Average Customer Review:
( 53 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
92 of 99 found the following review helpful:
THE book of the fallacy - a witty readNov 15, 2006
This book is a reproduction of the classic out of print book entitled "Book of the Fallacy: A Training Manual for Intellectual Subversives", which is one of the greatest and wittiest books ever written about fallacies and argument I've ever read.
I'm happy to see that it is now available again - for a reasonable price, because it makes a wonderful gift especially for young adults, or for anyone who would enjoy learning to win arguments.
I equate this book in importance to a parent teaching their child boxing to defend themselves on the playground. This book teaches how to defend themselves in debate, where one's opponent will cry uncle from a few well placed "argumentum ad ignorantiam" or a couple "tu quoque" with a swift kick in the rump from a well placed "red herring" as they scamper a way and submit in defeat.
If there is any question of the value this book has to us "fallacy buffs", simply look at the used book prices for the original book, and thank your lucky stars that it is now available again.
Madsen Pirie is the master.
90 of 99 found the following review helpful:
Turn your brain into a Swiss Army Knife with this combination sword, shield, and bulls**t detectorAug 19, 2006
There are a lot of critical thinking books out there, but few are as easily accessible and entertaining as "How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic." It shines a light on all the hidden trip wires, trap doors, and funhouse mirrors that the professional spinners use to keep us dizzy.
Wouldn't you like to learn how to see through all their smoke and mirrors? In this day and age, can any of us really afford not to?
Like its predecessor (the out-of print "Book of the Fallacy") this is a cure for our near-sighted world, especially in these days when-- whether from information overload or apathy-- we all seem to passively accept our collective blurred vision.
But don't worry, every trick in the book is revealed here in easy, to-the-point explanations. Straw men, red herrings, wishful thinking, etc--if you don't know what they are, you should-- they are the oily wool that lawyers, politicians, interest groups, media, organized religion, and out-and-out-con artists pull over your eyes everyday.
Here is the ultimate set of shears against them all. No more picked pockets, washed brains, and swiped votes. A lot of people would prefer if you didn't read this book and learn its valuable secrets-- and by all means don't, if you want them to continue to have their way. As for the rest of you, an eye-opening awaits...
63 of 68 found the following review helpful:
Dictionary of FallaciesOct 10, 2009
I think the Fallacy here is that you would learn about giving your arguments more strength and beating your opponent on a verbal battle. While you might glean some useful tidbits, this book is really more of a dictionary or appendix of Fallacies. Though well written enough and interesting it should be treated more of a reference for writers than anything else. You would probably find more meaning in "Thank you for Arguing" or "Logical Self Defense"; both of which I highly recommend for people studying Critical Thinking, or Rhetoric.
42 of 47 found the following review helpful:
Book has worth, just not for what title suggests.May 06, 2009
"Win" is a painless, often entertaining introduction to a broad list of logical fallacies, arranged in alphabetical order (I found this choice of organization odd and ironically illogical, but Pirie makes it work all right). It is not even remotely on how to win arguments, something "Thank You For Arguing," with its focus on rhetoric rather than just logic, does much more effectively.
Pirie is a proper, dignified Englishman, and just lacks the wickedness and ruthlessness needed to provide weapons-grade advice on abusing logic. One senses that while he saw offering advice on winning every argument as a sort of marketable hook, for him really abusing logic is as unthinkable as if the book were about "how to help your daughter star in pornography."
This is not necessarily a bad thing...I would rather be guided in logic by someone who holds logic dear than one who views it as just one more human construct to be prostituted for egoistic gain. I don't want to give the impression, though, that "Win" is too prissy to have any bite. It's got some teeth in it--just not fangs.
All of which probably renders the book's starring role as a refresher for the geezer who's been out of school too long to remember all the logical fallacies, someone who has never had proper exposure to logic as a subject matter, or--and this would be my favorite use of the book--as an adjunct text in high school philosophy or logic class. "Win" is brief, punchy, and informal, and shows off logic's fun side by implicitly alluding to its use as a competitive advantage. Who wouldn't want to scold the school bully for "affirming the consequent"? How demoralizing.
22 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Entertaining and educationalDec 07, 2006
By Gary Hellmann
There's a lot to like about this book, as it's entertaining, witty, and educational on top of all that. The title isn't really an accurate reflection of what's in the book, although he does talk about winning arguments too. The author clearly seems to know a lot about argument and about fallacies, and he is able to present the information in a manner that is clever (in the best sense of the word) and he uses many amusing examples. Since the book is done in short sections, it is ideal to pick up and read when time is short, or perhaps left on the nightstand to read a fallacy or two before sleeping. On the other hand, I liked it enough that I read it in just a couple of days, wanting to know what the next fallacy was and what the next example would be.
There are 79 fallacies listed alphabetically from the the Abusive Analogy through Wishful Thinking, although there are lists that show how they can be subdivided for reasons of classification by type at the end of the book. Each fallacy is treated in a similar manner starting with the name of the fallacy, an explanation of what it means, and a couple of examples of how it works. There is then a discussion of the fallacy that goes into history of the fallacy, who might want to use it, for whom it might be most effective, and sometimes a pithy summary of the fallacy. After another example the author discusses how one might use the fallacious reasoning to one's own benefit and gives an example of how that might be done.
Many examples are given, often using economics and politics, and there is a tendency on the author's part to use British examples. Most of them are amusing and clever and the author's commentary is quite lively and entertaining, and the wordplay is wonderful. Sometimes one wishes for references for the examples (even though references aren't really needed), such as the one on page 44 which discusses the Cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (that assumes that events which occurred together are causally connected). The example is: "A US legislator recently noted that a high crime rate correlated with a high prison population, and suggested that the prisoners be released in order to cut the crime figures." If this is true (and I suppose it might be) it would be fun to know who said it. There is very little of formal logic in the book and much informal logic, but the book clearly presupposes that you find logic and reason to be more important than anything else in argument and discussion.
It would even make a great gift for somebody on your list that might benefit from thinking more clearly, or at least more like you.
See all 53 customer reviews on Amazon.com