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How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic
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How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  810 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Deals with one fallacy, explaining what the fallacy is, giving and analysing an example, outlining when/where/why the particular fallacy tends to occur and finally showing how you can perpetrate the fallacy on other people in order to win an argument.
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Continuum (first published March 30th 2006)
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Jacqueline Quackenbush
Jul 04, 2009 Jacqueline Quackenbush rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I was disappointed in this book. While I have some background in logic it’s in rather selective topics so I thought a book like this that was targeting beginners would be useful but, while not difficult, this books isn’t particularly accessible. It’s organized as an alphabetical list of the different logical fallacies one might encounter, with a short list at the end of the book sorting the already discussed fallacies into their various groups.

How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Log
Mardin Uzeri
Aug 18, 2016 Mardin Uzeri rated it really liked it
I am planning to re-read this.

This book is basically an alphabetical list of all mainstream tricks and pitfalls skilled arguers use to get their points accros. Plenty of examples are provided throughout that make the concepts stick. But way too much info in one book; definitely will have another go.
May 27, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Pedants, Logicians and people who like to argue/debate
The book is an A-Z of fallacies people make while putting forward arguments listed by their Latin title. Each fallacy is described with examples and things to look out for when they are being committed. Once you have read this book you'll find yourself spotting the fallacies all the time when chatting to your friends, watching TV interviews or reading opinion pieces. A worthy read and really handy for people who like to debate and argue.
Preston Pierson
Dec 13, 2011 Preston Pierson rated it liked it
Very good source of information, and had some genuinely awesome insights. It was, however, a bit too dry, and often read like a highly structured textbook, which made it difficult to read for longer than 10 minutes at a time.
Anugerah Erlaut
Feb 04, 2012 Anugerah Erlaut rated it liked it
The content of the book is good. Madsen Pirie managed to explain the different fallacies commonly found in arguments do the the soundness of the logic contained. A lot of different types of logical fallacies were explained, and they were really interesting.

Madsen included witty examples, sometimes forcing us to think and smile as we understood the fallacies. Some fallacies which he explained are really technincal and quite to grasp, while others are commonly practiced in our everyday experience
Tom Jenson
Nov 02, 2011 Tom Jenson rated it liked it
A great beginners guide to understanding, recognizing and (unfortunately) using some of the most common types of logical fallacies.

The book is essentially an alphabetical list of common fallacies with definitions, explanations, and examples. A generous helping of dry wit is used extensively throughout the book, injecting puns and the like into the examples, which helps to liven the relatively dry material - something I appreciated, though others may find annoying.

I found it unfortunate that th
Feb 03, 2014 Onoskal rated it it was amazing
This book is very good. It trains you into looking for fallacies often used in arguments, and it also gives tips and tricks on how you might pull such fallacy off with flying colors. The examples and their accompanying punch line also well received: it brings enlightenment with a sense of good humor in it.

You can read it lightly, you can read it slowly to let them all seep down inside: the choice is on you. You might want to re-read it a few times though if you don't have someone to spare with.
M.F. Moonzajer
Nov 15, 2013 M.F. Moonzajer rated it it was amazing
One of the best technical books on logic and fallacy, I enjoyed reading this book, although most of the fallacies introduced in this book are from Western logic, but they can also be used in Eastern.

I recommend this for philosophy students, and mostly for critics writing. It helps to understand the structure of fallacious sentences and have a logical structured writing.
Feb 18, 2013 Colin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: extfriendly
Can't quite make up its mind whether it's a basic guide to the use of logic in argument or an entirely non-serious book made to nestle between "101 uses for a dead logicians" and "Is it just me or is everything fallacious?" on the Waterstones stocking filler table at Christmas.
File under middlebrow.
Clinton Wilcox
Apr 15, 2012 Clinton Wilcox rated it did not like it
I came across this book by accident at a Barnes & Noble in Bakersfield. It looked interesting, so I picked it up. I study logic and philosophy, and teach it to homeschool kids, so I thought this might be a book that illustrates these fallacies in an entertaining way. Unfortunately, as I read through it, it seems that Pirie doesn't quite have a great handle on some of the arguments he uses as examples in this book, which frankly puts the credibility of the rest of the book in severe doubt.

