I do not seek applause, nor to amuse the people, I want to convince them.” —Abraham Lincoln
On January 1, 2012, Macabbee's Deli in Des Moines, shortly before the Iowa Caucus, this happened:
Photograph by Dr. Alan Koslow
Newt Gingrich walked in three minutes early. That is unheard of. Bill Clinton used to be at least two hours late (at least when I saw him). Other candidates average at least 30 minutes late.
The Speaker started shaking hands, maybe three seconds a person. I was about the fourth person he shook hands with. I thanked him for his clarity on the middle east, then told him I wanted to give him a copy of a book about Lincoln that I co-authored, pulling it out as I talked. He looked at the cover, and asked, "Is this the book on Lincoln and geometry?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I have the book on my Kindle. It completely changed the way I give speeches." He said he would accept the book only if I endorsed it. I opened the book to the already endorsed title page.
The Writers and the President
The six elements explained in a straightforward, interesting manner: Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, and the Structure of Reason
The President began using the technique within weeks after receiving Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason. The Obama book documents President Obama's adoption of the technique.
Virtual Booksigning at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago
Dan Weinberg (The Abraham Lincoln Bookshop): “You’re finding Lincoln, then, as an exemplar of oratory, as a teaching tool. Is this a how to book?”
David Hirsch: “It’s definitely a how to book, it's a detective story, but it has application, I think, to every human being, not only people who want to argue persuasively, but people who want, who need, and we all do, to detect when someone is cheating in their argument.”
Bill Funchion, an adjunct instructor in English, emailed this message to a group after listening to Dan Van Haften's presentation at Waubonsee Coummunity College:
Dan Van Haften, co-author of Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, gave a scholarly and priceless presentation at Waubonsee Community College last night.
Persuasive communication is both complex and powerful. Those who wish to become persuasive communicators should contact him. He may be the most knowledgeable communicator that I have ever met. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
All best wishes,
Using Lincoln's method will not enable everyone to deliver a Gettysburg Address. For one thing, not everyone has the opportunity. But the technique can make it easy to organize an oral presentation. Dan Van Haften used the technique in a short presentation to a subcommittee of the Batavia City Council, and to the Kane County Board.
It helps to be on the "right side" of an issue. But if the issue is close, Lincoln's technique has its greatest impact. Lincoln's technique also helps avoid silly structural mistakes that needlessly reduce an argument's force.
Stephen Colbert Nails It!
Purchase Structure of Reason books.
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