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Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Eminem and Homer (Simpson) Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion [Format Kindle]

Jay Heinrichs

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Descriptions du produit


1. Open Your Eyes


A personal tale of unresisted persuasion

Truth springs from argument among friends.--david hume

It is early in the morning and my seventeen-year-old son eats breakfast, giving me a narrow window to use our sole bathroom. I wrap a towel around my waist and approach the sink, avoiding the grim sight in the mirror; as a writer, I don't have to shave every day. (Marketers despairingly call a consumer like me a "low self-monitor.") I do have my standards, though, and hygiene is one. I grab toothbrush and toothpaste. The tube is empty. The nearest replacement sits on a shelf in our freezing basement, and I'm not dressed for the part.

"George!" I yell. "Who used all the toothpaste?"

A sarcastic voice answers from the other side of the door. "That's not the point, is it, Dad?" George says. "The point is how we're going to keep this from happening again."

He has me. I have told him countless times how the most productive arguments use the future tense, the language of choices and decisions.

"You're right," I say. "You win. Now will you please get me some toothpaste?"

"Sure." George retrieves a tube, happy that he beat his father at an argument.

Or did he? Who got what he wanted? In reality, by conceding his point, I persuaded him. If I simply said, "Don't be a jerk and get me some toothpaste," George might stand there arguing. Instead I made him feel triumphant, triumph made him benevolent, and that got me exactly what I wanted. I achieved the height of persuasion: not just an agreement, but one that gets an audience--a teenaged one at that--to do my bidding.

No, George, I win.

The Matrix, Only Cooler

What kind of father manipulates his own son? Oh, let's not call it manipulation. Call it instruction. Any parent should consider rhetoric, the art of argument, one of the essential R's. Rhetoric is the art of influence, friendship, and eloquence, of ready wit and irrefutable logic. And it harnesses the most powerful of social forces, argument.

Whether you sense it or not, argument surrounds you. It plays with your emotions, changes your attitude, talks you into a decision, and goads you to buy things. Argument lies behind political labeling, advertising, jargon, voices, gestures, and guilt trips; it forms a real-life Matrix, the supreme software that drives our social lives. And rhetoric serves as argument's decoder. By teaching the tricks we use to persuade one another, the art of persuasion reveals the Matrix in all its manipulative glory.

The ancients considered rhetoric the essential skill of leadership--knowledge so important that they placed it at the center of higher education. It taught them how to speak and write persuasively, produce something to say on every occasion, and make people like them when they spoke. After the ancient Greeks invented it, rhetoric helped create the world's first democracies. It trained Roman orators like Julius Caesar and Marcus Tullius Cicero and gave the Bible its finest language. It even inspired William Shakespeare. Every one of America's founders studied rhetoric, and they used its principles in writing the Constitution.

Rhetoric faded in academia during the 1800s, when social scientists dismissed the notion that an individual could stand up to the inexorable forces of history. Who wants to teach leadership when academia doesn't believe in leaders? At the same time, English lit replaced the classics, and ancient thought fell out of vogue. Nonetheless, a few remarkable people continued to study the art. Daniel Webster picked up rhetoric at Dartmouth by joining a debating society, the United Fraternity, which had an impressive classical library and held weekly debates. Years later, the club changed its name to Alpha Delta and partied its way to immortality by inspiring the movie Animal House. To the brothers' credit, they didn't forget their classical heritage entirely; hence the toga party.

Scattered colleges and universities still teach rhetoric--in fact, the art is rapidly gaining popularity among undergraduates--but outside academia we forgot it almost entirely. What a thing to lose. Imagine stumbling upon Newton's law of gravity and meeting face-to-face with the forces that drive the universe. Or imagine coming across Freud for the first time and suddenly becoming aware of the unconscious, where your Id, Ego, and Super-Ego conduct their silent arguments.

I wrote this book for that reason: to lead you through this ill-known world of argument and welcome you to the Persuasive Elect. Along the way you'll enhance your image with Aristotle's three traits of credible leadership: virtue, disinterest, and practical wisdom. You'll find yourself using logic as a convincing tool, smacking down fallacies and building airtight assertions. Aristotle's principles will also help you decide which medium--e-mail? phone? skywriting?--works best for each message. You will discover a simple strategy to get an argument unstuck when it bogs down in accusation and anger.

And that's just the beginning. The pages to come contain more than a hundred "argument tools" borrowed from ancient texts and adapted to modern situations, along with suggestions for trying the techniques at home, school, work, or in your community. You will see when logic works best, and when you should lean on an emotional strategy. You'll acquire mind-molding figures of speech and ready-made tactics, including Aristotle's irresistible enthymeme, a neat bundle of logic that I find easier to use than pronounce.

