Virtual Event: Bo Seo

presenting

Good Arguments:
How Debate Teaches Us
to Listen and Be Heard

in conversation with DEREK THOMPSON

Date

Sep
23
Friday
September 23, 2022
12:00 PM ET

Location

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.

Tickets

Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store and the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics welcome award-winning and two-time world champion debater BO SEO for a discussion of his book Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard. He will be joined in conversation by senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, DEREK THOMPSON.

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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by pre-ordering a copy of Good Arguments on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

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About Good Arguments

When Bo Seo was 8 years old, he and his family migrated from Korea to Australia. At the time, he did not speak English, and, unsurprisingly, struggled at school. But, then, in fifth grade, something happened to change his life: he discovered competitive debate. Immediately, he was hooked. It turned out, perhaps counterintuitively, that debating was the perfect activity for someone shy and unsure of himself. It became a way for Bo not only to find his voice, but to excel socially and academically. And he’s not the only one. Far from it: presidents, Supreme Court justices, and CEOs are all disproportionally debaters. This is hardly a coincidence. By tracing his own journey from immigrant kid to world champion, Seo shows how the skills of debating—information gathering, truth finding, lucidity, organization, and persuasion—are often the cornerstone of successful careers and happy lives.

Drawing insights from its strategies, structure, and history, Seo teaches readers the skills of competitive debate, and in doing so shows how they can improve their communication with friends, family, and colleagues alike. He takes readers on a thrilling intellectual adventure into the eccentric and brilliant subculture of competitive debate, touching on everything from the radical politics of Malcom X to Artificial Intelligence. Seo proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, far from being a source of conflict, good-faith debate can enrich our daily lives. Indeed, these good arguments are essential to a flourishing democracy, and are more important than ever at time when bad faith is all around, and our democracy seems so imperiled.

Praise for Good Arguments

“Bo Seo pulls off the hat trick of persuasion, combining crisp logic, a compelling story, and a likeable, trustworthy narrator. While his book will turn the shyest introvert into a wannabe debater, it makes a compelling argument of its own: that civil disagreement can save our troubled civilization.” —Jay Heinrichs, New York Times bestselling author of Thank You for Arguing

“At a time of polarization and rage, we all need to learn how to disagree well—and this important, compelling and wise book should be at the heart of how we do so.” —Johann Hari, New York Times bestselling author of Stolen Focus and Lost Connections

“This is not just the electrifying tale of how Bo Seo won two world debate championships. It’s also a user manual for our polarized world. I can’t think of a more vital resource for learning to sharpen your critical thinking, accelerate your rethinking, and hone your ability to open other people’s minds. Good Arguments is the rare book that has the potential to make you smarter—and everyone around you wiser.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

Bo Seo
Bo Seo

Bo Seo

Bo Seo is a two-time world champion debater and a former coach of the Australian national debating team and the Harvard College Debating Union. One of the most recognized figures in the global debate community, he has won both the World Schools Debating Championship and the World Universities Debating Championship. Bo has written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, and many other publications. He has worked as a national reporter for the Australian Financial Review and has been a regular panelist on the prime time Australian debate program, The Drum. Bo graduated from Harvard University and received a master’s degree in public policy from Tsinghua University. He is currently a Juris Doctor candidate at Harvard Law School.

Photo Credit: Jonah Hahn

Derek Thompson
Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes about economics and the media. He is a regular contributor to NPR's "Here and Now" and appears frequently on television, including CBS and MSNBC.

Photo Credit: Emersson Barillas

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Ethics in Your World

The “Ethics in Your World” series, presented with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, features leading thinkers taking on tough problems that matter to us all. Learn more about the Safra Center at ethics.harvard.edu.

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