Argument 101

No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it’s unlikely that you can escape argument. In a time where discussions dissolve into shouting matches IN ALL CAPS in comment sections, and “facts” are hotly contested on all sides, knowing how to effectively craft an argument can mean the difference between participating in intelligent debate, or walking away frustrated.

As you scroll through your newsfeed, here are a few tips from The Joy of Argument to help as you argue your way through the day. Feel free to share with anyone you encounter who could use a brush-up on his or her argument skills.

  1. Ignore Things That Don’t Matter. Trying to persuade by attacking the other person personally, by appealing to what “most” other people think, or by instilling fear are a few of many examples of irrelevancy. Discussing things that are irrelevant to an argument is the same as changing the subject of the argument. Don’t be distracted, discouraged, or persuaded by the infinite number of things that simply don’t matter. 
  2. Are the Numbers Accurate? Statistics can be very persuasive because they’re measurable. They create a sense of objectivity because they’re based on math. Two plus two equals four. Who can argue with that? So people cite numbers for everything you can imagine. But sometimes people cite numbers that are not accurate. Or it’s unclear exactly what the numbers measure. Dig to find out what the number really measures, and if it’s reasonably accurate. 
  3. Answer the Question! If you ask a relevant question you deserve a relevant answer. But you won’t always get one. You might get an answer, perhaps a very long answer, and it may sound impressive, spoken with great passion and sincerity. It just won’t answer your question. So listen carefully, and make sure you get a relevant answer to your question–not a runaround, another question as an answer, or a claim of misunderstanding.
  4. Don’t Put on Blinders. “I don’t care what you say. I’m not going to change my mind.” Sometimes people get so caught up in their argument that they ignore any new facts, evidence, or reasons that go against their arguments. At this point, your goal is not so much to seek agreement; you just want to know if the other person is rational and open-minded. If the person says there is no fact, evidence or reason that would change his or her mind, give up. When a person’s mind is made up you might as well move on to something else. But in your own arguments, remember–don’t ignore new information; at least consider it.
  5. Two-Second Logic Test. Here’s a quick, simple and often effective test. Someone makes an argument that something is good or bad. For example, “Homosexuality should be illegal because it is unnatural.” Replace the key term, “homosexuality,” with something the other person accepts should be legal, like anesthesia. “So would you argue that anesthesia should be illegal, because it is unnatural?” You immediately undercut the heart of the argument that something should be illegal solely because it is unnatural.

These five tips were taken from excerpts of The Joy of Argument by Albert Navarra. If you’d like to explore the book in its entirety, find it in paperback and e-book form on Amazon by clicking here. 

Contest Alert: Craft an Absurd Argument, Win $100

How NOT to argue.

The Joy of Argument was written to help the everyday arguer hone their debate skills and create better discourse. Now there’s an opportunity for you to put these skills to the test, and possibly win $100.

Albert Navarra, author of The Joy of Argument, is sponsoring Columbus Creative Cooperative’s latest flash essay contest. Submit the most well-crafted argument you can for the most absurd stance you can think of (in 2,500 characters or less).

Click here for contest rules and instructions for entering. 

Two essays will be selected from the pool of submissions, netting each author $100 in prize money. This contest is open to the public and free to enter.

Need help getting started? Let The Joy of Argument be your guide. Divided up into small, easily readable chapters, this book is a complete guide to argument from preparation to victory. So whether you’re trying to convince the judges of a flash essay contest that taxi drivers should all wear silly costumes, or you’re making a serious argument to stand up for what you believe in, knowing how to argue effectively is key in getting what you want.

Get a copy of The Joy of Argument for yourself here.

This flash essay contest is only open through July 15, so get your argument in while you can. Questions about the contest? Email the Columbus Creative Cooperative team at

Show Me the Facts!

Donald Trump recently accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias in a case involving civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University. Trump attempted to argue this perceived bias by stating, “He’s a Mexican.”

Trump’s rationale for this argument stems from his intentions to build a wall along the Mexico/United States border if he is elected president. His reasoning, then, was that Judge Curiel would take offense to Trump’s plan, and in retaliation levy harsher action against Trump in the Trump University lawsuits.

Trump’s argument is a classic case of appealing to emotions rather than facts and reason. Judge Curiel was born in Indiana, thus rendering Trump’s “Mexican” statement factually inaccurate. If Trump wanted to prove judicial bias he would need to offer some evidence of bias, other than ancestry.

An argument is only as strong as the facts upon which it is based. Don’t be distracted by statements like Trump’s, designed to illicit a knee-jerk reaction while disregarding the truth of the situation.

