A favorite question in every class we lead is this: What public speaking books do you suggest we read? Our shelves are loaded with choices. Every month we'll be featuring a pick from new books we've come across and old favorites we go back to again and again.
If you wish you knew more about rhetoric--say, how to create and set loose chiasmus whenever you darn well please--this could be the book for you.
As you might guess from the title, Thank You for Arguing delivers lots of information using a playful tone. When we picked it up at our local independent bookstore a couple of years ago, we planned to read it cover to cover.
Instead, we find ourselves flipping it open and reading a random chapter and chuckling.
For example in Chapter 8, Heinrich takes up Cicero's tactic to "hype your objectivity" with this explanation:
Seem to deal reluctantly with something you are really eager to prove.
This is what Hamilton and Madison did in The Federalists. It also works for a teenager who want so borrow his father's car.
Kid: You know, I'd just as soon walk my date to the movie. But her dad says no.
Father: So you want to borrow my car.
Kid: No, I want you to call her father. Tell him I can protect her against assailants, and I'll have a cell phone in case she's hit by a car.
No doubt, you are already using the techniques. Thank You for Arguing helps you recognize what you're doing--and what others are doing to you--and put a proper name on it. Because of the fun-loving approach, the lessons are almost painless, no doubt, another rhetorical ploy for which we have yet to learn a name.
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