A book about fallacies. A fallacy is faulty reasoning, an error in logic.
Reading this book actually helps you add creativity to your conversations by helping you find assumptions or ommissions in an argument allowing you to respond cleverly.
The most useful fallacy is anecdotal reasoning where a few individual cases are used to counter an argument of principle. An example in the book discusses an argument for welfare being restructured to encourage people to seek employment when possible and the counterargument discussing one person who committed suicide when his benefits were withdrawn. Statistics should be countered by statistics rather than individual cases.
“Plurium interrogationum” is very effective as it gives the listener a false choice over their destiny: Do you want to put your bricks in the box, or on the shelf?
When something doesn’t sound right, consider the assumptions in the argument.
For example, you’ll see the following often in commercials for a household cleaner: “Kills 99% of all household germs!” This fallacy is called False Precision because exact numbers are used for inexact notions. In this case, what is a ‘household germ’? What if the rest happened to by malaria? The advertisers are using quantity where quality is a highly important factor.
I especially like this book because it tells you how you can win the argument whether it be by identifying situations and ways you can best use these fallacies or with advice that selecting evidence likely to resonate with the other person’s experience is best (ie if they’re a sports person, use an example from athletics in your argument.)
Favorite quote: “An ounce of practice is worth a pound of theory.”