By the end of the book you will have mastered the rhetorical tricks for making an audience eager to listen. People still love a well-delivered talk; the top professional speakers charge more per person than a Rolling Stones concert. I devote a whole chapter to Cicero's elegant five-step method for constructing a speech--invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery--a system that has served the greatest orators for the past two thousand years.

Great argument does not always mean elaborate speech, though. The most effective rhetoric disguises its art. And so I'll reveal a rhetorical device for implanting opinions in people's heads through sheer sleight of tongue.

Besides all these practical tools, rhetoric offers a grander, metaphysical payoff: it jolts you into a fresh new perspective on the human condition. After it awakens you to the argument all around, the world will never seem the same.

I myself am living proof.

Ooh, Baby, Stir Harder

To see just how pervasive argument is, I recently attempted a whole day without persuasion--free of advertising, politics, family squabbles, or any psychological manipulation whatsoever. No one would persuade me, and I would avoid persuading them. Heck, I wouldn't even let myself persuade myself. Nobody, not even I, would tell me what to do.

If anyone could consider himself qualified for the experiment, a confirmed hermit like me could. I work for myself; indeed, having dropped out of a career in journalism and publishing, I work by myself, in a cabin a considerable distance from my house. I live in a tiny village in northern New England, a region that boasts the most persuasion-resistant humans on the planet. Advertisers have nightmares about people like me: no TV, no cell phone, no BlackBerry, dial-up Internet. I'm commercial-free, a walking NPR, my own individual, persuasion-immune man.

As if.

My wristwatch alarm goes off at six. I normally use it to coax myself out of bed, but now I ignore it. I stare up at the ceiling, where the smoke detector blinks reassuringly. If the smoke alarm detected smoke, it would alarm, rousing the heaviest sleeper. The philosopher Aristotle would approve of the smoke detector's rhetoric; he understood the power of emotion as a motivator.

For the time being, the detector has nothing to say. But my cat does. She jumps on the bed and sticks her nose in my armpit. As reliable as my watch and twice as annoying, the cat persuades remarkably well for ten dumb pounds of fur. Instead of words she uses gesture and tone of voice--potent ingredients of argument.

I resist stoically. No cat is going to boss me around this morning.

The watch beeps again. I wear a Timex Ironman, whose name comes from a self-abusive athletic event; presumably, if the watch works for a masochist who subjects it to two miles of swimming, a hundred miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running all in one day, it would work for someone like me who spends his lunch hour walking strenuously down to the brook to see if there are any fish. The ancient Romans would call the Ironman's brand appeal argumentum a fortiori, "argument from strength." Its logic goes like this: If something works the hard way, it's more likely to work the easy way. Advertisers favor the argument from strength. Years ago, Life cereal ran an ad with little Mikey the fussy eater. His two older brothers tested the cereal on him, figuring that if Mikey liked it, anybody would. And he liked it! An argumentum a fortiori cereal ad. My Ironman watch's own argument from strength does not affect me, however. I bought it because it was practical. Remember, I'm advertising-immune.

But its beeping is driving me crazy. Here I'm not even up yet and I already contemplate emotional appeals from a cat and a smoke detector along with a wristwatch argument from strength. Wrenching myself out of bed, I say to the mirror what I tell it every morning: "Don't take any crap from anyone."

The cat bites me on the heel. I grab my towel and go fix its breakfast.

Five minutes later I'm out of toothpaste and arguing with my son. Not a good start to my experiment, but I'll chock it up to what scientists euphemistically call an "artifact" (translation: boneheaded mistake) and move on. I make coffee, grab a pen, and begin writing ostentatiously in a notebook. This does little good ...

From Publishers Weekly

Magazine executive Heinrichs is a clever, passionate and erudite advocate for rhetoric, the 3,000-year-old art of persuasion, and his user-friendly primer brims with anecdotes, historical and popular-culture references, sidebars, tips and definitions. Heinrichs describes, in "Control the Tense," Aristotle's favorite type of rhetoric, the deliberative, pragmatic argument that, rather than bogging down on past offenses, promises a future payoff, e.g., a victim of office backstabbing can refocus the issues on future choices: "How is blaming me going to help us get the next contract?" To illustrate "Control the mood," Heinrichs relates Daniel Webster's successful rhetorical flourish in a murder case: he narrated the horrific murder by following Cicero's dictum that when one argue emotionally, one should speak simply and show great self-control. Readers who want to terrify underlings into submission will learn from Heinrichs that speaking softly while letting your eyes betray cold fury does the trick handily. Thomas Jefferson illustrates Heinrichs's dictum "Gain the high ground"; keenly aware of an audience's common beliefs and values, Jefferson used a rhetorical commonplace (all people are created equal) to launch the Declaration of Independence. (Feb. 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 517 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 336 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (31 janvier 2008)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002RI90RW
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°333.734 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires en ligne