You can combat debate tactics designed to appeal to emotions over facts by cutting through fallacious statements and trigger words. The Joy of Argument can help. Learning how to craft a strong argument is the first step in being able to quickly recognize and disarm a weak one. Whether you’re a professional who uses argument every day, or an everyday person just trying to navigate a plethora of opinions, this book is your guide to getting more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

Learn more about The Joy of Argument here.

Goodreads Giveaway

There’s a compelling argument to be made for entering this Goodreads giveaway. We’ve stated our case below:

  • It’s free, quick and easy to enter with no strings attached
  • You have a shot at one of five paperback copies of The Joy of Argument (arguably, a great read)
  • The Joy of Argument retails for $14.95
  • The giveaway is only open for a limited time

Convinced? Click here to enter the giveaway.

The Joy of Argument is a compact guide to getting what you want through intelligent discourse. In the age of social media, we’re constantly being bombarded with the opinions of others. Albert Navarra’s book offers expert advice to help you craft arguments to get your point across, while disarming and dissuading even the loudest opponent.

Good luck in the giveaway, and happy reading!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Joy of Argument by Albert Navarra

The Joy of Argument

by Albert Navarra

Giveaway ends May 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Focus on What Matters

“When you think about your argument, you may realize there is a universe of information Joy of Argument Albert Navarrathat is completely irrelevant to your argument. So an important part of good reasoning is ferreting out facts and points that may initially seem relevant or enticing, but in reality do not matter one bit. Trying to persuade by attacking the other person personally, by appealing to what ‘most’ other people think, or by instilling fear are a few of many examples of irrelevancy that we will cover in this book. In essence, discussing things that are irrelevant to an argument is the same as changing the subject of the argument and arguing about something else. ”

The Joy of Argument, pg. 59

Stay focused.

It’s easy to become distracted by irrelevant information–whether you’re sidetracking yourself, or your opponent is barraging you with facts and figures that simply don’t matter. It takes practice, but a skilled arguer can learn to move past extraneous points, without getting pulled into time-wasting tangents.

Don’t waste your time.

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the multitude of information that may be hiding the important parts of an argument. Find out early on what matters most about your argument, and don’t let anything distract you from those key points as you build and argue your case.

Don’t be distracted, discouraged or persuaded by the infinite number of things that simply don’t matter.

If you’re interested in learning more about using argument, check out The Joy of Argument here. 

The Joy of Argument Gift Guide

Argument is a holiday pastime practiced by thousands of Americans. Each year we gather in tiny, tinseled living rooms across the country to debate our differences with those we love the most.

In the spirit of Christmas cheer and familial debate, we’ve created a list of seven people who should be receiving The Joy of Argument under the tree:

  1. Your Great Uncle Barry, camped out in the recliner, yelling through every political show…and then the news, and then Jeopardy.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Don’t insult” and “When not to argue”
  2. Your college freshman cousin, treasurer of the intramural debate team, and full of confidence after earning a B- in statistics.
    • Bookmark chapters: “What do the numbers prove?” and “Show me the facts!” 
  3.  Your wildly inappropriate Uncle Larry, who meets you at the door every year with a slap on the back and a dirty joke.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Hot words” and “Don’t nauseate people”
  4. Whichever relative has most recently compared their own walk of life (uphill both ways), to the free ride of your generation.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Challenge authorities” and “Don’t assume the traditional way”
  5. Your kid brother who’s looking for payback now that he’s gone through puberty.
    • Bookmark chapters: “An argument is not a fight” and “Attack arguments, not people”
  6. Your Aunt Nelly, who once knocked over an entire quart of eggnog while talking with her hands.
    • Bookmark chapters: “Nerves” and “Watch your body language”
  7. You. Christmas is coming.
    • See the chapter: “Get ready”

Don’t dissapoint your family this year. There’s still time to get The Joy of Argument in time for Christmas if you order now. Find it on here, and select two-day shipping.

Joy of Argument Albert Navarra

An Argument Is Not a Fight

For many people, the word “argument” brings to mind a fight between two red-faced individuals, voices raised, profanity flying, blood pressure stats off the charts.

But an argument is not a fight.


noun, ar·gu·men·ta·tion \ˌär-gyə-mən-ˈtā-shən,

the act or process of forming reasons and of drawing conclusions and applying them to a case in discussion


Argument is not a destructive method of conflict, but a tool we can use to express our opinions. Rather than a battle designed to wound pride and fracture relationships, a well-crafted argument can be used to communicate effectively, rationally and persuasively. Through good argument, the best ideas and opinions (eventually) surface and prevail.

Yet despite all the benefits of argument, few possess the ability to wield this powerful tool to their advantage. Examples of bad argument are everywhere — take a quick glance at the news, any political outlet, or the comment section on a social media post. Learning to argue well, instead of picking a fight, is a skill that takes knowledge and self-control.

