Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking
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Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  425 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Whether regarded as a science, an art, or a skill–and it can properly be regarded as all three–logic is the basis of our ability to think, analyze, argue, and communicate. Indeed, logic goes to the very core of what we mean by human intelligence. In this concise, crisply readable book, distinguished professor D. Q. McInerny offers an indispensable guide to using logic to a...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published August 3rd 2004)
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Bart Breen
Pithy, Targeted and Right to the point

Essentially, this book is to logic what "The Elements of Style" is to writing.

The benefit of this book lies both in what it is and what it is not. If you're looking for an advanced book laying out Logic as an academic study which is thorough and hits all the points, then this is not the book for you. If what you are looking for is a very readable, simple and fast moving read that hits about 90% of what you will commonly need to know in this realm, then this...more
Leanne

The author's intent was to write a book that would be to logic what Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is to writing. Unfortunately I don't think McInerny succeeded. The book is organized nicely and is written clearly. That is the best I can say about it.


Being Logical is an introduction to logic. I assumed this meant formal logic, but it actually consisted of a mix between formal and more practical informal logic. This made sense given its introductory level. However, what did not make sen

...more
Charity
Fantastic. I loved this book. The auther has organized and explained logic in a clear and, imagine this, logical fashion. I kept having to stop because I would think of examples of whatever was being cited. After finishing, I wanted to re-read and this time take notes and memorize. Fun, fun, fun!

D. Parker
In this book, D.Q. McInerny attempts to convey to the reader a sense of the importance and utility of logic in daily life without taking too many risks in terms of tackling controversial issues. This is wise for an introduction to practical logic and ends up being effective. A short and easy read, one very noteworthy quality of the author's writing is the impeccable grammar used throughout, a pleasant departure from typical reading.

This book is effective in introducing the concepts of critical t...more
Gary
I gave this book 2 stars at first. But after I finished I found (and continue to find) myself turning back to the book to look something up. Because it was so brief, and lacked numerous examples of real life logic, I found it lacking. After having read other books on informal logic, I now turn back to Being Logical and enjoy the brevity of it all. It sums up informal logic in one handy little book.

The examples of good and bad logic seemed too obvious the first time I read it. But after encounter...more
Donkeykonguk Forero
This is a slim, easy-to-read guide to basic critical thinking. If you wonder why so many people have trouble analyzing the issues that impact their lives, you'll see that part of the blame is due to atrophied thinking. Weak critical skills, which may seem to be a stuffy thing to be worried about these days, are actually the root of prejudice, demagoguery, scams, intolerance, ignorance, mistakes, and tragedies of all kinds. This book is kryptonite to everything from the justifications for the inv...more
Richard Smith
In his short book about logic, D.Q. McInery gives a crash course in syllogism, argument and fallacies. Logic straddles the line between a science and an art, and is, in fact, supremely useful to all disciplines. This is a brief book, and is surely not a comprehensive detailing of the minutiae of logic, but manages to cram a lot in between the pages. McInery discusses the reasons for logic, and for logical thinking, he guides the reader through the mathematical algebraic minefield that can put ma...more
Simmoril
Looking back, I'm not really sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but I can at least say that I was hoping for a bit more substance than what this book provided. The book itself might make a good, light introduction for someone who is not familiar with the subject of logic at all, but I didn't get as much new information out of this book as I wanted.
Ryan
Jan 16, 2014 Ryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: logic
Why do you need to study how to formulate good arguments? Well, to prove your point.

And consequently, to prove wrong, logically prove wrong, other people's arguments when they make fallacies in their arguments.
If you study the structure of a well being argument and the structure of an illogical argument you can prove your sayings and you can disprove other's sayings.

Everywhere people is talking, but you must be able to see when their sayings are truth or just opinions.

The ultimate aim is to fin...more
Tim
This is a decent refresher on formal (and not so formal) logic, for anyone who took a logic class so many years ago. Or for those who didn't, it's a good introduction. It's modeled more or less on Strunk and White, so it's concise (maybe a bit too much), and it’s not very technical. It doesn't cover all the bases, e.g. there's nothing on truth trees, but it does a good job with the fundamentals, including the more common fallacies. Someone (maybe this author) said something to the effect that lo...more
Dante
Being Logical is a practical book that aims to help readers think and reason well.

It is divided into five parts. Part One (Preparing the Mind for Logic) talks about the preparations we need to make in order to think and reason well. These preparations refer to attitudes and ways of thinking that we need to adopt and the concepts that we need to remember in order to ready our minds for good thinking and reasoning.

These are the concepts we need to remember:

1. Facts (that is, objective facts of the...more
Renee shi yan Liu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Doe
For McInerny the statements of logic are a kind of representation. Like a picture, our declarative language reports how things hang together. If I say, "The boat is tied to the pier," then what I say is only true if the boat is in fact tied to the pier. For all practical purposes, there is an objective (public) reality that is represented by the declarative sentences of logic. True declarations model the world.

