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Thank you for arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion

IRP 4
by

Megan Gildersleeve

on 15 April 2013

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Transcript of Thank you for arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion

Foundation Topic #1 Literary Criticism Reflection & Recommendation Works Cited Why this book? Over the years I started to notice a trend Whenever i got into an argument, I always lost. As annoying as this fact was I couldn't think of anything I could do to turn an argument into my favor. I picked this novel because it claims, "By the end of the book you will have mastered the rhetorical tricks to persuade an audience to your viewpoint in an argument" (Heinrichs 6). Not only will this book help me "win" an argument but it contained interesting topics as well. Heinrichs covers the concept of ethos, pathos and logos in depth and also gives examples when to apply each of these different argumentative tools in certain situations. The concept of the novel is appealing and I personally don't see a plethora of books pertaining to rhetorical techniques in bookstores which was also a contributing factor in my decision to choose this particular book. Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion. New York: Three Rivers, 2007. Print. Thank you for arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion Many people rave about Jay Heinrichs's book "Thank you for arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion" and claim that it is "an informative and enjoyable resource to help you understand both the theory and practice of rhetoric and the persuasive arts" (Critical Voter). Many critics have nothing but positive comments in regards to the novel, and if there is a "negative" comment it usually a constructive criticism. I agree with the experts because the novel is insightful and everyone will be able to take away useful information and apply it to their daily lives. Additionally Heinrichs does an exceptional job with incorporating his sense of humor within the novel which helps captivate the audience. After reading this novel I learned a bulk of new information regarding Rhetoric techniques due to the fact that prior to this book I was never introduced to this particular topic. There were many rhetorical devices that I implemented when I found myself in an argument, and to my surprise they worked (most of the time) to persuade my "opponent" to my opinion. I would give this book an 8 out of 10 because although it was very interesting there were times in the book where the reading would seem like a chore. I would recommend this novel to people who are interested in the English language or have a thirst for knowledge. However, if you are into more adventurous or thrilling novels I would not recommend this book. "Critical Voter." Critical Voter. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.
"Jay Heinrichs." Jay Heinrichs Author Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.
"Random House, Inc. Academic Resources | Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs." Random House, Inc. Academic Resources | Thank You for Arguing by Jay Heinrichs. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2013. Author: Jay Heinrichs Author Background: Novel Publication: Jay Heinrichs was born in 1956. Heinrichs attended Haverford High School in Pennsylvania and later went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont. He began his career as a "journalist and editor in Washington, D.C., specializing in conservation issues" (Jay Heinrichs). Further down the road he had a long list of credentials; Heinrichs served as deputy editor of Outside magazine, editorial director of the Sports and Fitness Group at Rodale Inc., founding editor of US Airways' Attaché magazine, and group publisher of the Ivy League Magazine Network. Heinrichs spent 25 years of his career as a journalist and publishing executive when he decided to take some time off and study the art of persuasion full-time where he got his inspiration to write his world renowned book "Thank you for arguing: what Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson can teach us about the art of persuasion". Adding to his successful career, Jay Heinrichs was awarded three gold medals for the best feature writing in higher education from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Eventually Heinrichs got married to Dorothy Behlen and together they had two kids and they currently reside on "150 acres in central New Hampshire" (Heinrichs 317). Ethos, or argument by character, employs the persuader's personality, reputation, and ability to look trustworthy. In order to win over an audience or group of people you must convince them that you are a credible person so they can instill their absolute trust in you and then follow your lead. The three essential qualities of a persuasive ethos is "virtue, practical wisdom and selflessness" (Heinrichs 56). Topic #2 Rhetorical virtue is the appearance of virtue or moral excellence. It can spring from a truly noble person or be faked by the skillful rhetorician. Heinrichs clarifys that, "Rhetoric is an agnostic art; it requires more adaptation to the values of your audience than righteousness"(Heinrichs 65). "Values" take on a different meaning in rhetoric as well. Rhetorical values merely constitute what people value which varies from person to person. For example a person could value money as opposed to a someone who values faith. By supporting your audience's values you earn their temporary trustworthiness called rhetorical virtue. Topic #3 Laughter is an excellent calming device and there are four different types of humor. The first type of humor is urbane humor which plays off a word or part of speech. The second type of humor is Wit which is situational humor. Facetious humor is joke telling however, it is "a relatively ineffective form of persuasion" (Heinrichs 97). Finally, the last type of humor is Banter, the humor of snappy answers. Banter works best in rhetorical defense due to the fact that it uses concession to throw the opponent's argument back at him. Topic #4 Deductive logic applies a general principle to a particular matter. Rhetorical deduction uses a premise, a fact or commonplace, to reach a conclusion. Deductive logic reaches a conclusion by "interpreting the circumstances through a lens of beliefs and values" (Heinrichs 133). Topic #5 A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to "divert attention from the original issue" (Heinrichs 154). The basic idea for using a red herring is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. If a topic is being discussed and a new topic is introduced by being presented as being relevent (when in reality it is irrelevant) the first topic is soon forgotten. Terms to know:
Virtue - the audience believes you share their values
Practical wisdom - you appear to know the right thing to do on every occasion
Selflessness - the audience's interest seems to be your sole concern “There is no argument: This is an amazing and useful book. Any author who can conjure wisdom from both Thomas Aquinas and Yogi Berra belongs on my shelf.”
— Roy Peter Clark, author of WRITING TOOLS: 50 ESSENTIAL STRATEGIES FOR EVERY WRITER “Inspiring, original, and hysterically funny…rhetoric doesn’t get any better than this.”
--Gina Barreca, Editor, THE SIGNET BOOK OF AMERICAN HUMOR "Smart, funny, and hip. These 'Heinrichs maneuvers' will help you prevail against any verbal opponent. A true cause for celebration!"

--Joel Saltzman, author of SHAKE THAT BRAIN!: HOW TO CREATE WINNING SOLUTIONS AND HAVE FUN WHILE YOU'RE AT IT What the critics say I really liked Hendrichs's novel because it teaches concepts that are practically extinct in today's education system and the knowledge gained can in fact be applied to your everyday life.
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