An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
By Ali Almossawi
Illustrated by Alejandro Giraldo
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
(Richard P. Feynman)
I bought this book because I fell in love with the cover. The title (Bad Arguments) combined with the adorable illustration was just too irresistible.
Almossawi lists nineteen errors of reasoning and gives examples of them, often with humor, not at all as a stern lecture. Each example is accompanied by a cute illustration showing the thinking fallacy in action.
If you read them closely, you are sure to find examples in the real world showing how all of these bad arguments are used, and chances are, you probably won’t even have to look far. In our house, it’s sometimes the “appeal to hypocrisy”—when you point out that someone’s arguments conflict with their own past (or maybe even current) actions. It sounds something like “Oh yeah, well, YOU do this and that…” And it’s hard to catch yourself when you’re rolling down the “slippery slope argument.”
You can read the book online at www.bookofbadarguments.com in eleven languages (including Finnish! :-)), but it’s much nicer to own a copy because this is one to read through over and over again.
I was going to say that it would be a great book to give as a gift as well, but then again, the receiver might feel offended and think you are telling them that their arguments are bad, which may indeed be the case and that’s why they should read the book.
Ah, but you can couch it like this: say it will help them to see through other peoples’ bad arguments and then hope that they will recognize their own.
Because this book is so decorative, I placed it facing outwards on a shelf so that you
can see the front cover.
p.s. – if all else fails and you run out of arguments, good or bad, you can always revert to this phrase which I saw somewhere: “You may be right, but I like my opinion better.”