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*A Book Review*

How To Argue And Win Every Time

By Gerry Spence

by Michael C. Gray

September 30, 2000

Gerry Spence is an attorney from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, who has handled some very high-profile cases, including the Karen Silkwood trial, basis of the movie, "Silkwood." His whole life and his livelihood depend upon successfully arguing on behalf of his clients. At the time he published this book in 1995, Mr. Spence had a remarkable record of never losing a criminal trial. It's appropriate, then, that Mr. Spence has developed a personal philosophy of argument that he shares in this book.

There are two main concepts that Mr. Spence explains which any person can use to become more successful in business and in life.

First, to win an argument, exhaustive preparation is essential. The most prepared person will usually win. In the preparation process, you must thoroughly research and understand your case, and you must also thoroughly research and understand your opponent's position. You should know and understand the facts and arguments of your opponent better than he or she does.

Second, you must have a profound understanding of the thinking and emotions of the decision maker(s) - in his case, the jury. Your argument should be framed to harmonize with the decision makers' values, wants and needs. You must understand the prejudices of the jurors and address the built-in objections they may have to your arguments. You must help them to understand the motives of your client and identify with them as their own. In other words, empathize with the jurors and help them empathize with your client.

Mr. Spence emphasizes that, in order for the jurors to believe your arguments, you must argue from your own sincere belief. You also have to talk to them in their own language, treat them with respect and relate with them so they can relate back to you. If you act superior to them, you will probably make them your enemies and never gain their trust.

Mr. Spence says that, in your personal relationships, you may find the only way to win an argument is to lose. If the only way to win your point is to destroy the relationship, you may find it's better to concede.

I particularly enjoyed reading How To Argue And Win Every Time because of the insights Gerry Spence shared about himself, including his prejudicial dislike of corporate executives.

Studying How To Argue And Win Every Time can help you in your personal relationships, in personal selling and in writing advertising. It should be required reading for aspiring lawyers and highly recommended for anyone else.

Buy it on Amazon: How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday.

For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!

How To Argue And Win Every Time, by Gerry Spence, explains a philosophy of argument that can improve your personal relationships, selling, and advertising.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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