It would be nice to recommend this book to everyone, because the world would be a better place if everyone either: A) played by these rules when arguing, or B) used these techniques when people were trying to persuade them. Anybody can learn these methods, which range from recommendations to stay calm to suggestions on shaping your message according to context. All are useful and presented in clear principles and vivid illustrations. However, getting most opponents to accept these rules would be nearly impossible. Robert Mayer is an attorney, but if you suppose (given the stereotype about wily lawyers) that he adds in some manipulative, tactical tricks, the weakness in his book is actually the opposite. Mayer mostly discusses ethical arguments, seeks win-win outcomes and seems to assume that you’ll always be arguing with upright people. Because of this, he focuses on crafting your message - and does a superior job - but essentially doesn’t touch on how to deal with abusive situations, entrenched irrationality, or simple threats and lying. getAbstract recommends this book with a drop of cynical caution: if you are naïve anyway, and must argue, also get some tougher, more wary advice. You may still wonder How to Win Any Argument if you end up opposing someone who is determined to win at any cost.
About the Author
Robert Mayer holds business and law degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He and his firm negotiate worldwide in many different industries, from music to real estate. He teaches seminars in negotiation and presents cruise ship lectures about haggling.