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An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  4,619 ratings  ·  592 reviews
This book is aimed at newcomers to the field of logical reasoning, particularly those who, to borrow a phrase from Pascal, are so made that they understand best through visuals. I have selected a small set of common errors in reasoning and visualized them using memorable illustrations that are supplemented with lots of examples. The hope is that the reader will learn from ...more
ebook, 57 pages
Published 2013 by Creative Commons BY-NC
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  4,619 ratings  ·  592 reviews

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Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
-- Richard P Feynman


I bought this book shortly after I bought Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words and What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions and at the same time I purchased Joyce's The Cats of Copenhagen. So, I guess I was going through a nerd graphic need for pictures with my words.

I've always liked logic, books on logical fallacies, d
Oct 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
One of the worst books about argumentation I’ve ever read. But, apparently, I’m the only one to think so, since many people say this book should be on every school curriculum. Let me explain why this would be a disaster.

First, although this book can be downloaded freely ( and is nicely illustrated, it would be a terrible way to introduce children to the study of reasoning. The main reason for this is that the subject is introduced with a section titled ‘Definition
This book is not at all what I expected. When I saw it online, I thought it would be a cute and quirky little book illustrating logical failures, kind of like did with its article on internet argument techniques. But this was not really that.

Yes, it's a little book and it's illustrated, but it's not really as successful as it tries to be. It's both too complex and too short, so it makes a lot of logical leaps, I think. It attempts to briefly explain concepts that require a good bit
Yousif Al Zeera
The book is aimed at the public who have no or little knowledge in logical fallacies/cognitive biases. The language used is very simple (suitable for non-native English speakers, but anyway the book is translated into 17 languages just in case).

I actually liked the simplicity as these type of subjects (logic/logical fallacies/cognitive biases) are usually found written in complicated language. Even the examples used are very simple and most are common to everyday life.

The big plus in Almossawi's
Tim The Enchanter
an entertaining and basic guide to types of bad arguments. In my opinion, a must read for the avid Facebook "expert". This is by no mean an academic study on the subject but really just a basic primer. ...more
হাঁটুপানির জলদস্যু
This was awesome! Please go to and read it, and spread it. ...more
Peter Derk
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: petestopof2015
I wish everyone would read this before the upcoming election. Because my god, this thing reads like a preventative guide for most, and a tactics manual for political debates.

Here's my impression of presidential debates:

Moderator: Candidate Buttface, tell us about your opinion on immigration.

Candidate Buttface: I'll tell you all you need to know, which is that my opponent, Candidate Fartface, has the same opinion on immigration as our current president, President ButtButt. And look at the state
Hawra habib
The book discussed different types of argument fallacies, arguments that we encounter every other day but yet we are unaware of it.
Although insightful, I didn`t really get how can I benefit from solely knowing about the types of arguments.
Nonetheless, the illustrations were nice , some of them were hard to relate to the text but in general it was a light book that requires a second reading I guess.
Fatima Ali
The book talks about the ways for argument in a particular discussion, and how people react to different opinions by different techniques.

As I understood, that it is the output of years of ongoing learning and personal experience. The writer listed many techniques and supported by examples and quotes from different placed (Books, TV, media ..etc).

Many of these techniques are being implemented unconsciously by human, the writer merely listed and named them accordingly. Personally, I loved the i
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This gives a nice overview of all kinds of bad arguments, but only scratches the surface.
I found this still to be helpful, though.

Lots of these invalid arguments are used constantly and everywhere. There wasn't anything I was surprised by here but it's good to concentrate on basic topics from time to time, I believe. I don't want to make bad arguments myself and I want to be able to find them in other people's reasoning easily.

The illustrations are nice, the examples could be more relatable, so
Anna L  Conti
Ali Almossawi's book, Bad Arguments is hard to categorize, and hard to place in the bookstore. I am still working my way through this slim, but dense, reference book. It's more than it appears to be at first glance.

It is neither a children's book, nor a facile review of the topic (improving your ability to clarify thoughts and analyze arguments.) Each page-illustration contains condensed, effective tools for "the analysis and communication of ideas" - a subject worthy of the necessary reflection
Davonna Juroe
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Brilliant book that is accompanied with conductive illustrations.

The importance of knowing about logic fallacies is summed up nicely in Almossawi's Final Remarks, "I hope that you also leave with a realization of the dangers of flimsy arguments and how commonplace they are in our everyday lives."

Hear, hear!

The book is available for free on the author's website along with a request for donation:

Not to be missed.
Even though the illustrations are cute, this isn't a book for children. So, who is it for?

I never intended to take a course in logic. This is a casual romp through the world of illogical thought. It's nice to be reminded how easily we can be led astray. The best use so far, parsing the words of our political candidates. Already today, I can categorize the bad arguments of three presidential candidates.

