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Visual book review: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion

20120321-book-thank-you-for-arguing

Jay Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion is one of my favourite books. You know how we walk around thinking that rhetoric is evil and arguments are to be avoided? He shows how knowing about persuasive techniques – and using them well – can make life better, and how kids who know how to argue correctly are adorable. Well, he doesn’t explicitly make that last point, but it’s entertaining seeing him get bested by his 5-year-old daughter.

Read this book so that you can get better at detecting and dealing with invisible arguments that surround you. Learn how to combine the elements of ethos, logos, and pathos to argue persuasively. Don’t get stuck in blame games or stereotyping fights; stay focused on the future and help people move forward. Use wordplay to be wittier.

The book is packed with tips, and well worth keeping on your reference shelf. I liked it so much that I bought a paperback copy and a Kindle e-book (which was more expensive than the paperback, pff!)

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs
2007: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 978-0307341440

For more detailed notes, see my 2010 review of Thank You for Arguing.

See other visual book notes!

Here’s the text from the image to improve people’s ability to search for it:

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs 2007

We are surrounded by
INVISIBLE ARGUMENTS
FIGHTS (Goal: Win)
Learn the difference between
ARGUMENT (Goal: change mind)

Types of argument (can combine!)
Ethos (character, who you are)
Show that you are similar & have shared values
Use strategic reluctance (“I normally hate speaking, but…”)
sense/medium

a b c
Logos (logic, reasoning)
“is”
Make your option the reasonable middle
Control the definitions of terms

Pathos (Emotions)
You can guide people’s emotions by overreacting on their behalf.
“That must have been awful!”

Use the right tense:
PAST
Blaming
“You did it!”
“Did not”
“Did too!”
PRESENT
Stereotyping
“You always…”
“You never…”
FUTURE
Moving forward
“Next time, can we…”

DEFENCE
The book has many tips on how to detect and deal with persuasion.

…and tips for being witty, too!

Notes: SachaChua.com
@sachac 2012

 

Visual book review: Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

book-getting-to-yes

Getting To Yes is the kind of book you want to read before you negotiate UN treaties, business contracts, or a special deal on that lovely rug. I read it in September 2010 and promptly started referring to my Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) even in non-negotiation situations such as decision-making.

The idea of not arguing over positions (I want $X as a salary, Y days of vacation, and a pony) and focusing instead on interests (I value fair compensation, flexible schedules, and cute transportation) might help people avoid or break out of negotiation deadlocks. Also useful is the reminder that negotiations don’t have to be the competitive I-win-you-lose head-on collision that people often see it to be, and that a cooperative approach is more likely to get you to where you want to go by getting other people to where they want to go.

Unfortunately, the tips in the book do not work when negotiating with cats, who don’t care if you discuss their dirty tricks with them. Despite that weakness, this is still an excellent book to read whether or not you have a diplomatic passport.

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, 2nd ed.
1991 New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

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Visual book review: Enough, by Patrick Rhone

20120321-book-enough-0

enough is a collection of essays by Patrick Rhone on the idea of having enough. He compares it to the dynamic process of balancing on a tightrope, where you have to find your own centre of balance and you’ll always need some kind of help – stretching your arms, using a bar or an umbrella, and so on. In addition to reflections on minimalism and limiting life to make it comprehensible, he includes thoughts on technology, tools, behavioural change, and other life tips.

There are many books in this field, from John C. Bogle’s book with the same main title (Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, affiliate link), to Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life, affiliate link). Patrick Rhone’s book isn’t particularly packed with mind-boggling or life-changing insights, but it might still be an enjoyable read for a quiet, reflective afternoon, particularly if you also have a technology-related background or find yourself occasionally tempted down the path of more apps! more tools! more gadgets! (Not that I know anyone like that, no….)

enough
Patrick Rhone, 2012
Kindle e-book

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Visual book review: Critical Inquiry: The Process of Argument

book-critical-inquiry

I first read this book in October 2010 while scrambling to learn as much as I could about communication and rhetoric in preparation for marriage. Since then, there have been zero household arguments, which is not a bad thing. Fortunately, the Internet, newspapers, and books provide a steady stream of logical fallacies that let me exercise the skills I picked up from this book.

The insight that stuck with me from this book was that you should repair holes in your opponents’ arguments—argue their case more strongly than they did—before demolishing the strengthened arguments. People rarely do this, but I’ve seen a couple of good examples on the political/feminist blogs I read.

It reminds me of what we need to do in order to help people deal with their concerns to new ideas or technologies. It’s not enough to fight against straw-man arguments. You may need to be more concerned about people’s concerns than they are, before you can help them find a way forward.

Critical Inquiry: The Process of Argument
Michael Boylan (Westview Press: 2009) – ISBN 978-0813344522

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Visual book notes: How to Read a Book

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(Click on the image for a larger version of the notes.)

Whenever I want to pick up more tips on how to read better, I turn to How to Read a Book. This is not some speed-reading manual that overpromises and underdelivers. It’s a thoughtful, practical guide to getting the most out of your reading: picking the right speed for a book, taking better notes, building a topical index of books and their relationships with each other… (Still working on that!) The book has plenty of tips for reading specific subjects, and even includes exercises to help you improve your skills.

If you already enjoy reading books, this is probably going to be a fantastic book for you. If you’re working on getting more books into your life, this might have some tips that will help you read more strategically.

How to Read a Book
Mortimer J. Adler and Charles van Doren
New York: Simon & Schuster 1972 Rev. ed.
ISBN: 0-671-21209-5

Visual book notes: The Start-up of You (Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha)

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(Click image for a larger version)

The Start-up of You is a book about networking and career planning using tips pulled from the startup world, sprinkled with hip jargon such as “pivot” and “volatility.” It’s a decent book for people who are new to connecting or cultivating their network and who also like reading about technology and entrepreneurship. If you’re a fan of The Lean Startup and similar entrepreneurship books, The Start-up of You is like seeing those ideas applied to other parts of life. It’s easy to read, and it flows well.

I liked examples such as the “interesting people fund” and the idea of having A-B-Z plans. There are good tips for asking your network better questions (p208), too. If you’ve read a lot of other networking or career growth books, though, you might not come across many new aha! moments here, but it’s a good startup-influenced view at managing your own career.

The Start-up of You
Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha
2012: Crown Business
ISBN: 978-0307888907
(E-book and audiobook also available. The Toronto Public Library carries this book.)

Are you a visual learner? Check out my other sketchnotes and visual book notes!

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