by Luke Setzer
(Note: This summary is a verbatim excerpt from the book.)
THE LOCK: I need something more concrete. Give me rules. Give me a formula. This is who
I am--a formula person.
THE KEY: All right. Here are the ten elements that make up the great power argument.
- Prepare. Prepare until we have become the argument. Prepare until
you know every scale on the hide of the fish. Having
prepared, next understand that good preparation is like writing a script for a screenplay.
Proper preparation requires one to tell the story and to assign roles to the parties.
your side as the good guys, as the side chat is unjustly accused, wrongly despised,
gravely misunderstood. Cast your side as the underdog. And, when those for whom we argue
cannot wear the white hat, argue their case from inside their hides.
- Open the Other to receive your argument. You have already learned how: empower
the other to receive or reject your argument.
- Give the argument in the form of story. As we have seen, we are genetic
storytellers and listeners to stories. Remember, fables, allegories, and parables are the
traditional tools of successful argument. Every movie, every soap, every sitcom, most
lyrics in popular songs, all operas and plays, most successful television commercials are
in story form. So do not forget what you have learned already: jurors, the boss, the
family, the Other are conditioned to listen to stories.
- Tell the truth. With ordinary words you have learned the incredible power of
credibility. Being who you are is powerful. Saying how you feel is powerful.
To be open
and real and afraid, if you are afraid, is powerful. The power argument begins and ends by
telling the truth. Truth is power.
- Tell the Other what you want. If you are arguing before a jury for money,
ask for money. If you leave the Other to guess what you want, their guessing may be
wrong, and guessing spoils your credibility. Remember the
power of justice. Jurors will circumvent the law to mete out justice.
People will break
the law to obtain justice. People will die in wars to win it.
People can live without food
or shelter or love. This is a species that can bear every kind and character of pain
except one pain--the pain of injustice. Discover the natural justice of your argument and
ask for it--demand it.
- Avoid sarcasm, scorn, and ridicule. Use humor cautiously.
Hold back insult. No
one admires the cynic, the scoffer, the mocker, the small, and the petty.
to ones opponent elevates us. Those who insult and slight do so from low places.
Respect is reciprocal. The employment
of humor can be the most devastating of all weapons in an argument.
Humor is omnipotent
when it reveals the truth. But beware: attempting to be funny and failing is one of the
most dangerous of all strategies.
- Logic is power. If logic is on your side, ride it--ride it all the way.
is not on your side, if logic leads to an unjust result, it will have no power.
Butler said, "Logic is like the sword--those who appeal to it shall perish by
it." Logic does not
always lead to truth or justice. Logic defeats spontaneity. Logic is often dull and is
more comfortable with the dead, for it is often without spirit. Do not give up
creativity for logic. However, the creative mind will soon see that creativity is often
served by logic.
- Action and winning are brothers. The worst of head-on attacks is often better
than the most sophisticated defense. Never permit your opponent to take control.
defend when you can attack. Counterpunching is for boxers, and counterpunchers most often
lose. The great champions of the world take control. The great generals attack first, and
attack again. Take the initiative. Do something. But with those we love, the best
attack is often to attack with love, and, as we shall see, winning is often accomplished
by the art of losing.
- Admit at the outset the weak points in your argument. You can expose
your weaknesses in a better light than your opponent, who will expose them in the darkest
possible way. An honest admission, having come from you, not only endows you with
credibility, it also leaves your opponent with nothing to say except what you have already
- Understand your power. Give yourself permission--only to win.
arrogance, insolence, and stupidity are close relatives.
Take the winning stance. Turn on the Magical Argument. Open up and let the magic
out. Trust it. Take the risk. Jump.