Brandon Rosbrook
Oct 25, 2016 Brandon Rosbrook rated it it was amazing
Shelves: argument
Fascinating that impacted me much more than any philosophical work. I believe this work should be read before any other book - as soon as possible in life. Argument is not taught well in high school or college courses. You are taught what to believe, false rhetoric and inherited beliefs from when you are very young. Madsen is no stranger to political rhetoric in popular media; he works for a think tank. Think tanks are paid to churn out damage control options PR and image campaign consulting for ...more
Fabio Tran
Mar 24, 2017 Fabio Tran rated it it was ok
If you're looking for a compendium of fallacies organised in alphabetical order, this book may suit you. Otherwise, you're probably better served elsewhere.

I found very hard to read the book and stopped midway. It is the same as someone trying to read a dictionary from beginning to end, it does not make sense.

To make things worse, in a dictionary you have a point of start, the word you're looking for. In the case of this book, it is quite unlikely that one would look for a definition of "dicto
Joe Satrianto
Mar 16, 2013 Joe Satrianto rated it really liked it
Waktu kapan hari jalan-jalan ke Togamas, aku menyempatkan diri buat membuang uangku demi dituker dengan sejilid buku karangannya Madsen Pirie yang berjudul “Rahasia Selalu Menang Berargumentasi – Penggunaan dan Penyalahgunaan Logika”.

Buku yang keren, pikirku. Judulnya aja sudah satir gitu. Keterangan di sampul belakang bukunya juga sama satirnya:

Di tangan yang salah, buku ini bisa sangat berbahaya. Kami sarankan Anda mempersenjatai diri dengan buku ini dan menjauhkannya dari
James Puccinelli
Feb 24, 2017 James Puccinelli rated it really liked it
I agree with some of the other reviewers: the organization of the material seems to not make much sense. This book should be labeled as a 'dictionary' of logical flaws. The title, "How to Win Every Argument," is misleading in that the reader will be under the impression that the work will go through a step by step process of teaching one how to argue. That said, for those who like formal logic and rhetoric, this is a great book to have. Still, I think Pirie should have broken the book into secti ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Kylyndisa rated it liked it
The book pales in comparison to the few others available in market. Though I have a little background in logical fallacies, the huge list of fallacies one after another was not very appetizing. A begginer may feel overwhelmed by an amount so huge , since without proper introduction and categorization he is thrown into the world he has little experience in. Besides his way of defining fallacies is poor. Examples are few but clear but in book targetted on fallacies only I expected something more, ...more
Apr 24, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it
The contents of this book were quite clear and accessible for the most part, although there were some significant exceptions. The book doesn't make clear the differences between some fallacies, and it seems that, for example, Ignoratio elenchi and red herring as well as non-anticipation and "why hasn't it been done already" seem to be the same. The structure wasn't phenomenal, as I don't think alphabetical was the best approach, and the more formal fallacies are a little bit tricky to explain (i ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Marc rated it it was amazing
I picked this little gem up off the shelf at my local library and decided that it was worth a closer look. While the title is a bit salesy, the content is great. Mr. Pirie goes through many of the most common logical fallacies that we all encounter regularly. What makes the book stand out are the entertaining examples that had me laughing out loud the entire way through. The author is British, so if you enjoy sharp Anglo wit and perhaps a bit of jaundiced cynicism, it is worth your time to spend ...more
Scott Worden
Nov 30, 2016 Scott Worden rated it liked it
This is a very good resource to understand various argument fallacies. However, there is one thing that turned me off about the book. It's very apparent that Madsen Pirie is an atheist. This author mentioned 6-7 times (at least) of what the author thought Christians made fallacies in their arguments. For a book that claims to be objective, it's very clear that he's biased against Christianity. Other than that, I found very good explanations of the fallacies of the Straw Man, hominem, equivocatio ...more
Sep 05, 2013 Charlotte rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, kobo
Montreal Freethinkers Book Club pick for this September 2013. I found it in pdf online and thought it sounded interesting. It was okay. I think I would have preferred if the fallacies were listed by category rather than alphabetically to better illustrate the subtle. difference between some of them. The examples are very good and the advice on how to use each fallacy to your advantage quite humurous. All in all though, most of the fallacies are pretty obvious and I didn't find the book particula ...more
Célio Oliveira
Oct 30, 2013 Célio Oliveira rated it liked it
When I read the title, I thought it will be a very good book to read, but I was wrong.

