books, review, school

Book Review: Thank You For Arguing



Original Release Date:

August 6th, 2013

Date I Read The Book:

July 2016

My Star Rating:

3.5 stars

Official Summary:

For when you really have to get your point across…          

*Expanded and Revised: Including new chapters on leadership, Obama’s oratorical mastery, the pitfalls of apologies—and an “Argument Lab” section to put your new skills to the test.*

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 this 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 Yoda Technique, The Belushi Paradigm, and The Eddie Haskell Ploy.

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 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.

My Review: 

This was one of my summer reading books this years, which I think probably diminished by enjoyment, as I was very conscious of the fact that I’d be graded on my annotations of it.

It was pretty enjoyable, though it isn’t the sort of book you can read for an extended period at once, because it is non-fiction, and eventually you just stop absorbing information.

It was helpful for my AP Lang class that I’m now taking, so it was nice that it was assigned. The book was well written, and the author does a very good job of explaining things in layman’s terms and using the strategies he’s teaching as he’s teaching it. It also isn’t written in the dry textbook style most nonfiction books are, it has anecdotes from the author, as well as applications and examples from pop culture and the real world. My major complaints essentially boil down to the fact that, even with the updated edition, it feels dated. Of the movies used to exemplify the teaching, I’d never seen or heard of most of them, as they were before my time. Politics were also abundant in examples, and the most examples came from the 80’s and from 2008 senators. Which is fine, but they way he mentioned names made it seem like I was supposed to know who these people were, because it didn’t always contextualize the speeches he quoted. I was 8 during the 2008 election, I don’t remember a president before Obama, so don’t ask me to know anything about senators from 8 years ago.He also used the same example or topic over and over, so by the time you were down with a chapter, you were more sick of hearing about “animal house” or whatever than anything else.

In all, it was a pretty helpful book for learning the rhetorical strategies. But unless your taking english classes in college/AP, or your really interested in linguistics, you probably don’t need to read this cover to cover.


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