Two-time world debating champion, Bo Seo was in conversation with Andrew Leigh on Bo's new book, Good Arguments, which reveals the timeless secrets of effective communication and persuasion, at a time when every disagreement turns toxic.
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 year five, something happened to change his life: he was introduced to debating. Debating was the perfect activity for someone shy and unsure of himself. Bo went on to win world titles with the Australian schools and Harvard University teams.
Good Arguments shares insights from debating to teach readers how they might better communicate with friends, family and colleagues. Touching on everything from the radical politics of Malcom X to Artificial Intelligence, Seo proves that, far from being a source of conflict, good-faith debate can enrich our daily lives. Indeed, these good arguments are more important than ever at time when bad faith is all around, and our democracy seems so imperilled.
'In a world increasingly rent by division within and between nations, Bo Seo's lucid and humane search for "better ways to disagree" could not be more timely or valuable.' - Kevin Rudd.
'Good Arguments is an antidote to spin, fake news, "political correctness" and plain muddled thinking. Bo Seo teaches us how to listen and to be heard in both a healthy democracy and around the kitchen table' Gillian Triggs
In 'this excellent book Bo Seo argues that debate is central to human freedom even as our world faces dramatic challenges for human survival. Distinguishing 'good arguments' from unconvincing rubbish, has never been more central to human survival and to achieving love for one another'- Michael Kirby
Bo Seo, who has won both the World Schools Debating Championship and the World Universities Debating Championship, 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 panellist on 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.
Dr Andrew Leigh MP is the Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT and Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. Before being elected in 2010, he was a Professor of Economics at the ANU. His latest book is What's the Worst That Could Happen? Existential Risk and Extreme Politics.
Associate Professor Wayne Morgan and Associate Dean (Education) ANU College of Law will give the vote of thanks.
This event was in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop.