Review By Don Sloan
The joy of winning an argument may be fleeting, but it can be ever so satisfying. So states author Albert Navarra in his excellent and inspirational book The Joy of Argument: 91 Ways to Get More of What You Want, and Less of What You Don’t.
Navarra goes on to assert that “there are things in life you want, but will never get unless you learn to argue for them.” Then, he goes on: “There are as many reasons to argue as there are reasons to live.”
Strong advice for a civilized age in which a high premium has always been placed on “getting along” with one’s fellow man. Some folks even argue that we should avoid the sort of conflict the author so gleefully espouses.
It’s worth it, however, Navarra says. Especially when you’re adequately prepared. First, he asserts, you should clarify the main point of the argument. “What exactly are you arguing about? What’s the issue?” Then, more accurately: “What do you want to accomplish?” If you go on to list the main points of your position, you’ll stand a much better chance of walking away a winner.
Many of Navarra’s assertions seem deceptively like common sense, boiled down to a ruthless methodology. But the fact remains: unless you want to go through life as a lackadaisical loser, you’d better pay close attention to his tips.
Case in point: “Arguing without listening is like flying without seeing,” he says. “Listening shows the other person you are open-minded, sincere, compassionate, helpful and trustworthy — even if you’re not!” The key, according to the author: “Careful listening will reveal where you need to go in your argument.”
Still later, Navarra opines that one exception to arguing is on the subject of faith. “After all,” he says, “what is there to argue about? You either believe it or you don’t. You can’t argue about facts, evidence, or reasoning because faith isn’t based on any of these things.” In short, his advice on matters of faith: “Let it be.”
Finally, the author advises against insulting anyone in an argument. Insults, he adds, are “very common” in weak arguments. They are, after all, “beside the point,’ he concludes.
Hmm. Wonder if Donald J. Trump shares that opinion?
Pick up a copy of this book today and start winning arguments tomorrow. I give it five-plus stars.
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