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Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion
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Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,437 ratings  ·  163 reviews
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 the book discloses include Cicero’s three-step strategy for moving an audience to actionÑas well as Honest Abe’s Shameless Trick of lowering an audience’s expectations by pretending to be unpolished. But it’s also ...more
ebook, 338 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Three Rivers Press (first published February 27th 2007)
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This is a highly competent introduction to the ancient Greek and Roman art of rhetoric -- or, as the author is fond of saying -- verbal ju-jitsu. It's that kind of irritating cheerful trendiness that prevented me from giving the book 5 stars. The author is determined to make the book funny and cute. He tells many stories on himself where his attempts at...verbal ju-jitsu...backfire amusingly, usually because his wife sees right through his feeble attempts to manipulate her. All of that got tires ...more
Steven Ackerley
Can I give ZERO stars?

One of only three books I have thrown to the floor in disgust and have no intention or desire to ever go back to it.

The writer comes across as patronising and smug, and he appears to love footnotes so much he actually sticks them in amongst the text in little, annoying box-outs.

The only funny bits in this supposedly humorous book are the Simpson's quotes, so go watch Homer instead.
For an accessible, engaging, and non-textbook book about rhetoric, I found it very successful. The examples are relevant and Heinrichs creates more memorable names for the Latin rhetorical terms. He gives rhetoric more applicability and relevance to our lives by exposing how it used in popular culture. I learned quite a bit from the book, even if it jumped around a lot.

However, I got quite annoyed with Heinrichs' narrative voice by about halfway through the book. At first, I really enjoyed the h
Rather than write a review, let me just share a few of the gems that you can expect from this book:

[The happy couples] manipulated one another. That's a good thing. While our culture tends to admire straight shooters, [...] those people rarely get their way in the end. (pg. 16)

You need to determine your audience's values and then appear to live up to them. (pg. 60)

- If facts work in your favor use them. If they don't (or you don't know them), then...
- Redefine the terms instead. If that won't w
In his book Thank You for Arguing Jay Heinrichs teaches readers about the art of argument. He details the tools and techniques necessary for persuasion, and branches out into the overall importance of rhetoric in contemporary society and in our daily lives.

Thank You for Arguing served as a great guide to the many terms, tips, and tricks of argument. Heinrichs keeps his tone light to avoid boring his readers, and even points out how he utilizes rhetoric in his own writing throughout the book. Whi
Ivan Lozano
Rhetoric has earned a bad name in past years. Deservedly so, no? After all it's how dirty politicians and vicious salesmen trick us into doing their will right?

Well, not so. This book picks up rhetoric from the dumps, gives it a shower and a shave and shows us the other side of rhetoric; the one that helps us get the best result out of every argument, that teaches us how to explain ourselves clearly and empathically and, perhaps most important of all, provides the perfect vaccine for the shady u
Jul 14, 2008 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone writing a speech; Anyone who ever makes an argument or is persuaded to do anything
Recommended to Matt by: Becca
Excellent book! For those of us who took literature instead of rhetoric in college (ehem, yeah), it's a great intro to the mysterious dark art. Heinrichs humorously illuminates the nuts and bolts of argument, the art of persuading an audience to change its mind or mood or to get it to act. He gets you to remove yourself from argument and become a third party observer. What are the speaker's goals? What does he want me to think or do about something? Is he appealing to my feelings, logic, or his ...more
This book really opened my eyes to rhetoric-it is the art of persuasion. The book takes you through an in depth analysis of the topic and applies each persuasive skill to a real life application. The book challenged me to think about persuasion in totally new ways. Rhetoric once was the main focus of liberal education. Our founders were well versed in it as well. Some of its morally questionable aspects perplexed me and forced me to reassess my position. It's really worth the read (and if you're ...more
I couldn't do it. I couldn't finish it, even after slogging through 200 pages. The book is filled with valuable information, but the author's writing style is intolerable. Filled with pop culture references and anecdotes from his family, it's like listening to a guy at a party who is incredibly proud of himself and won't shut up even though no one is laughing at his jokes. For instance... I started leafing through the book, flipped pages, closed it. And then I read the blurb on the back which he ...more
The very best college class I took was Dr. Bertonasco's rhetoric class. Dr. B was a stern taskmaster and a hard grader-- and I learned so much about polishing self-expression and about analyzing other's expressed opinions. Valuable lessons for the academic life and for real life.

I hoped to find a book that would return me to that classroom and help me recall the skills I so appreciated. This book is not that one.

This book is less about the well-reasoned argument than about clobbering anyone who
As a teacher of high school rhetoric I found this a great book that explains the classical art of persuasion. He uses many great examples from history, his personal experience, politics, television and other things in our culture. He has a funny sense of humor and gets his point across well. It is well organized and he uses sideboards to give other facts or definitions which were helpful. I will recommend this to those who know nothing about rhetoric and also to my students.
Kathryn Patterson
This is perhaps the most interesting child-rearing book I've ever read. Why? Because you learn how to teach your children to debate with you.

The title, "Thank You for Arguing", is slightly misleading, because the author, Jay Heinrichs, is attempting to dissuade people from the common reaction of blind arguing. Instead, Heinrichs wants people to learn how to debate again, how to listen to each other's statements and respond accordingly.

