How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

by Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay

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Overview

"This is a self-help book on how to argue effectively, conciliate, and gently persuade. The authors admit to getting it wrong in their own past conversations. One by one, I recognize the same mistakes in me. The world would be a better place if everyone read this book." — Richard Dawkins, author of Science in the Soul and Outgrowing God

In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion. Whether you're online, in a classroom, an office, a town hall — or just hoping to get through a family dinner with a stubborn relative — dialogue shuts down when perspectives clash. Heated debates often lead to insults and shaming, blocking any possibility of productive discourse. Everyone seems to be on a hair trigger.

In How to Have Impossible Conversations, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay guide you through the straightforward, practical, conversational techniques necessary for every successful conversation — whether the issue is climate change, religious faith, gender identity, race, poverty, immigration, or gun control. Boghossian and Lindsay teach the subtle art of instilling doubts and opening minds. They cover everything from learning the fundamentals for good conversations to achieving expert-level techniques to deal with hardliners and extremists. This book is the manual everyone needs to foster a climate of civility, connection, and empathy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738285320
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 49,909
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Peter Boghossian is a full time faculty member in the philosophy department at Portland State University and an affiliated faculty member at Oregon Health Science University in the Division of General Internal Medicine. He is a national speaker for the Center of Inquiry and an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. He is the author of A Manual for Creating Atheists. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

James Lindsay holds degrees in physics and mathematics, with a doctorate in the latter. He has authored two previous books: Everybody is Wrong about God and Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Table of Contents

1 When Conversations Seem impossible 1

2 The Seven Fundamentals of Good Conversations 9

3 Beginner Level: Nine Ways to Start Changing Minds 33

4 Intermediate Level: Seven Ways to Improve Your Interventions 71

5 Five Advanced Skills for Contentious Conversations 95

6 Six Expert Skills to Engage the Close-Minded 131

7 Master Level: Two Keys to Conversing with Ideologues 157

8 Conclusion 179

Acknowledgments 181

Notes 183

Bibliography 221

Index 235

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