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BECK, Glenn, Arguing With Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government (2009)
This 325 page book is "splashy" to say the least, making it difficult for many reviewers to separate the author from his work1. This "How To" book does much to share facts and run through a theoretical argurment with a stock "idoit," but does little to explain any method of expressing its vast facts in a non-threatening way. In fact since the conversation is between the author and a two dimensional "idiot" (and the
slightly bombastic author is certainly known to his audience), those who may wish to share the facts of this book, will be tempted to use the facts to "talk down" to their audience because there's simply not enough character identification. This causes a problem when attempting to translate the facts and argumentative style to realistic conversations.
The book seems intentionally designed for those with short attention spans and self-described ADD. The facts are accurate, well presented, and the format does a good job engaging readers through material that would have been otherwise quite dry.
Two potential improvements to the book would be to include a chapter that would review communication techniques for politely sharing the book's information. Without this I would encourage readers close the back cover and pick up a copy of "Getting to Yes." Combining the information from "arguing" with good communication techniques like those outlined by Fisher and Ury, will likely lead to a more humane political conversation than would be had otherwise.
The second suggested improvement is to have the book available in spiral bounding, and with wider margins. Because the book has so many facts readers may want to have a spiral bound copy for easier reading. The ADD-oriented format does not exhaust all possible explanations for each topic, and there is little room to take notes on the side.
In Aruging With Idiots, each topic comprises a chapter, and appear in the following order:
- In Defense of Capitalism
- The Second Ammendment
- America's Energy Future
- Illegal Immigration
- The Nanny State
- Owning A Home
- Economics 101
- U.S. Presidents
- Universal Health Care
- The U.S. Constitution (Lost in Translation)
This book is not just ideal for those who have trouble articulating themselves (and many conservatives do), but it should be a staple and primary source for those who wish to be armed with the facts. The book makes a great gift, but being hardbound and 9"X8" it is not ideal for those who wish to carry a book in their pocket.