Nonfiction Short Take: Winning Agruments – Stanley Fish

A couple years back, you could have knocked me over with a feather when the bestseller lists made room for legal scholar Stanley Fish’s How to Write a Sentence. It was a sleeper hit that ended up selling over 100,000 thanks to Fish’s engaging writing and playful intellect. Those same skills are on display here in a book Kirkus calls “compelling…The points [Fish] presents are philosophical, metaphysical, even ontological”—which I suppose might give some readers pause. But a book that puts Donald Trump up against Montaigne is also a lot of fun.

 “Legal scholar Fish provides a practical, thought-provoking guide to improving argument skills. By dividing the book into four mini-guides on politics, domestic matters, law, and academe, Fish ensures that it offers something for everyone….Throughout, he shows how arguments operate according to different rules in different contexts. What is valued in the academy is not necessarily valued in the courtroom—or the bedroom. At home, he claims, arguments are first and foremost ‘performances of personality creation.’ The variety of references, such as in a comparison of Donald Trump to Michel de Montaigne, is just one aspect of Fish’s stellar knack for crafting his own persuasive style. …Fish’s shrewd work can help everyone better understand the power of effective communication in everyday life.”
— Publishers Weekly

Winning Arguments: What Works and Doesn’t Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom (9780062226655) by Stanley Fish. $19.99 hardcover. 7/5/16 on sale.

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