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  123 commentaires
67 internautes sur 74 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Keys to advertising and political campaigns 7 mars 2007
Par Michael Vegis - Publié sur Amazon.com
The book not only shows how to argue, it also reveals the tricks behind advertising and political campaigns. Heinrichs walks us through the basic rhetorical principles, starting with "ethos, pathos and logos," or character, emotion and logic. Character is the most important, he says, because your audience is much more likely to accept your point if it likes and trusts you. He shows how to construct the image of a leader to suit any audience--useful for anyone who manages people, or wants to.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Truly excellent, well thought out-start here for argument. 18 septembre 2010
Par Richard Griffiths - Publié sur Amazon.com
I have a large collection of persuasion books-some truly excellent-this one is right at the top. I bought it two weeks ago and it's looking much older now-with good reason.

This book offers you a choice: allowing you to control the argument or allowing the argument to control you. Jay has made esoteric seeming rhetoric into everyday practicality. Illustrating clearly how we all use elements of rhetoric in our daily lives, he goes on to demonstrate how to improve and structure it. Arguments, in the true rhetorical sense, become more productive, pleasurable and useful as a result.

I wish I'd had this book when I was a teenager; I would love to get my brothers kids to read it-what an advantage they would have, especially in building a career-never mind dodging the fallacious nonsense argued in the media and in politics.

Flowing easily from offense, defence, advanced defence-finally culminating in advanced agreement; Jay structures his discussion using ethos, pathos and logos succinctly, weaving tips, anecdotes and everyday examples into every page.

The Appendices are well thought out, the first being a total gem.
Entitled The Tools, here they are:

Goals-Set the tense:
* Personal Goal: What do you want from your audience
* Audience Goals: Mood, Mind and Willingness to Act.

Issue Control:
* The past is forensic-guilt and innocence, such as a court case.
* The present values-demonstrative-Praise and Blame.
* The future-the rhetoric of politics and good argument, what is best for the audience.
Ethos-Argument by character
* Decorum-Ability to fit in with the audience's expectations of a trustworthy leader.
* Virtue
* Practical Wisdom
* Disinterest
* Liar Detector
* Extremes
* Virtue Yardstick
* Sympathy
* Belief
* Volume control
* Unannounced emotion
* Passive voice
* Backfire
* Persuasive Emotions
* Figures of Speech
* Deduction
* Proof Spotter
* Commonplace
* Rejection
* Commonplace Label
* Induction
* Concession
* Framing
* Logical Fallacies
* Bad Proof
* Bad Conclusion
* Disconnect between proof and conclusion
* Rhetorical Fouls
Kairos-Timing or seizing the occasion
* Persuadable Moment
* Senses
* Invention
* Arrangement
* Styles
* Memory
* Delivery

The Further reading gives you a decent selection of books-I agree with his recommendation on Lanham's Handbook of Rhetorical Terms. Use it in conjunction with this text though as Lanham is not giving you daily life usage, rather he's offering his discussion on the terms themselves in an A-Z order.

The initiated may be a little put off by the terminology; however Jay points out the names are not important, simply grasp the concepts-I believe everyone reading this will do that with ease both from recognition and Jay's instruction.

In contrast to one or two reviewers, I believe any small technical errors detract but nothing from this work. Such things are easily looked up in Lanham's book, recommended by Hienrich. The living structure and purpose of the figures is far more important than any dead dissection of the correct labelling of figures in this book. I found one myself that I've yet to look up. The living essence of his discussion is the true treasure-and is very well put together, coherent and whole. I'm uncertain how the 3 star reviewer has arrived at his conclusion as I would contend that I'm not an experienced reader of rhetoric, in fact only recently discovering the terms logos, ethos and pathos-yet, this material flows incredibly easily.

This book has served as a solid course in every debating skills; something I believe we all could use to great advantage, allowing us to avoid being persuaded by poor argument, poor reasoning and bad proof, giving us the ability to make choices that are fully informed-something that is frequently unavailable on a daily basis.