Fun, and useful, just not definitive.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the turn political discourse has taken, I feel like this should be required reading in high school (if not earlier). Even when the written explanations are a bit dense, the illustrations help clarify and offer context to the concept. Also, they're cute, because animals, so that's a plus. ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
This short little book is a good look at some of the most common fallacies. It has good use of illustrations and does a very good job conveying the information.
Andre Simonsen
This is the kind of book that takes only one sitting to finish and makes you an overall better person for having read it.

10/10 recommend.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, nonfiction
This was very enjoyable. The illustrations were really cute and the explanations were clear. I already knew some of these fallacies, but it was nice to have other ones explained.
Heidi The Reader
I'm married to a former debate coach and picked up this little book to try to understand the workings of his mind. It helped but there's really only so much one can do to really empathize with a partner who loves to explain to folks why they're wrong on the world wide web. :)

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments does a fairly good job of taking an extremely complicated subject and making it understandable, but this isn't a simple read. I'd recommend it for high school and up because of the vocabu
Colona Public Library
This book is a really good introduction to logic and recognize bad arguments. It has a ton of common everyday examples. I recognized these arguments, but I didn't know they had names. It was a pretty fun and short read. The illustrations are pretty cute also! ~Ashley ...more
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, reading through the other reviews, I don't understand why the reviewers of this book find the need to categorize it.

So what if a book is difficult to put in a box? What is this obsessive need to categorize a book as children's fiction, adult non-fiction etc.? Can't we just read and enjoy it?

I LOVED this book!

It offered me an introduction to logical fallacies and made me think critically about all the bullsh*t I read/consume/hear every day. This little book (barely 60 pages), inspired an
kartik narayanan
Apr 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read more reviews at my site

I happened to see Ali Almossawi's AMA about his new book on Reddit. It seemed interesting and so I explored the author's book further. I started reading his first book - this one. The premise showed promise - An illustrated book to explain logical fallacies to newbies. It is a short read - about 15 minutes.

But, I am disappointed. The illustrations are not explanatory - rather they give an example while looking whimsical. The accompanying
Chris  - Quarter Press Editor
I'd hoped to use this in my First-Year Writing courses, as I always like to do a section on logical fallacies. However, though there's quite a bit to like--seeing as it covers a lot of ground and gives some nice, real-world examples--the writing itself is a bit dry. Especially for an "illustrated guide" that's pulling inspiration from ALICE AND WONDERLAND, I assumed the prose would be a bit more playful. But while Almossawi's prose is easy to read, it's rather lifeless at times.

I might not be us
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I teach a university class called "Introduction to Composition and Argumentation". The class has freshmen students work through the rudiment of sound reasoning, critical thinking and eloquent writing. Generally speaking, I find that most students are pretty terrible at all three of these. It is not entirely their fault: our culture and our educational institutions punish those who question and reason from sound positions. I have spent a good part of my working life undoing the intellectual cance ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guilty-pleasures
Adorable little book that explains fallacies simply and quickly. Love the style, layout, and old-timey feel; he even slips in a few sly jokes. Of course, some subtleties of these arguments are probably lost since they have been reduced to so simplistic a form. But I don't see why it wouldn't be good for beginners.

Would love to see and own this in print form someday. View it for free here:
❂ Murder by Death
A book I'll enjoy referring to now and then, if only to remind myself not to fall down the slippery slope of logical fallacies.

Only slightly wordier review:
Ann Keller
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, children-s, art
This is a great way to look at some of the most common arguments. Humorous view. Good choice as a gift for that guy who seems to have everything.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun and short read ^_^ It was refreshing to read about the most common argumentative falacies, especially in a readers friendly format sampling pertinent examples ans funky illustrations :D
Kayson Fakhar
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
easy to read and easy to understand. great book to start logical fallacies
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short, straight-forward book clearly explained a variety of logical fallacies in a way that was easy to understand, with multiple examples each. The illustrations were adorable, too.

My only complaint is a pet peeve of mine. The examples given generally fell into the "neutral" arena or the "atheist/scientific/liberal worldview" arena. (Namely, the examples pointed out logical fallacies in religious thinking.) Those examples were good examples, and showed real fallacies in religious arguments
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advice
This ingenious little volume, amusing though it may be, was an essential tool for helping me understand what argumentative tropes are being employed in online discussions. The explanation of the "straw man" argument was especially helpful to me.

Several different tropes are explored: the aforementioned straw man, the slippery slope, correlation being confused for causation, etc. As I read, I saw illustrated (literally, illustrated) the sloppy arguments that I have seen exploding the Internet for
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Ali Almossawi is the author of books on critical thinking. His books have reached 3.5 million readers, translated into 22 languages, and have sold over a quarter of a million copies in print. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

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