Episode 255 - James Lindsay, How to Have Impossible Conversations
James is the founder and president of New Discourses, an educational resources platform designed to break down the barriers to effective communication and understanding in our highly polarized cultural landscape. He is the author of six books, most recently How to Have Impossible Conversations, with Peter Boghossian, and the forthcoming Cynical Theories, with Helen Pluckrose. He is best known for his participation in the Grievance Studies Affair, which received international attention and headlined in newspapers around the world, including on the front page of the New York Times. He has a PhD is in mathematics and is a vigorous critic of critical theories in all their manifestations. His essays have appeared in many major venues, including the New York Times, LA Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, Scientific American, and the Philosopher's Magazine.
"This is a self-help book on how to argue effectively, conciliate, and gently persuade. The authors admit to getting it wrong in their own past conversations. One by one, I recognize the same mistakes in me. The world would be a better place if everyone read this book." -- Richard Dawkins, author of Science in the Soul and Outgrowing God
In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion. Whether you're online, in a classroom, an office, a town hall -- or just hoping to get through a family dinner with a stubborn relative -- dialogue shuts down when perspectives clash. Heated debates often lead to insults and shaming, blocking any possibility of productive discourse. Everyone seems to be on a hair trigger.
In How to Have Impossible Conversations, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay guide you through the straightforward, practical, conversational techniques necessary for every successful conversation -- whether the issue is climate change, religious faith, gender identity, race, poverty, immigration, or gun control. Boghossian and Lindsay teach the subtle art of instilling doubts and opening minds. They cover everything from learning the fundamentals for good conversations to achieving expert-level techniques to deal with hardliners and extremists. This book is the manual everyone needs to foster a climate of civility, connection, and empathy."