If you have never read any book on persuasion, argument or similar, let this be your first-you won't be disappointed-in fact I think you may even be back to thank me.
43 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Word Book 7 mars 2007
Par R. Kollaras - Publié sur Amazon.com
The chapter on figures of speech is worth the price alone. They help you come up with snappy answers and intelligent things to say when you normally freeze up. And they've helped me write better. Some of the terms can be a mouthful, like paralipsis, anadiplosis and diazeugma, but there's a glossary in the back. Plus you don't actually have to know the words themselves, just the principles behind them.
230 internautes sur 281 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Useful, some errors 20 novembre 2009
Par rbnn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is a useful, well-written book focusing on using the tools of rhetoric to persuade people of things. It's different from most books on rhetoric by emphasizing contemporary, realistic examples - trying to get a promotion, win a client, make a sale, convince someone to vote a certain way - and by focusing on how people really decide things, not on idealistic versions of that. Thus, the author does a very good job of discussing why "decorum", fitting in, is important, and how it is important to know what motivates the other person. And it's different from books on psychology and people-skills, like How to Win Friends and Influence People, because it focuses mainly on rhetoric.

The writing is anecdotal and personal, full of jokes, some of them funny, and references to pop culture. I felt the second half of the book became a bit disorganized - it was sometimes not precisely clear to me whether the author was discussing logos, pathos, or ethos, or exactly where a chapter fit into the big scheme of things. But it's certainly well-written.

And the book is unquestionably useful, both in identifying and in using rhetorical techniques. Frankly, I wish I'd had this book when I was younger: I used to think persuasion was based entirely on logic. There are many day-to-day interactions and even career decisions that would be greatly aided by knowing the material here.

Although the book is entertaining, useful, even important, I nevertheless had a couple complaints.

(1) There were a number of errors in the identification and naming of rhetorical figures. Although these errors were likely just due to sloppy editing, I felt they would substantially confuse most readers.

For example, "metonymy" is defined on page 213 as something that "uses a part to describe the whole." True, using a part for a whole can be a type of metonymy, but metonymy actually means using something associated with another thing to stand for that other thing. The glossary repeats the incorrect definition, but concedes that metonymy can mean using cause for effect. Again, that is a type of metonymy, not metonymy itself.

Similarly, synecdoche is also misdefined as that "which swaps one thing for a collection." (p. 213). Synecdoche is using a part for the whole. Saying "The White House denied the allegations" would be a metonymy, not a synecdoche as the author incorrectly claims, because "White House" is not a part of the presidential administration.

The author also argues on page 210 that "every verse in the first book of Genesis" after the first starting with "And" is an example of anaphora. I think most people would say "chapter" not "book" of Genesis, but leaving that aside, I don't think anaphora is the correct figure here, if anything it is polysyndeton. The "and"s are not emphasized, they are just connecting words. (This point is fairly clear when we think of the meaning of anaphora, which is to emphasize the repetition, but in the Hebrew it's even clearer - the "And" comes from the Hebrew prefix vav- and isn't even its own word, it's just sort of a grammatical linking word.

The author makes the same error on page 211, mischaracterizing an example from Monty Python and the Holy Grail as anaphora when it is better characterized as polysyndeton.

On page 196 the author does correctly define polysyndeton, but the example next to it seems like an example of asyndeton. The editing is unclear but the treatment is at best confusing and at worst incorrect.

The author claims that "a man who wants to sound like a Rat Packer uses a speak-around when he refers to woman as 'broads'." By "speak-around" the author means "circumlocution" or periphrasis, but using "broad" for "woman is not an example of this. It's not even close, frankly, I'm not sure what the author was even getting at, since he correctly defines periphrasis. (p. 210). By the way, this also illustrates the author's penchant for using his own pet terms for rhetorical terms of art, here "speak-around" for "periphrasis." I find this annoying - jargon is there for a reason, so that people do not have to constantly redefine their terms and can look things up easily - but he does it a lot.

(2) My general philosophical concern with the author's approach is that he comes perilously close to confusing persuasiveness with correctness. It is true that the author's repertoire of techniques are ultimately persuasive to most people, but that's just because most people are not trained in statistical inference and logic and are thus subject to various kinds of cognitive fallacies. But this persuasiveness is not related to the actual correctness of the arguments. At one point the author mentions "formal logic" but does not seem to mean real logic, i.e. mathematical logic, by that; and the author does not generally seem to realize that only by quantitative analysis can correct decisions be arrived at - what he calls "logic" is Aristotlean logic, and there have been considerable developments in logic since Aristotle's time. Of course, the author has no doubt been very successful with his techniques, but I am not sure he fully realizes that what he is doing is not related to actual truth.

