Win Every Argument
A review of

Win Every Argument

The Art of Debating, Persuading and Public Speaking

How to Dominate Debates

by Patricia Sanders

Debates – around the supper table or the water cooler, in town halls and school board meetings, in the halls of Congress and on cable TV – are shaping Americans’ lives, families, communities and democracy itself for better or worse. In an entertaining and pragmatic guide, veteran debater and journalist Mehdi Hasan teaches how to state your case with power and boost your influence when it matters most.

Journalist Mehdi Hasan’s guide to winning debates and arguments opens with a story from ancient Greece. During the Peloponnesian War, the village of Mytilene rebelled against Athenian rule but failed in its attempt to gain autonomy. The authorities in Athens decided on a harsh punishment: death for all Mytilene’s men and slavery for the women and children. Authorities sent a ship to carry the orders to the general of the occupying forces. 

But while the ship was en route, a discussion arose among the elite of Athens; some felt the punishment had been too harsh. A formal debate ensued. Cleon, a general, argued for adhering to the severe punishment, and a moderate political leader, Diodotus, argued for leniency. Against Cleon’s raging calls for death, Diodotus responded eloquently, with calm and expedient logic. Diodotus won the day, and a second ship was sent to Mytilene – arriving just in time to save the city.

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