I found the chapter on the relationship between language and the world to be a fascin...more
Jasmine
okay so according to the author this book is suppose to do to logic what the elements of style did to grammar. I don't know what the elements of style did to grammar, but I think what this does to logic is important, it makes logic stupid easy, don't read it for a philosophy book on logic you won't appreciate it, I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, but this is the most accessible book on logic I've ever seen and I'd recommend it highly as an introduction or a reference book, which is...more
Poshahantos
This book should be taught in schools. The world needs more reasonable people.
Fox
This book would make an excellent textbook for any class on logic or critical thinking. It is very well set up, very informative, and never quite becomes 'boring' as these texts tend to. My reason for a lower rating is primarily due to the context in which I read it (writing a curriculum.) I read the book out of order and never quite gave it the chance it deserved.

This book, however, is excellent at teaching clear thinking, interesting, and perfect for any layperson wishing to glimpse the world...more
Bremer
What I liked: The book was concise, easy-to-read, and broke down logic to its essentials.

What I didn't like: While I didn't expect an advanced textbook, this one felt too short to really enjoy. Just as soon as I got to a section that made perfect sense, it rushed off to the next one.

Overall: This is a good book to learn logic in plain English. There are clear examples for each case. For those who are advanced in this art and science, it's always good to review the fundamentals. But for those w...more
Kelly
This book aims to be for logic what Strunk and White's 'Elements of Style' is for writing. I have to say when I read that I was skeptical that McInerny could do it. I think he might have, however. It was a wonderful little book about thinking clearly. I think certifying Being Logical meets the 'Strunk-and-White test' will take time and multiple readings of the book. If after having read it several more times I feel I am getting something that enhances my thinking I think I would be willing to sa...more
Rick
A fabulous little primer on logic, reasoning, argument, and illogical thinking. Useful, concise, and worthy of company of the classic primer it models itself on, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. You come away thinking that one thing that is missing from our K-12 curriculum is logic, that is should be part of reading and writing. It’s that fundamental and trying to get kids to reason and write persuasive essays without an understanding of logic is doomed to failure.
Alexander
an introductory look at thinking clearly. with proper instruction, one could use this book as a springboard to a deeper understanding of philosophy. not everything the author claims as a foundation of logic is unquestionable though. the principle of sufficient reason, for example, is a principle to which one need not adhere to have a coherent, systematic philosophy.
James
Jul 27, 2011 James added it
Authoritative book on logical argument and its elements. His third chapter on the Language of Logic bogged down somewhat, but he finished strong with an explanation of logical fallacies. McInerny stated that he wished this book would become like Strunk and White's Elements of Style for logic. With some polishing, a future edition may attain that distinction.
Ryan
it's a good refresh on what clarity means, though I'm not a huge fan of his simplified epistemological propositions. is everything 'really' true or not true? if so, is that really the best distinction to govern speech? the 'rationalists' tend to bother me with their nearly complete disregard for the mechanics of human nature.
Ashleyshell
This isn't a book to read for entertainment; this is a book to slowly digest and then refer to again and again. I have bought several copies of it because I have loaned and given away so many copies of it. The main part that I find valuable is the explanations of the first principles of logic and the types of inference.
Hannah
I tried to get through this tiny book for about two years (maybe longer). It's really interesting, but tough going a few pages at a time for years. When I restarted the book and read it straight through in a few hours, it was much more satisfying as an overview of logic and logical fallacies. A nice introduction.
Nerine Dorman
This one's a keeper. Most of the advice here is common sense but it really helps to look at the mechanics of how to argue properly. McInerny also touches on what not to do in a no-nonsense practical text. This slim volume is one that should be useful to anyone who is concerned with clarity of communication.
Lisa
I enjoyed how McInerny breaks down the principals for "good thinking". My husband perked up when he saw me reading D.Q. McInerny's "Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking." This book is up the hubby's alley and has made (in his opinion) our conversations better. Hmm. Whatever does he mean?
Mark
It's a pretty good introduction to logic, and it does an admirable job of breaking down thought and logic to their first principles, but the wording is rather stiff, dry, formal, and technical for the beginning student the book is targeted at. Examples were sparse.
Stephen
Read FEB 2007

This is a good primer on how to think and communicate in a logical manner (aka how to argue, not quarrel effectively). One quote that resonated with me was: "Ideals are about the what-should-be." That should start an argument with some....
Tyler
May 13, 2009 Tyler rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: All; People With a General Interest in Logic
Shelves: philosophy
This well done book introduces readers to the process of good reasoning and the use of logic. As an introduction to the subject, it doesn't get technical, but it does impart a working familiarity of the use and abuse of logic in debates and discussions.
Simon Bendle
This is a perfectly decent book. It’s written in good, simple prose. It’s nice and short. I learned a few things from it. But as a very great man once said (or was it Sebastian Faulks?), “what use is logic when faced with the power of truth?”
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