(3) The danger of the author's philosophy is apparent in several rather distracting comments throughout the book. Generally, the problem with being persuasive like the author is that he is going to confuse what is popular or widely-believed with what is correct.

(3a) This fallacy is probably most clearly exemplified on page 174, when the author suggests that a politician who votes donor's interests instead of public opinion should not be voted for. As the author puts it, "when the candidate says 'I don't just vote the opinion polls' what she really means is 'I prefer special interests to voters' interests.' ". The flaw here is that the author is conflating public opinion (as measured by opinion polls) with voters' interests. But many issues, most issues in fact, are much too complex for voters to have informed opinions about. The idea of a republican form of government is that representatives with greater time and resources to study the issues can determine what is in voters' interests. Donors who agree with the politician's will of course support her, but these facts alone don't show the politician is acting against voters' interests.

The point is that an opinion poll, or an opinion, is highly relevant to someone like the author who is very interested in persuading people. But it's not that relevant to the issue of what the correct vote would be on an issue.

(3b) Similarly, on page 129 and elsewhere the author constantly confuses or conflates "intelligent design" and "creationism", particularly in a passage arguing that intelligent design should not be taught. But creationism is different from intelligent design: creationism typically denotes a young Earth theory that rarely makes pretensions to being scientific, but intelligent design denotes another theory, one that does claim to be scientific. The fact that some people do not realize that creationism is distinct from intelligent design (although of course some claim the latter is an intellectual descendant of the former) is not a reason to conflate the two.

(3c) On page 183 the author suggests, although he does not directly state, that a Supreme Court justice should have "phronesis" or practical wisdom, and he seems to praise Justices Breyer and O'Connor for being "deliberative thinkers" and for their "practical wisdom." But it's far from clear that, popular opinion to the contrary notwithstanding, the role of Supreme Court Justice should be one of "practical wisdom." Rather, some might argue that the main role of a Supreme Court justice is to ensure that statutes and case law are decided in accordance with the Constitution. Perhaps, I am reading too much into that paragraph, but in conjunction with many somewhat tendentious political positions the author advocates in the book, it's not unreasonable to infer that the author is advocating a legislative role for the justices.

(3d) On page 110, he notes "When President Clinton told the special prosecutor, 'That depends on what your definition of 'is' is' he was redefining a term - in the slickest, most lawyerly way, unfortunately."

There are a whole slew of problems with this statement.

First, the author misquotes Clinton. Clinton said "meaning" not "definition" and "upon" not "on". The reason this is important is that it shows the author, like in all the cases above, is not independently checking facts, and is not having anyone else do it for him. He just sort of assumes that what most people believe, is the case, or he does not care. But if someone is going to accuse a former president of the United States of deceiving or trying to deceive the court, he ought to fact check the quote.

Second, contrary to what most people think, the word "is" is ambiguous. Suppose for example that John and Mary have an intimate relationship, but it has ended last week. Suppose someone asks John "Is there an intimate relationship between you and Mary?" The answer depends on what the definition of the word "is" is.

Third, Clinton was not trying to evade a statement he made. Clinton was asked about his own lawyer's statements in a prior proceeding. Clinton was asked if he agreed with his lawyer's statement. Now, Clinton is not deceiving anyone, because he clearly states that under one definition of "is" he agrees with his lawyer, and another he does not.

In conclusion, there is indeed much useful and much entertaining here. And without a doubt the author has his finger on the pulse of humanity (well, his comments criticizing abbreviations in IM already seem dated, but besides that). And the overwhelming majority of readers will not in the least be put off by any of the concerns I raise. So I think all-in-all it's a good book to read if you want to persuade people.
13 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Remedial Rhetoric 4 juillet 2007
Par Momma Di - Publié sur Amazon.com
I enjoyed the book so much that I signed up to received regular emails illustrating "figures" of speech, as they are used popular media. Jay Heinrichs presents the fundamentals of rhetorics in an unpretentious and transparent manner. A lot of information is presented, and I have come to regret, like Heinrichs, that rhetoric is not taught in schools. I would have benefited from having learned these concepts in grade school. Having been persuaded the power of these techniques, I did get a little bored with the ending, where he makes a case that a rhetorically-trained society would be a more democratic one. While I enjoyed the book tremendously, I didn't give it a "5" because I felt the production of the book was poor. I had to send back my first one because it was defective (missing 30 pages), and the layout of the pages looks like it was done by a high-schooler. Also, I thought the conclusion a bit anticlimactic.
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