Summary of Winning Arguments

What Works and Doesn’t Work in Politics, the Bedroom, the Courtroom, and the Classroom

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Winning Arguments book summary
Argument defines the world and everything in it.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Don’t expect to learn how to win arguments by reading law professor Stanley Fish’s treatise. His main premise is that arguments pervade every aspect of life, never truly end and, therefore, cannot have a victor – at least, not a permanent victor. If you accept the certainty of argument and embrace it as all encompassing, you have clear motivation to get better at “argumentation.” At the least, you might learn to avoid the most fruitless of all arguments – those with your partner or spouse. Fish writes more about the philosophy of argument than practical techniques, but if the way discourse unfolds intrigues you, getAbstract – while always politically neutral – thinks you’ll enjoy his compelling exploration of why and how people disagree.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why argument, not agreement, is the natural state of humanity; and
  • What types of arguments emerge in politics, law, marriage and academia.


The Natural State of Argument
People may strive to get along and cooperate but, eventually, argument prevails. Even when parties reach a resolution, their agreement rarely lasts. International agreements, peace accords, trade deals and other covenants, no matter how solemnly undertaken...
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About the Author

Award-winning professor and former dean Stanley Fish teaches law at universities in New York and Florida. He also wrote the bestseller How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One.

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    Erica Rauzin 1 month ago
    I think the problem isn't that the abstract doesn't reflect the title, but that the title doesn't entirely reflect the book. The abstract is a reflection - in fact, a summary - of the contents of the book. We agreed that the title suggests that the book offers help with triumphing in an argument, which is why our recommendation begins, "Don’t expect to learn how to win arguments by reading law professor Stanley Fish’s treatise." This is, as several readers note correctly, a book about argument, itself, and types of arguments, not about how to achieve a victory in an argument. We appreciate your comments - no argument there. Erica Meyer Rauzin, Senior Managing Editor, getAbstract
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    Ajit Philkhana 1 month ago
    The abstract is not a reflection of the title of the book
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    Alireza Ghazaei Ardekani 1 month ago
    Expected more skills...!
  • Avatar
    Balkar Singh Kang 3 months ago
    Area of improvement identified, what would be the next step for Winning the Arugments
  • Avatar
    Richard Pettibone 3 months ago
    Agreed with the posts
  • Avatar
    Jason Cowles 6 months ago
    Not helpful.
    • Avatar
      John Paz 6 months ago
      Agreed. Instead of actually describing what works, as the title suggests, after reading the abstract it feels like this book is more concerned with identifying the different types of argument, and expectations to participate in said arguments.

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