In his 1936 work How to Win Friends and Influence People, now one of the bestselling books of all time, Dale Carnegie wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument — and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.” This aversion to arguments is common, but it depends on a mistaken view of arguments that causes profound problems for our personal and social lives — and in many ways misses the point of arguing in the first place.

Carnegie would be right if arguments were fights, which is how we often think of them. Like physical fights, verbal fights can leave both sides bloodied. Even when… Read More.