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The Art of Disagreeing Well: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard

By Bo Seo

‘Electrifying … A user manual for our polarized world’ Adam Grant, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Think Again

‘Important, compelling and wise’ Johann Hari, Sunday Times-bestselling author of Stolen Focus

Everyone debates, in some form, most days. Sometimes we do it to persuade; other times to learn, discover a truth, or simply to express something about ourselves. We argue to defend ourselves, our work, and our loved ones from external threat. We do it to get our way, or just to get ahead.

As a two-time debating world champion, Bo has made a career out of arguing. Over the past few years, however, he’s noticed how we’re not only arguing more and more, but getting worse at it – a fact proven by our polarised politics. By tracing his own journey from immigrant kid to world champion, as well as those of illustrious participants in the sport such as Malcolm X, Edmund Burke and Sally Rooney, Seo shows how the skills of debating – information gathering, truth finding, lucidity, organization, and persuasion – are often the cornerstone of successful careers and happy lives. Along the way, he provides the reader with an unforgettable toolkit to use debate as a means to improve their own.

This book is an everyperson’s guide to disagreeing well, so that the outcome of having had an argument is better than not having it at all. Taking readers on a thrilling intellectual adventure into the eccentric and brilliant subculture of competitive debate, The Art of Disagreeing Well proves that good-faith debate can enrich and improve our lives, friendships, democracies and in the process, our world.

Author: Bo Seo
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: 07 Jun 2022
Pages: 352
ISBN: 978-0-00-849866-5
Price: £14.99 (Export Price) , £14.99
Bo Seo is a two-time world champion debater and a former coach of the Australian national debating team and the Harvard College Debating Union. One of the most recognized figures in the global debate community, he has won both the World Schools Debating Championship and the World Universities Debating Championship. Bo has written for The New York Times, the Atlantic, CNN, and many other publications. Currently, he is a juris doctor candidate at Harvard Law School.

”'At a time of polarisation and rage, we all need to learn how to disagree well” - and this important, compelling and wise book should be at the heart of how we do so’Johann Hari, Sunday Times-bestselling author of Stolen Focus and Lost Connections

”'This is not just the electrifying tale of how Bo Seo won two world debate championships. It’s also a user manual for our polarized world. I can’t think of a more vital resource for learning to sharpen your critical thinking, accelerate your rethinking, and hone your ability to open other people’s minds. The Art of Disagreeing Well is the rare book that has the potential to make you smarter” - and everyone around you wiser’Adam Grant, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Think Again and host of the podcast WorkLife

‘A thoughtful, instructive and eloquent meditation on the art of debate and why its central pillars—fact-finding, reason, persuasion and listening to opponents—are so valuable in today’s alarming ecosystem of misinformation and extreme emotion’Michiko Kakutani, New York Times-bestselling author of Ex Libris and The Death of Truth -

”'Seo’s lucid and humane search for 'better ways to disagree” - could not be more timely or valuable’Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and author of The Case for Courage

‘Bo Seo pulls off the hat trick of persuasion, combining crisp logic, a compelling story, and a likeable, trustworthy narrator … his book … makes a compelling argument of its own: that civil disagreement can save our troubled civilization’Jay Heinrichs, New York Times-bestselling author of Thank You for Arguing and How to Argue With a Cat -