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Good Arguments

Best Seller
Good Arguments by Bo Seo
Hardcover $28.00
Jun 07, 2022 | ISBN 9780593299517

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  • Jun 07, 2022 | ISBN 9780593299517

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Praise

“[An] enlightening introduction to the style, function, and variety of formal debate . . . Full of intriguing historical snapshots and practical advice, this is an inspiring study of how good-faith arguments can bring people together rather than tear them apart.” Publishers Weekly

“Bo Seo pulls off the hat trick of persuasion, combining crisp logic, a compelling story, and a likeable, trustworthy narrator. While his book will turn the shyest introvert into a wannabe debater, it makes a compelling argument of its own: that civil disagreement can save our troubled civilization.” —Jay Heinrichs, New York Times-bestselling author of Thank You for Arguing

“At a time of polarization and rage, we all need to learn how to disagree well—and this important, compelling and wise book should be at the heart of how we do so.” —Johann Hari, New York Times-bestselling author of Stolen Focus and Lost Connections

“This is not just the electrifying tale of how Bo Seo won two world debate championships. It’s also a user manual for our polarized world. I can’t think of a more vital resource for learning to sharpen your critical thinking, accelerate your rethinking, and hone your ability to open other people’s minds. Good Arguments is the rare book that has the potential to make you smarter—and everyone around you wiser.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Think Again and host of the podcast WorkLife
 
Good Arguments is a book so timely and needed in this fraction-ing world we are living in. It assumes that a quarrel is something you first have with yourself, get it out of the way and start to respect and listen to the person across the room from you. Seo has written a book that forces us to think and then speak as the philosopher he knows is right on the tip of every tongue. This book is brilliant and a pleasure to read; in the end, he instructs us not to win but to convince and unexpectedly, it teaches how to persuade for words are deployed as weapons of love.” —Jamaica Kincaid, author of See Now Then, Mr. Potter, and The Autobiography of My Mother
 
“In a world increasingly rent by division within and between nations, Bo Seo’s lucid and humane search for ‘better ways to disagree’ could not be more timely or valuable.” —Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and author of The Case for Courage
 
“I adore this beautiful story of a young person’s journey from fear of conflict and altercation to embrace of wonderful disagreement and argument. In this touching memoir, debate is not a mere activity but a way of life that offers hope of a cure for a diseased society. Good Arguments is essential reading!” —Jeannie Suk Gersen, John H. Watson Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of A Light Inside

“From two-time world champion debater Bo Seo, a thoughtful, instructive and eloquent meditation on the art of debate and why its central pillars—fact-finding, reason, persuasion and listening to opponents—are so valuable in today’s alarming ecosystem of misinformation and extreme emotion. When Bo Seo’s family immigrated from South Korea to Australia, he was a shy, conflict-averse eight year old who worried about being an outsider, and in Good Arguments, he recounts how debate not only helped him to cross language lines, but also gave him confidence and a voice of his own.” Michiko Kakutani, New York Times-bestselling author of Ex Libris and The Death of Truth

“I had lots of conversations about political and social issues with Bo Seo when he was a student at Harvard, and I never felt even, for a second, that he was being disputatious or even argumentative. On the contrary, they were delightfully agreeable. Now I understand why: it was because Bo Seo is a debater, in fact, one of the best debaters in the world. If you want to learn how debating can help you become a more engaging conversationalist, a more broad-minded thinker, or even, maybe, just a better human being, you must read Good Arguments.” —Louis Menand, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Metaphysical Club and The Free World
 
“Today, more than ever, we see the importance of navigating disagreements constructively. In his new book, Good Arguments, Bo Seo offers some tips we can all use in doing so, drawing on his deep experience as a champion debater.” —Stephen A. Schwarzman, New York Times-bestselling author of What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

“Good Arguments is an antidote to spin, fake news, ‘political correctness’ and plain muddled thinking. Bo Seo teaches us how to listen and to be heard in both a healthy democracy and  around the kitchen table.” —Gillian Triggs, author of Speaking Up and UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR

“This excellent book begins with the challenge faced by a schoolboy whose family moved from South Korea to Australia. From a culture where structured debate was sometimes considered a futile and impolite game to one that saw it as a call to the pleasure of discovering new ways to look at our world through the eyes of others. From school debating to university dialogue and on to witnessing global political conflict, Bo Seo identifies how debate and argument are essential to human understanding. Out of good arguments comes a synthesis. It has been so from the time of Socrates, to the world of Khrushchev and Mandela, and of Putin and Zelinsky. He argues that debate is central to human freedom even as our world faces dramatic challenges for human survival. Distinguishing ‘good arguments’ from unconvincing rubbish, has never been more central to human survival and to achieving love for one another.” —Michael Kirby, AC CMG, former Justice of the High Court of Australia and former President of the International Commission of Jurists

“A useful reflection on how to disagree, especially important in toxic times.” —Kirkus

“Lucidly recounting anecdotes and observations from his live debate sessions, Seo takes readers on a refreshing and inspiring journey . . . this illuminating book examines the fascinating world of competitive debate and offers much food for thought.” —Booklist

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