George Orwell once wrote that a classical education would be impossible without corporal punishment. Maybe that’s why it isn’t taught in schools today. A classical education was demanding. It included rhetoric: the art of effective speaking and writing.
What is an argument? In the Argument Clinic, a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, an absurdist comedy series, a man pays for a five-minute argument. The customer goes to a room where a man behind a desk hurls abuse at him. The customer interrupts saying he paid for a five-minute argument, and this is… Continue reading The art of persuasion 2: How to argue
Lawyer and politician, Arlen Specter, started as a Democrat, then became a Republican, and then went back to being a Democrat again. As you can imagine, he resisted being labeled. What he actually said was, “I don’t like labels. I think they conceal more than they reveal — sort of like a bikini.”
“Any organization that won’t take the trouble to be both clear and personal in its writing will lose friends, customers, and money.” — William Zinsser, in his 30th-anniversary classic, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
“NOW HEAR THIS.” The U.S. Navy uses this phrase to command attention over a ship’s speaker system. Attention is the first order of business whether you’re giving a speech, writing a headline, or attempting to flag down that snooty waiter.
Everyone needs to decide, yet deciding is no simple matter. In Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work, Chip and Dan Heath explain why the process of decision making is more effective than analysis. They then go on to show what a nuanced process looks like. In this short and popular book,… Continue reading Decisive
The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the new world disorder constantly surprises us and what we can do about it, by Joshua Cooper Ramo We may crave simple and easy-to-comprehend ideas, but the world is complex. The Age of the Unthinkable relies on Chaos Theory for its perspective on a world where old ways of thinking… Continue reading Age of the Unthinkable