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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 15 October 2006
Straight and Crooked Thinking is a well written and invaluable tool when challenging a politician's spin, a religious activist's preachings or a corporations excuses about its mediocre service - in fact in any situation where one has the feeling that the subject is being disingenuous, plainly dishonest and/or illogical. Exposing the fallacies in a proponents arguments gets results, so if you want to formulate a solid and HONEST argument based upon FACTS, and not fiction, I'd strongly recommend it.
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on 20 May 2002
I first read Straight and Crooked Thinking in 1971, when I was 16. (I found it in a public library) It had an enormous impact upon me. When listening to political debates, or reading newspapers I often had the feeling that speakers/writers were being dishonest and/or illogical. This book gave me the tools to understand why!
I did make myself rather unpopular with my contemporaries at the time by pointing out fallacies in their arguments, but that is another story.
I later found out that the book had had a similar impact upon my father when he read it in 1942. (It had been distributed free to troops to help the battle of ideas against Nazi propaganda.)
When I started teaching in 1979, I bought two copies, one to keep and one to lend to interested students. Alas, I lent and lost both of them.
I recently borrowed the most recent edition (edited by Christopher Thouless) from my university library and found it as relevant as ever.
This is a wonderful book. It is a powerful antidote to the modern culture of "spin"!...
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on 19 August 2005
When I went to university in 1984, to study engineering, this book was a compulsory purchase. I bought it (£1.95), and it changed the way I thought. It's as simple as that, an incredible book - I still have my yellowed, dog-eared copy and I'd recommend it to anyone.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 July 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Some of the info in this book is just plain common sense, but it's also full of stuff that will open your eyes to the way our politicians (and newspapers) daily try to mislead us, even when they're not telling us outright lies.

Many of the examples in the book are so spot-on that one almost wonders if it's required reading for prospective politicians and news-writers, to teach them the dirty tricks of their trade.

The book is easy and enjoyable to read, but the contents may change your life.

When I think of all the hours of my life that were wasted learning about Henry VIII, permafrost in Siberia, etc., etc., I really wonder... why didn't they teach us something USEFUL, like this stuff instead?

Definitely recommended to anyone who cares about language, logic, or being manipulated.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Staight and Crooked thinking is a short book initially published in 1930 (then again in 1953) but despite its age, the concepts and examples all hold true today. Thouless sets up examples and then picks them apart, illustrating what literary technique the author of such a statement is utilising in an effort to mislead, persuade or sensationalise.

I will say, this isn't light-reading, I'm not an english-language student and had to reread several paragraphs to wrap my head around the concept being explained. A few of the examples need updating. Despite a number of outdated examples or grammatical constructions that we rarely use today unless it's in an ironic-archaic sense, this is still a great book that gives a refreshing perspective when reading the papers, as it allows you to see past the writers intent and gain a better look at the objective origin of the statement.

Still, if you are not a journalist, writer, language-student or grammar-fiend this could be considered pretty dry reading. A solid book that does what it claims.
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on 13 March 2004
I first read this book some twenty years ago and happened to come across it again the other day. I started delving into it and soon found myself reading it from cover to cover once more. It must still be regarded as one of those classic works that has stood the test of time. Anyone interested in thinking independantly, or critically would do well to try this. Straight and Crooked thinking is an accessible read which borders upon Psychology,Philosophy and Logic as an excellent introduction to these disciplines.
Not only does the book expose logical fallacies that one encounters in argument or every day conversation, but also the author uses humourous examples to illusrtrate illogical standpoints.
One has to be carefull though, I found myself examining my own thoughts and prejudices!
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very clear guide to common flaws in argument, including the impact of emotive language, logical fallacies, pitfalls in analogies, and other ways in which logic can break down. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it is also a really interesting read. This edition has been updated with examples for current world events, and it is really interesting: I found myself reading extracts out to my husband, who, even after several pages, wanted to hear more. I'm not sure how immediately beneficial it would be in terms of strengthening your own powers of argument (it's one thing to read, another to put into practise), but I think it would definitely raise your awareness of common pitfalls. Interesting and informative.
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on 2 May 2012
Several of the other positive reviews describe experiences uncannily similar to mine. It is one of a small number of books which have had a major, lasting effect on me, for which I am thoroughly grateful. It should be in every decent school and public library: I'd not have discovered it if it had not been on a library shelf. I'm so delighted at the appearance of this new edition, revised just as it needed to be.

Lucid and well-written as the book is to me, it's true that now and then you have to think. What's wrong with that? It'll do your brain a lot of good. Some other reviewers find some examples obvious. Had these been omitted the book would be criticised for omissions. Really, it's not a problem; it's a brilliant and necessary book.

I agree with a criticism of the page graphics, but that's the feathers and we're interested in the meat.

Buy this book. Give it to people. Recommend it. You'll be doing your bit for a slightly better world.
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on 28 June 2015
Interesting analysts of use of language and some aspects of logic in argument . Worth reading if this area is new to you. You won't be so easily conned bypoliticians, marketeers, Fleet Street and the to-day programme an its interviewers when you have. E.g precisely how valuable is the statement "couldn't you have done more" or " prime minister admits he could have done more". Of course more could be done, it always can. The question or statement is too general unless you specify what the more is. the risk if you are more precise is that you lay yourself open to being questioned as to why it is reasonable to ask whether what you are suggesting could or should have been done. II read an early edition of this as a teenager in the 1960s and it started my interest in logic
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VINE VOICEon 15 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The information in this book is excellent for almost everyone. In business it will allow you to get more from your staff or your boss. At home it will allow you to deal with friends and family in a much more positive way. It also allows you to see how we can be manipulated by the people we see on the TV by the way they talk and act.

My only problem with the book is that this book has been around for a very many years, and although it has been tweaked here and there, overall I find the style dated and hard to understand. Even the font and layout of the book seems very dated. I think it is maybe a time for a major rewrite, otherwise this excellent guide may well be lost forever.
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