate relationship, but it has ended last week. Suppose someone asks John "Is there an intimate relationship between you and Mary?" The answer depends on what the definition of the word "is" is.

Third, Clinton was not trying to evade a statement he made. Clinton was asked about his own lawyer's statements in a prior proceeding. Clinton was asked if he agreed with his lawyer's statement. Now, Clinton is not deceiving anyone, because he clearly states that under one definition of "is" he agrees with his lawyer, and another he does not.

In conclusion, there is indeed much useful and much entertaining here. And without a doubt the author has his finger on the pulse of humanity (well, his comments criticizing abbreviations in IM already seem dated, but besides that). And the overwhelming majority of readers will not in the least be put off by any of the concerns I raise. So I think all-in-all it's a good book to read if you want to persuade people.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent, well thought out-start here for argument., September 18, 2010
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
I have a large collection of persuasion books-some truly excellent-this one is right at the top. I bought it two weeks ago and it's looking much older now-with good reason.

This book offers you a choice: allowing you to control the argument or allowing the argument to control you. Jay has made esoteric seeming rhetoric into everyday practicality. Illustrating clearly how we all use elements of rhetoric in our daily lives, he goes on to demonstrate how to improve and structure it. Arguments, in the true rhetorical sense, become more productive, pleasurable and useful as a result.

I wish I'd had this book when I was a teenager; I would love to get my brothers kids to read it-what an advantage they would have, especially in building a career-never mind dodging the fallacious nonsense argued in the media and in politics.

Flowing easily from offense, defence, advanced defence-finally culminating in advanced agreement; Jay structures his discussion using ethos, pathos and logos succinctly, weaving tips, anecdotes and everyday examples into every page.

The Appendices are well thought out, the first being a total gem.
Entitled The Tools, here they are:

Goals-Set the tense:
* Personal Goal: What do you want from your audience
* Audience Goals: Mood, Mind and Willingness to Act.

Issue Control:
* The past is forensic-guilt and innocence, such as a court case.
* The present values-demonstrative-Praise and Blame.
* The future-the rhetoric of politics and good argument, what is best for the audience.
**
Ethos-Argument by character
* Decorum-Ability to fit in with the audience's expectations of a trustworthy leader.
* Virtue
* Practical Wisdom
* Disinterest
* Liar Detector
* Extremes
* Virtue Yardstick
**
Pathos
* Sympathy
* Belief
* Volume control
* Unannounced emotion
* Passive voice
* Backfire
* Persuasive Emotions
* Figures of Speech
**
Logos
* Deduction
* Proof Spotter
* Commonplace
* Rejection
* Commonplace Label
* Induction
* Concession
* Framing
* Logical Fallacies
* Bad Proof
* Bad Conclusion
* Disconnect between proof and conclusion
* Rhetorical Fouls
**
Kairos-Timing or seizing the occasion
* Persuadable Moment
* Senses
**
Speechmaking
* Invention
* Arrangement
* Styles
* Memory
* Delivery

The Further reading gives you a decent selection of books-I agree with his recommendation on Lanham's Handbook of Rhetorical Terms. Use it in conjunction with this text though as Lanham is not giving you daily life usage, rather he's offering his discussion on the terms themselves in an A-Z order.

The initiated may be a little put off by the terminology; however Jay points out the names are not important, simply grasp the concepts-I believe everyone reading this will do that with ease both from recognition and Jay's instruction.

In contrast to one or two reviewers, I believe any small technical errors detract but nothing from this work. Such things are easily looked up in Lanham's book, recommended by Hienrich. The living structure and purpose of the figures is far more important than any dead dissection of the correct labelling of figures in this book. I found one myself that I've yet to look up. The living essence of his discussion is the true treasure-and is very well put together, coherent and whole. I'm uncertain how the 3 star reviewer has arrived at his conclusion as I would contend that I'm not an experienced reader of rhetoric, in fact only recently discovering the terms logos, ethos and pathos-yet, this material flows incredibly easily.

This book has served as a solid course in every debating skills; something I believe we all could use to great advantage, allowing us to avoid being persuaded by poor argument, poor reasoning and bad proof, giving us the ability to make choices that are fully informed-something that is frequently unavailable on a daily basis.

If you have never read any book on persuasion, argument or similar, let this be your first-you won't be disappointed-in fact I think you may even be back to thank me.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an important book, March 7, 2007
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
Don't let the humor and readable tone fool you. Heinrichs makes a great case for restoring some of the forgotten rhetorical principles behind the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. All the nation's founders had at least some training in rhetoric, he says. Our ignorance of it keeps us from restoring civility and sense to our national dialogue. This book should be required reading in high school and college.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book for The Writer or Public Speaker, September 16, 2007
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This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Public Speaking or persuasive writing. Heinrichs keeps his readers interested in everything he has to say through the use of real-world and pop culture references. Random bits of information in the margins keep every page interesting and well worth your time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remedial Rhetoric, July 4, 2007
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book so much that I signed up to received regular emails illustrating "figures" of speech, as they are used popular media. Jay Heinrichs presents the fundamentals of rhetorics in an unpretentious and transparent manner. A lot of information is presented, and I have come to regret, like Heinrichs, that rhetoric is not taught in schools. I would have benefited from having learned these concepts in grade school. Having been persuaded the power of these techniques, I did get a little bored with the ending, where he makes a case that a rhetorically-trained society would be a more democratic one. While I enjoyed the book tremendously, I didn't give it a "5" because I felt the production of the book was poor. I had to send back my first one because it was defective (missing 30 pages), and the layout of the pages looks like it was done by a high-schooler. Also, I thought the conclusion a bit anticlimactic.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me laugh, March 7, 2007
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
Heinrichs has a great sense of humor that made me learn his 100-plus "argument tools" almost without knowing it. When he described his own arguments with his wife and kids (and even his cat!), he made me laugh out loud. It's the most entertaining intellectual book I've read in years.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhetoric, here we come..., May 28, 2008
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
I used to study logic and rhetoric for fun, but in the past couple of years I have kind of lost my touch. I saw this book and with the reference to arguing and Homer Simpson on the cover, I had to check it out.
The books is fun, easy to read, and starts out right from the first chapter informing us about the use of rhetoric in our daily lives and then livens up the rest of the read with silly, but apt, analogies to rhetorical usages in pop culture.
For someone that loves the study or someone just getting into it, this is a good book for all of us to read. We need more people out there to brighten our lives with knowledge of the ways that politicians and advertising companies go out of their way to screw us on a daily basis.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Teacher's View, February 27, 2007
This review is from: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion (Paperback)
Heinrich's book allows students to understand and have fun with various rhetorical devices, and it is an invaluable tool for the teacher seeking to teach students about fallacies. This text is deceptive and seductive as it shows students how to identify forms of argument, suggests how they might use them in writing, and also makes them laugh. AP English Language/Composition teachers are particularly encouraged to get a copy of this book. If teaching fallacies is not your focus, but helping students craft well reasoned argument is, this is a terrific book. I am fortunate that Heinrichs tried out sections of his manuscript in my AP Literature classroom, and in my tenth grade Honors class. His anecdotes, his daily website, and his humorous exchanges have had an impact which remains evident in my teaching as well as in the writing journals and discourse of my students.
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