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How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday Paperback – April 15, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Lawyer Spence's guide to winning arguments spent 26 weeks on PW's bestseller list.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“How to Argue and Win Every Time is more than just a book about argument; it's the outline on how to live.” ―Larry king
“Gerry Spence is one of America's last true originals--a man who thinks as brilliantly as he lives, who writes as compellingly as he talks, and who practices law as faithfully as most people practice religion.” ―Dan Rather
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Very briefly; you have to prepare, you have to listen to the other, you have to understand the other, find common ground, and you have to be credible. Therefore you should not avoid emotions and your argument should be personal, and you must always be truthful. Our argument cannot be perceived as a threat or we will never be heard, and assault is not argument. He discusses how to deal with prejudice and hostility and tells us that sometimes losing is winning and sometimes an argument shouldn’t be made at all. He also mentions that telling personal stories is a good way of getting people to see things your way. In addition to advice and guidelines there’s also quite a bit of wisdom and personal opinions, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t agree with.
One thing I object to is that he sometimes overextends his perspective. For example, there are arguments, or communications, which should avoid emotions and for which the people involved and even their perceived credibility should not matter. I am talking about peer review in natural science and mathematical discourse, which I see as the best path towards “truth”. In that case only the evidence matter and the data and mathematical derivations speak for itself. However, that is outside of his expertise, like so much else that is outside of his expertise. That’s why I titled my review “A Lawyer’s Perspective”.
That does not mean it is not a good book. The book is filled with useful insights and I learned a lot from the book. One of the things I learned from this book is that if I know a lot about a subject and I am arguing with someone who’s very misinformed but stubborn I must resist the temptation to be patronizing, or to crush them. My goal should be to inform them, not to make them hate me. That was just one of many examples of what I’ve learned reading this book. I highly recommend this book.
Once we understand how to handle our weaknesses and use the power of higher moral ground, truth and integrity we become invincible.
Btw, if you simply want to learn about logical fallacies - get a school book. Simply knowing the logical fallacies didn't help him much in the court cases he tried. He is just cynical enough to convey the reality of life but is not fixated on it while providing all the tools to prepare you for the B.S. that gets thrown at you every day.
There's another book I know of that uses eastern philosophy and some martial arts techniques in dealing with problems - "Aikido in Everyday Life: Giving in to Get Your Way" by Terry Dobson and Victor Miller. In some ways the books are identical.
different times. It is one of the best self help books I have
ever read. At first when seeing the title and knowing it was
written by a lawyer, I thought, wait minute, what would a lawyer
know about self help for just the average person and that it would
be written in lawyer=ese. I was amazed at just how much benefit
it could be to anyone who needs help now and then standing up for
themselves, etc. It's just a book you will keep coming back to.
this time I plan not to lose track of it but if I do, I will just
have to buy a new one. I am a senior citizen (very much so) and
I will never tire of re=reading it. Any age will reap a wonderful
benefit from this book.