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Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,032 Ratings  ·  119 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
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Published August 3rd 2004 by Random House (first published January 1st 2004)
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Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

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

Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bart Breen
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really benefitted from reading this book and applying it in my life. The logical concepts it covers are very basic, and it's obviously directed towards a lay audience. That said, I found that going back to the basics and applying them to my thought processes really helped me to think more clearly, and to be more logical and effective in my life. Of course, the book didn't do this all on its own! It wasn't just about reading these ideas, but actually applying them in my life which made the diff ...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
Ahmad Hossam
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy-logic
Enjoyable overall, but what it falls short of being to logic what 'The Elements of Style' is to writing. It was a bit difficult to get my head around why denying the antecedent and affirming the consequent are two forms of invalid arguments. It would have become clearer had the author provided more examples instead of theoretical explanation. The best part of course was the last one which deals with fallacies.
The last section of the book was the only part that I liked. It taught me a bit more about fallacies/being illogical. If the whole book had been like it, I would have given it 3 star or maybe 4 stars. I didn't like the writing style of the rest of the book, and it didn't help improve my critical thinking much.
Shawn Smith
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book and very clearly written, even for the novice.
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
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is concise and direct: a perfect introduction into logic. It follows aptly from Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style exactly as the author says in the introduction. It brings into light the basics of logical reasoning and then delves deeper into the subject, covering the principles of logic, argumentation and common fallacious reasoning.

McInerny emphasizes objective truth as the ultimate purpose of logic throughout the book, which is an indispensable reminder since many people ofte
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.
Hiep Nguyen
The book expresses lots of logical & scientific points without much examples, making it very hard to digest
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Logic is one of the neglected disciplines in our modern era though its application is a foundational skill for all other disciplines. Indeed, it underpins our hallowed scientific method. McInerny takes the reader on a crash course in the basics of logic using clear, concise language. He attempts to do for logic what Strunk and White did for writing in "Elements of Style."

This book provides all the necessary tools for anyone to begin practicing the discipline of logic in daily life or within the
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is perfect for individuals new to logic and reasoning. This would work well in a basic class on English argumentation or a critical thinking class. It is concise and clear, and I have little to say in terms of disagreement. The section on fallacies could be more expansive, but all things considered, it is of adequate and appropriate length given its target audience.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn intro-level logic in short time, this is what you might seek for. Even though it has a few examples, its brevity helps you to cover a braod range of basic logical concepts you need.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice, short overview of what you most likely already know. McInerny clearly shows the subcategories of logical thinking and, because people make mistakes, illogical thinking. Even though it might sound obvious, it nice to see the separate points stated as such. It creates clarity in the mind.
Well thank goodness it was a short read...... I didn't enjoy it. It was confusing to read. Probably because I am NOT logical. (???)
Rui Ma
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I would remmend reading it every year or every few years to remind ourselves about traps in our way of thinking
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Assigned reading for constitutional law course. Examines basic concepts of logic and critical thinking. Author's style is straightforward but a bit pedantic.
A nice introduction to the principles of logic, by a philosophy trying as best he can, and often successfully, to speak to a popular audience.
Wenxi LI
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple book.
Clare Farrelly
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SO I did skim read some of this but it was good, and interesting. It was fairly simple, and well logical.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great introduction to Logic. The book might be small but is packed with all the information you need to start thinking logically.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit mystified by the number of positive reviews for this book. I found it to be quite muddled, which is ironic given that the author himself goes to pains to emphasize the importance of clarity in communication. Too many pages in an already short book (only 137 pages) are spent belaboring the relationship between ideas, objective reality, and language, and even here the author fails to express himself clearly and consistently. For example, in the last paragraph of the section "Be Mindful o ...more
Renee shi yan Liu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tom Romig
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear, concise, elegant. As Dennis McInerny says in his Afterword, "The art of logic is like no other, for it goes to the very core of who we are. The poet Pindar offers us some radical advice when he tells us to 'become what you are'--by which he means 'become human.' If 'being logical' is not exactly the sum total of of 'being human,' it is, I like to think, a very important part of it." The section on The Principal Forms of Illogical Thinking is a sad read during this time when Americans are ...more
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“In the ideal debate, the primary purpose of the debaters is not to triumph over each other, but rather by their combined efforts to ferret out the truth as it pertains to the issues being debated.” 1 likes
“Bad ideas do not just happen. We are responsible for them. They result from carelessness on our part, when we cease to pay sufficient attention to the relational quality of ideas, or, worse, are a product of the willful rejection of objective facts.” 0 likes
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