Top positive review
Successful Communication a Lawyer’s Perspective
Reviewed in the United States on July 1, 2016
This book is not about how to set up a winning argument providing the best evidence and the best logical case. It is about getting what you want as you communicate with others. People are emotional beings that focus not just on weighing the presented evidence. People have self interests, they are prejudiced, there are emotions and desires, group associations, and then there’s body language, and to get what you want they have to like you, etc. When you argue a case in court, or at home or at work, or to any group of people, you have to consider all of that.
Very briefly; you have to prepare, you have to listen to the other, you have to understand the other, find common ground, and you have to be credible. Therefore you should not avoid emotions and your argument should be personal, and you must always be truthful. Our argument cannot be perceived as a threat or we will never be heard, and assault is not argument. He discusses how to deal with prejudice and hostility and tells us that sometimes losing is winning and sometimes an argument shouldn’t be made at all. He also mentions that telling personal stories is a good way of getting people to see things your way. In addition to advice and guidelines there’s also quite a bit of wisdom and personal opinions, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t agree with.
One thing I object to is that he sometimes overextends his perspective. For example, there are arguments, or communications, which should avoid emotions and for which the people involved and even their perceived credibility should not matter. I am talking about peer review in natural science and mathematical discourse, which I see as the best path towards “truth”. In that case only the evidence matter and the data and mathematical derivations speak for itself. However, that is outside of his expertise, like so much else that is outside of his expertise. That’s why I titled my review “A Lawyer’s Perspective”.
That does not mean it is not a good book. The book is filled with useful insights and I learned a lot from the book. One of the things I learned from this book is that if I know a lot about a subject and I am arguing with someone who’s very misinformed but stubborn I must resist the temptation to be patronizing, or to crush them. My goal should be to inform them, not to make them hate me. That was just one of many examples of what I’ve learned reading this book. I highly recommend this book.