cover image Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking

Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking

Mehdi Hasan. Holt, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-85347-9

MSNBC host Hasan (Summer of Unrest) breaks down methods of persuading others in this sharp manual. Studying the rhetorical styles and strategies of such figures as Diodotus, Christopher Hitchens, and Barack Obama, Hasan outlines techniques for speaking well, capturing an audience’s attention, and winning debates. He challenges Aristotle’s assertion that ethos, logos, and pathos are equally important to persuasion, countering that “pathos beats logos every time.” Citing a study that found stories focused on an individual garner more charitable donations than stories about groups, Hasan suggests that one should use “good anecdotes and gripping narratives” to get audiences invested in one’s argument. He posits that sprinkling in humor can build rapport, defuse tension, and undermine opponents, recounting when he put an “Islam-basher” and Labor Party parliamentary candidate on the defensive by joking that she would better fit in with far right parties. “Do your homework,” he urges, but he suggests that jokes are more effective when they’re spontaneous. Bolstered by Hasan’s incisive analysis of his interviews and debates with high-ranking political officials from the U.K., U.S., and China, this collects illuminating insights on persuasion. Readers will be won over by this perceptive guide. (Feb.)