“Arguments: How to persuade others to your way of thinking” is a conversational primer tool written by Tom Miles and narrated by Sean Householder. The book provides one with concepts, ideas, techniques, and reasons for how to turn a discussion (sometimes heated) to your way of thinking. The author did a decent job of covering the subject matter at a high-level in this rather brief piece of work; 57pages or 1hr 26min of audio. He covered basic definitions, pitfalls, methods, and tips helping you to have the upper-hand in any argument. This is not a book of how to manipulate or control others, instead it gives assistance by pointing out how to strengthen one’s arguments.
While initially listening to the book I struggled with the use of the word “argument” as my personal definition says it is only a heated or angry exchange between people having differing views. I tried to comprehend how this information would help during a very negative situation, but the author does gives some good tips no matter how argument level or type. One definition of the word “argument” says it is “…the aim of persuading other that an action or idea is right or wrong”. In many ways I would have preferred the book to be titled differently, but that is only my opinion based on my context of the word. All the advice given in the book is applicable to general conversations, debates, or any other means of communication. Using the word argument in the title seems to limit the intended target audience.
With that out of the way, let me get into some of the finer points of the book. The author makes some very salient points up front that should not be missed. First is that an Argument is not simply a battle to see who wins and who does not. The second is that an argument is not the same thing as a fight. That is not to say that an argument cannot turn into a heated discussion, but by leveraging the suggestions in this book, I would hope such a situation would be quickly diffused before escalating to that level. An argument also need to have a person’s conviction and ethical reasoning behind it; one should not argue just for argument sake. There needs to be a reason one should desire to change another’s point of view and often this is because of their passion for a subject matter.
As with any other form of communication, the author reiterates basic communication skills also important during an argument. Communication skills and etiquette such as: listening to the others, seeing things from the other person’s perspective, utilizing humor, ensure tone of voice, and most importantly observing non-verbal body language. The author raises the importance of third-party information (reports, data, stats, etc.) along with bringing in expert witnesses when in an argument. Such items bring extra weight and credibility to one’s position. A very striking point made by the author was when he quoted another that said, “silence is the hallmark of a thinker.” Quiet can be a very powerful means of communication with others and you should use this to your advantage.
Most arguments, as pointed out by the author, can be won by being ethical, having discretion, using sound logic, keeping in mind context, and not being afraid to change your position based on the information provided by the other party. All of these combined will provide you with the upper edge of nearly any argument.
Regarding the narration of the book, Sean Householder did an exceptional job with this book. His voice was pleasant to listen to and the speed of the recording was well-paced. The audio itself was clean, clear, and lacked any noticeable audio artifacts such as background noise, swallows, etc. Because this was a non-fiction business-centric text, it is difficult to rate the narrator on character quality and other areas often reserved for fiction books. Reviewing some of his other works on Audible, I see he averages four and five stars for performance. Although I would have preferred to have more inflection in his voice, this is simply a personal opinion. The narration was not dull or monotone. When the book was complete, I could have continued listening to his voice.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to the reviewer at no charge by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for posting a non-bias review.