In our hyper-polarized social and political environment, many of us have come to believe that to argue is to be a bit of a jerk. Hey, that’s how all the politicians and talking heads do it. They raise their voices, they interrupt, they condescend—all to make their point and prove their superiority.
But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, we can argue in a way that’s productive, respectful, and maybe even enjoyable. To find out how, check out the five excellent new books below.
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I Never Thought of It That Way: How to Have Fearlessly Curious Conversations in Dangerously Divided Times
By Mónica Guzmán
In this timely, personal guide, the chief storyteller for the national cross-partisan depolarization organization Braver Angels, takes you to the real front lines of a crisis that threatens to grind America to a halt—broken conversations among confounded people. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Mónica Guzmán, in the Next Big Idea App
Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard
By Bo Seo
A two-time world champion debater and former coach of the Harvard debate team tells the inspiring story of his life in competitive debating, and reveals the timeless secrets of effective communication and persuasion. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Bo Seo, in the Next Big Idea App
Let’s Talk About Hard Things
By Anna Sale
Diving into five of the most fraught conversation topics—death, sex, money, family, and identity—the host of an award-winning podcast shows why having tough conversations is important, and how to do them in a thoughtful and generous way. Listen to our conversation with author Anna Sale
How to Talk to Your Boss About Race: Speaking Up Without Getting Shut Down
By Y-Vonne Hutchinson
A diversity and inclusion strategist equips employees with a framework to think about race at work, prepares them to have frank and effective conversations with more powerful leaders, helps them center marginalized perspectives, and explains how to leverage power dynamics to get results while navigating backlash and gaslighting. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Y-Vonne Hutchinson, in the Next Big Idea App
How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason
By Lee McIntyre
A philosopher of science offers tools and techniques for communicating the truth and values of science, emphasizing that the most important way to reach science deniers is to talk to them calmly and respectfully—to put ourselves out there, and meet them face to face. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Lee McIntyre, in the Next Big Idea App
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