Personally, I learned a lot about debate, and how to presen
Annette Roman
An interesting addition to the zillions of books I've read on logic and negotiation. Acknowledges the legitimacy of rhetorical techniques as simple as picking the right time to bring something up. A little too cute with it's caption asides (TRY THIS AT WORK...) and self-referential, but easy to follow and absorb. I appreciate too the point that learning the Greek terms for rhetorical techniques isn't strictly necessary to understand and remember the concepts, since in the original Greek the term ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Jeremy D.
What a great book! Half textbook (Cicero and Aristotle and their serpentine rhetorical terminology are the real stars)and half handy and hilarious how-to guide, it was a fun, entertaining, and educating read. Educating in the best sense-- the author reveals the amount of persuasion we actually undertake daily, breaks the art of persuasion down into its parts, and gives the readers the skills to de-code others' persuasive techniques (you can become a liar-detector) and communicate your ideas clea ...more
Felicia Lopez
Aug 27, 2008 Felicia Lopez rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for a basic rhetoric book.
My boyfriend gave me this book because it's a rhetoric book, and being that I majored in Rhetoric in college, he thought I'd enjoy it.
Overall, I enjoyed reading it. The chapters follow a format that I would have benefitted from during study sessions during my introductory days in the department. A good, but selectively incomplete foundation for argument, the book provides quality information but failed to keep my attention. When I read parts of the book aloud to my boyfriend, I could see him gr
In Thank You For Arguing, Heinrichs introduces basic rhetoric techniques. He does this in a playful manner with examples from his own experience and tv show references.

Heinrichs's voice comes across as likable and humorous. I learned a lot about the art of rhetoric and how to go about "seducing" people. My only complaint is the material began to feel a little repetitive after the first 100 pages. One of the better books I've read for school.

I recommend this to people who enjoy finding a common
For an accessible, engaging, and non-textbook book about rhetoric, I found it very successful. The examples are relevant and Heinrichs creates more memorable names for the Latin rhetorical terms. He gives rhetoric more applicability and relevance to our lives by exposing how it used in popular culture. I learned quite a bit from the book, even if it jumped around a lot.

However, I got quite annoyed with Heinrichs' narrative voice by about halfway through the book. At first, I really enjoyed the h
I wish I had discovered this book six months ago! It is the PERFECT book about argument; it's funny, persuasive, and makes a potentially dry subject (the ancient art of rhetoric) endlessly entertaining. I intend to use this as my text book for my Argument class, but don't let its future status as a textbook deter you. It's more than interesting enough to read for its own sake (especially if you ever want to convince anyone of anything).
Garrett Zecker
Jan 31, 2014 Garrett Zecker rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Garrett by: Ryan Leary
An incredibly engaging book on rhetoric, ‘Thank You’ is a smash in the right direction for learning the practical and modern approaches to the timeless strategies of persuasive and argumentative speech. While I have read many books on this throughout my life, ranging from high school to college to an adult who teaches writing, I have to say that this is probably the best recent enlightening book on the subject that I have read.

Where this book is set apart from many of the others is its simple p
Jul 08, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: speakers; writers; anyone.
I read this casually, not really trying to take notes or work its principles into my conversations. However, I've noticed--and a couple of friends have noticed--that I've become a much better arguer lately. (Just a little more practice and I meet even consider taking on my sister again).
Ok, I'm not one for 'self-help' books but this is a great read and had great advice. I used a few tactics advised in the book on my kiddo and she now argues better than me! And might I add, the constant references to Cicero are awesome!
Fantastic book that teaches you how to win arguments and how to be persuasive. Heinrichs humor-filled book keeps you flipping the pages, eager for more techniques to befuddle your foes in an argument.
Excellent tools to use in the art of persuasion, especially in this political season. The author is a student of rhetoric and throws in enough pop culture to keep the reader engaged throughout.
Just the thing for the aspiring persuader -- or for new students at St. John's College.
I don't usually get this passionate about a textbook, but I loved this book! A brilliant practical guidebook for Rhetoric and argument, with lots of embedded quotes and information from great teachers and philosophers of Rhetoric, such as Aristotle and Cicero, and copious real-life examples, meaning that everything made sense to me.
The narrative is a wonderfully likable first-person voice, who creates the perfect mix of concise, clear information and examples. Everyone will understand Rhetoric a
I had to read this book for summer reading. Therefore, I didn't come into this book with an excessive amount of interest or excitement, even though I was very curious to see if this book would in fact improve my arguing skills. So, I began reading. The way the book is written is very enjoyable for an instructional book: witty, comprehensive, and uses lots of examples with endless real-world application. Its not just theory from the greeks; Heinrichs uses a variety of examples to show how to win ...more
Andrew Gallagher
This book does have some value, though you have to wade through the mud to get it.

Rhetoric is an interesting and valuable subject, perhaps it was my mistake to pick up a book that was clearly going to take a light approach on the topic. As a man who enjoys Aristotle, and watched the Simpsons growing up, I thought this may be a fun way to reinforce what I know about Rhetoric, and add to it in a fun way (the cover states 'What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of pe
If Dave Barry decided to write a book introducing readers to classical rhetoric and it's modern uses, it would read like this book. Jay Heinrichs uses a comfortable informal style to introduce the rhetorical tenants of Aristotle and Cicero, while giving practical modern uses for the rhetorical skills introduced. Using sometimes-humorous examples, Heinrichs explores applications of each concept he introduces pulled from his experiences with family, co-workers, and neighbors. Readers who want the ...more
Mi sono addentrato tra le pagine di questo libro con un misto di scetticismo e interesse ed entro breve il secondo ha preso il sopravvento. La capacità di intervenire sul proprio logos, ethos e pathos, che l'autore pone alla base di ogni buon retore, non è certo alla portata di tutti e questo volume potrebbe essere un valido supporto nell'impresa se si è concretamente indirizzati in quella direzione. La bravura di Heinrichs sta nell'illustrare concetti accademici di spessore, come la difesa reto ...more
Meh...I really wanted to like this book and was hoping to use it for our Debate Club starting in April. I was really disappointed. Rather than a book introducing logic and debate, it was really just an author who wanted to share funny stories about his life. There are some chuckles along the way, but I didn't really gain anything useful.
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