Author:Albert Navarra

Publisher:Law Book Press

ISBN:Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63337-045-6

E-book ISBN: 978-1-63337-050-0

Since 1936, when Dale Carnegie published his seminal advisory on how to make friends and influence people, there has been no shortage of self-help books offering other means of doing the same, with the promise of a better life thrown in as a bonus.

The underlying premise of Albert Navarra’s book about how to and how not to argue is so unrelentingly wholesome as to make quibbles about aspects of the book certainly reluctant in the rendering and quite possibly irrelevant at the end of the day.

The premise in question lies in the supremacy of truth and reason over faith and emotion. Navarra skillfully applies these criteria to a myriad of circumstances in contemporary circumstances with enlightening results.

These applications are made in bite-size “chapters,” each ending with a pithy “key” often barely shorter than the preceding exposition. It all makes for a quick and breezy read.

I have long harbored the notion that lawyers are trained to think more clearly than laymen, and this book does absolutely nothing to dislodge this belief. Navarra’s obvious profession reveals itself not in nomenclature—reductio ad absurdum, non sequitur, etc. have all been translated—but the principles are there, well translated and illustrated in lay terms.

There is sometimes the feeling that the author does not press his points sufficiently. For example, his admirable chapter about the advantage of speaking over reading does not address the staggering effect that would be achieved by following his wise advice in certain situations. Can one imagine the cataclysmic effect that would be achieved if POTUS would mount the Congressional podium, set aside notes and electronic aids, and deliver the State of the Union address from his heart, if any? The press and public reaction would be sensational.

Also, there is an occasional lack of context for the author’s advice. To be sure, in certain circumstances, great effects can be achieved by silence. The pregnant pause and all that. Works wonderfully in court, in formal debates, and other controlled environments. But try it on TV where “dead time” is anathema. Also, many examples of the contradictory nature of clichés might have been given, e.g., absence makes the heart grow fonder/out of sight, out of mind;

As with any “self-help” book, there is a plethora of imperative sentences where the reader is incessantly directed to do certain things. Fortunately, Navarra’s commands are so wise that the reader doesn’t really mind being so regularly ordered about.