The Joy of Argument was written to educate individuals who are tired of combative rhetoric, angry confrontation and purposeless fighting.  Simple enough for the everyday arguer, yet relevant for those using discourse professionally,  this book empowers its readers to be excellent arguers in an age of pointless bickering.

Argument is a part of your everyday life, and worth doing well. To learn more about The Joy of Argument click here.

The Importance of Argument

Ernest Hemingway said, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” What does “the world” mean? It could be macro issues, for example, human rights, social and economic policies, and international peace and prosperity. If you care about these issues, they are certainly worth promoting through sound argument. But “the world” can also mean your world, in an individual sense–for example, your health, your work, and your relationships. These issues affect you differently and are worth improving through sound argument. So when you think about it, there are as many reasons to argue as there are reasons to live. Your life itself is an argument, a statement of your beliefs and values, and what is important to you. 

–The Joy of Argument, (Boyle & Dalton, 2015)

Argument is a tool we can use to exercise our freedom of speech. We express ideas, opinions, problems and solutions through argument with the intention to make society better. Within this “marketplace of ideas,” the best ideas will eventually rise to the top, and good argument allows this to happen faster.

When you understand how to effectively argue, you can use argument as a tool to better your life, expand your world view (and the views of others), and on a basic level, communicate more effectively. You can cut through irrational, emotional and irrelevant arguments and emerge victorious, leaving you to celebrate the triumph of truth.

But argument is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to many people. Arguments that are too complicated will result in confusion. Arguments that are founded in emotion, often result in conflict. Without properly preparing yourself for an argument, your chance at accomplishing anything through discourse is slim.

The Joy of Argument by Albert Navarra was written to help the everyday arguer, as well as professionals, become experts at argument. This book breaks down argument strategies and best practices into easily usable bits of information for a fast, worthwhile read. From body language, to hot words, from leading questions to recognizing victory, The Joy of Argument covers all stages of argument from preparation to practice.

To start learning how to use argument to get what you want, pick up a copy of The Joy of Argument here. 

If you are a reviewer, blogger, or member of the press, you’re welcome to contact us here to request a review copy of this book. 

New Book Review by Joseph Downing — Attorney and Author

Joseph Downing is a practicing attorney in Ohio, as well as the author of The Abundant Bohemian. He recently read The Joy of Argument, and provided the following review:

“With precision and clarity, Albert Navarra proves that argument does not need to be a damaging expression of conflict, but a powerful tool to express ourselves confidently, to achieve our goals, and to open up communication with others in a positive way. Navarra knows his subject and provides easy to understand, simple tools that anyone can benefit from.”

In an age where we are flooded with the opinions of others, it’s more important than ever to clearly, intelligently and respectfully state your case. The Joy of Argument is perfect for those who use discourse in their professional lives, or for anyone who wants to become a more effective communicator.

Find The Joy of Argument for sale here, or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.

Interested in providing your own review of The Joy of Argument? Contact us here.

The Joy of Argument Reviewed by Kirkus

The Joy of Argument recently received a positive review from Kirkus. Read the review in itskirkus entirety below, and then pick up a copy of The Joy of Argument here. When you’ve finished reading, leave us your own review on or

This well-crafted, lively book offers a plethora of ways to improve the art of arguing.

“An argument…is a rational discussion in which you prove a point with reasons,” writes attorney Navarra (The Elements of Constitutional Law, 2011). Each brief chapter in this book is peppered with advice, and each is summarized in “The Key,” a one-sentence conclusion. Some of the tips seem self-evident; in “Pick Winners,” for example, Navarra advises, “Choosing the stronger argument increases your chances of winning the argument. But more than that, better arguments make things better.” Other chapters, such as “The Other Side of the Coin,” are somewhat more illuminating; arguments are stronger, the author writes, if they include a counterargument: “Thinking about new counterpoints will elevate your arguing skills to an extremely high level. This is one of the skills that separate the best arguers from the rest.” In “What Will Victory Look Like?,” the author offers a lucid explanation, with examples, of the difference between deductive and inductive arguments. Much of this book’s advice, though, is almost entirely revealed in its chapter titles, such as “Be Open-Minded,” “Watch Your Body Language,” and “Attack Arguments, Not People.” The result may be that some readers find it superficial and lightweight. However, if the author’s intent is to present his topic in supremely understandable terms, he pushes such simplicity to new heights. Navarra writes effortlessly and with total clarity, which will make the book breezy and enjoyable for many readers. In addition, his advice broadly applies to everyday interactions as well, and is often really about effectively communicating with others. Overall, this celebration of sound argument’s pithy remarks, lean sentences, and short chapters make it eminently readable.

A decidedly simple guide to argument, written with understated style.

If you are a reviewer or blogger who is interested in reviewing this compact guide to argument, contact us here.