Jay Heinrichs is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion.” As a persuasion and conflict consultant, he has conducted influence strategy and training for clients as varied as Kaiser Permanente, Harvard, Professional Speechwriters Association, the Pentagon, and NASA.
Inspiration to write books
In a section of semi-abandoned books of a library, Jay found a thick book with notes handwritten by John Quincy Adams (6th President of the USA) who recommended to his students a long list of books about rhetoric and persuasion. During many years Jay read everything John Quincy Adams recommended. Since Jay became a persuasion expert, he has written three books. “Thank You for Arguing” has had immense international success and has become the de facto book on rhetoric for high schools students in the USA. It was followed by “Word Hero.” For his very latest book “How to Argue with a Cat” Jay partnered with illustrator Natalie Palmer-Sutton which converted the book in a non-conventional artwork.
Persuasion lessons from cats and pop culture
While writing the book “Thank You for Arguing” Jay struggled to find real and engaging examples of rhetorical logic that would not bore the readers, and to explain concepts such as fallacy. Jay’s son suggested to watch The Simpson on TV, and that was where he found numerous examples as Simpsons’ humor is largely based on fallacies.
From the book How to Argue with a CAT, Jay shared three ideas with us:
- When people disagree, the one who generally wins is the one who seems to be arguing less.
- Posture is extremely important, and cats have amazing posture. The eyes are the windows to the soul.
- Cats are extraordinary at fitting in small places, they can squeeze in any box. Your success depends on your ability to convince your audience that you fit in. The cat changes itself, and that’s what you need to do with your audience.
Related: Business Rhetoric
“We shape our houses and then they shape us.” — Winston Churchill
* The quote was written as a “chiasmus” figure of speech
These Truths by Jill Lepore
Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett
Routine to Shine
Get up early 4:30am and do your best work before the distractions start.
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