The topic of the book is very interesting, this is something that I really like to read, the problem is the way that book it is organized.
The A to Z didn't work very well. Each fallacy is very easy to understand, the examples given are extremely helpful. The problem is the lack of a line of thought between fallacy. I believed it should be more easy if the author grouped fallacies by subject.

Despite all that
Sep 03, 2014 Robert rated it it was ok
No, it does not reveal how to win every argument. It's just an alphabetical analysis of logical fallacies. The attempts at humor are sometimes clever, but often just come off as the author acting superior. The relationship between fallacies is almost completely neglected (such as the relationship, or difference, between "slippery slope" and "runaway train" fallacies). Some interesting stuff, but not enough justify slogging through this rather difficult read.
The back description of this book calls it "witty" and "infectious" but I wouldn't go so far to use those words. It's not a bad book, it was interesting enough for me to finish it but essentially it's a dictionary for fallacies. The were parts that were entertaining & educational. The where parents that felt tedious & repetitive. It's worth reading for the information but it's not as entertaining as it hopes to be.
May 04, 2013 Marian rated it it was amazing
If this was taught in school and pupils would be debating regularly, during a "logical argumentation and debate" class, it would be much easier to rationally communicate with people. Unfortunately, nowadays people make frequent use of logical fallacies, while comforting themselves with the feeling that they are right and anyone with a different opinion has lost his/her mind. A highly recommended read!
Aug 26, 2013 Daniel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
I think the problem with this book is that readers who would purchase it are likely to be acutely aware of the fallacies that often undermine logical arguments and have no problem in drawing real life examples into their mind. That being said i did find it interesting to a degree, but I was expecting a slightly more flowing narrative which may have mitigated the extent to which I felt like i was reading an academic study.
Mar 25, 2013 Pablo rated it really liked it
Luego de leer este breve libro, nunca volveré a redactar un argumento sin revisarlo 5 veces, como mínimo. Conciso y escueto (quizás demasiado para mi gusto) donde realmente brilla este texto es en los ejemplos a cada falacia lógica. Entretenido, a ratos hilarante, una buena sacudida a la complacencia argumentativa.
Jul 06, 2013 Edourd rated it liked it
Easy and fairly practical read. Not as helpful as originally thought in regard to helping prepare for the Law School Admissions Test, but a good way to brush up on different commonly used fallacies in argumentation. The author's comments are at times amusing, at other times they are border-line irksome.
Abdulkader Awadh
Jan 08, 2017 Abdulkader Awadh rated it it was ok
Honestly, I couldn't even finish the book! Lot of these fallacies are ridiculous and can't be used in real arguments with real people! You can easy denounce most of these fallacies easily without having to be a great intellectual! Anyway, that's my personal can move on to read others' as well.
Dec 21, 2011 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who is interested in studying philosophy, or who is in the habit of getting into arguments, should most definitely read this book. It does more than simply list fallacies; it encourages the reader to enjoy them, and perhaps more importantly, reason itself.
Nick W.
Jun 18, 2015 Nick W. rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Amaze your friends with knowledge of logical structure. This book is basically a glossary of logical fallacies and how to employ and defend against them. Will help you argue better for sure. Interesting to watch reality TV or skeptics shows now...and don't even get me started on politics.
Jun 11, 2015 Mikael rated it liked it
A good dictionary of logical fallacies, noting more, nothing less. I haven't read through it obviously but checked it here and there and what i read was good accurate and easy to understand.

I would suggest reading up on argument form and structure first though.
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