Mehdi Hasan is one of the most formidable debaters and interviewers of our times, famous on both sides of the Atlantic for the hard-hitting exchanges he conducts with politicians on his MSNBC television show. And in March 2023 he came to the Intelligence Squared stage in London to reveal his tips and techniques of persuasion, which he sets out in his new book Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking.
As Hasan points out, there is no escaping arguments. Whether on Twitter, in Parliament or at the dinner table, we all feel the very human urge to voice our disagreement. Arguing itself often gets a bad rap and is blamed for everything from political polarisation to marital breakdown. But as Hasan contends, debate and argument are the very lifeblood of democracy. They are a means of establishing the truth, of opening our minds to new ideas and of working our way through problems. We just need to get better at them.
Taking us from Demosthenes to Churchill, from Cicero to Martin Luther King, Tony Blair and Elizabeth Warren, Hasan showed the importance of the art of persuasion throughout history and explain how we can all master this vital skill.