How To Win Every Argument

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How To Win Every Argument by Madsen Pirie was published in 2006 as a humourous yet insightful guide to "the use and abuse of logic".

Contrary to the impression of the subtitle, the book details a catalogue of 79 common (and not so common) logical fallacies, arranged in alphabetical order, as well as a handy classification of the various fallacies into five categories of:

  • formal;
  • informal (linguistic);
  • informal (relevance - omission);
  • informal (relevance - intrusion); and
  • informal (relevance - presumption)

Where applicable, fallacies are listed under their traditional Latin names. Otherwise, they are listed by the name of the fallacy in English.

The book succeeds in explaining why various argumentative or seemingly reasoned positions are invalid with obvious examples, clear descriptions and simple commentary.

How To Win Every Argument is written with an irreverent style, and is not lacking for humour, which primarily manifests itself in the brief commentary and explanations of where a logical fallacy breaks down.

The dust jacket of the hardcover edition contains imagery of a sledgehammer and a walnut, the walnut being intact on the front of the dust jacket, and broken on the rear. The rear cover of the dust jacket also contains an image of a fake sticker, claiming:

"Publisher's Warning: In the wrong hands this book is dangerous. We recommend that you arm yourself with it whilst keeping it out of the hands of others. Only buy this book as a gift if you are sure that you can trust the recipient."

The book is published by Continuum, with the ISBN 0-8264-9006-9