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How you should not argue in order to win
on 6 March 2014
This is really an odd book, especially when considering it is written by a famous American trial lawyer. First, reading this book doesn't teach you how to argue. Only a little bit. But is sure gives the author time to brag about his courtroom winnings. How to argue, the structure of a good argument, and information about logical fallacies are not treated at all. Rather, it's the other way round. The book is marred by logical fallacies! Thus - most probably - buying this book will disappoint you. But if you are looking for exaggerations and fun reading, the book, in its own hilarious way, is to a certain extend fun to read. Some times. But I laughed more often AT the author than WITH the author.
If the book cover hadn't told me that the author is a famous trial lawyer, then, if someone had told me this after I had read it, I doubt I would have believed him. Why? Because there are so many silly arguments in this book! And a trial lawyer should argue intelligently and coherently, shouldn't he? Or to put it another way: I really don't hope that it is this way of arguing that has caused Spence to win courtroom cases. That would be scaring! Then I would have to lose my belief in the American jury system.
An example: His environmental views, revealed in the book, I can only view as both absurd and, at times, fanatical. Obviously, trees and habitats can neither think nor feel anything, like happiness or despair. A pine cannot feel or be proud! A whole forest cannot "suddenly" be "gripped by fear". But baffling enough, this is precisely what Spence claims. He even argued like this in a courtroom case. Why didn't the jury just laugh? What kind of absurd ontology does Spence believe in? This is perhaps one of the worst parts of the book, but again and again he comes with arguments and claims that only can be regarded as outright absurd.