Thank You for Arguing

Thank You for Arguing Characters

Jay Heinrichs

The author and narrator of Thank You for Arguing, Jay Heinrichs is a successful consultant, author, and public speaker, and a lifelong lover of the art of rhetoric. In his book, Heinrichs tries to… (read full character analysis)

Aristotle

A famous ancient Greek philosopher, cited many times by Jay Heinrichs in the book. Aristotle was one of the founders of the art of rhetoric, and divided rhetoric into three forms of argumentation (forensic, deliberative… (read full character analysis)

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Ancient Roman orator and politician, often considered the greatest public speaker in Western history. Cicero was a key figure in the history of rhetoric: he pioneered countless persuasive techniques that speakers continue to use in… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
George Heinrichs
The adult son of Jay Heinrichs, who figures in many of Heinrichs’ examples of rhetorical technique.
Dorothy Heinrichs Sr.
The wife of Jay Heinrichs, who figures in many of Heinrichs’ examples of rhetorical technique.
Dorothy Heinrichs Jr.
The daughter of Jay Heinrichs, who figures in many of Heinrichs’ examples of rhetorical technique.
John Heinrichs
Brother of Jay Heinrichs.
Annie
Jay Heinrichs’ sister-in-law.
Saint Augustine
Writer, theologian, and a key figure in the history of Christianity, who used his extensive rhetorical training to convert thousands of pagans.
John Belushi
Actor who played a famous fictional character in the movie Animal House, cited by Jay Heinrichs as an example of someone who fails to establish his ethos by emphasizing his practical wisdom.
George W. Bush
43rd president of the United States, praised (only half-seriously) by Jay Heinrichs for his unique rhetorical flair.
Carlo
A likable Italian man who Jay Heinrichs meets during a trip to the Italian Riviera.
Cato
Ancient Roman politician and orator.
Prince Charles
English aristocrat.
Bill Clinton
42nd president of the United States.
Johnnie Cochran
Lawyer famous for defending O. J. Simpson in his 1994 murder trial.
Tim Cook
President of Apple.
Michael Dukakis
Democratic president candidate who lost to George H. W. Bush in the 1988 elections.
Eminem
Rapper and actor whose rap performance at the end of the movie 8 Mile is a masterpiece of decorum, in the sense that it creates a strong bond between Eminem and his audience.
Atticus Finch
Fictional character in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, cited by Jay Heinrichs as an example of someone who fails to establish his ethos by sharing values with his audience.
Gianni
A likable Italian man who Jay Heinrichs meets during a trip to the Italian Riviera.
Roger Goodell
Head of the NFL during the 2012 referee controversy.
Patrick Henry
Founding Father and orator, who borrowed his best-remembered line, “Give me liberty or give me death!” from a play about the ancient Roman politician Cato.
Sherlock Holmes
Fictional detective and a master of deductive logic.
Herbert Hoover
31st president of the United States, cited for his failure to prove his practical wisdom and ethos.
Greg House
Fictional doctor from the TV show House, and an exemplar of practical wisdom.
Steve Jobs
Founder and former president of Apple, notable for often refusing to apologize for his mistakes.
Kathy
A friend of Annie, and a staunch Republican.
President John F. Kennedy
35th president of the United States, remembered for his quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” one of the most famous and elegant uses of the rhetorical art of chiasmus.
John Kerry
Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2004, defeated by George W. Bush.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights hero and a master of kairos.
Abraham Lincoln
16th president of the United States, notable in Thank You for Arguing for his masterful rhetoric and his skillful manipulation of his audience.
Nelson Mandela
Renowned political dissident during the era of apartheid in South Africa, and eventual leader of South Africa.
John Marshall
Early Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Richard Nixon
37th president of the United States, cited as an example of someone who failed as a politican because he failed to establish his ethos by emphasizing his shared American values.
Barack Obama
44th president of the United States, praised by Jay Heinrichs for his first-rate rhetoric.
Quintilian
Ancient Roman rhetorician.
Donna Reed
Famous Hollywood actress who appeared alongside Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Jimmy Stewart
Famous Hollywood actor who appeared alongside Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Mitt Romney
Republican candidate for president in 2012.
Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush.
O. J. Simpson
Famous American football player who was later prosecuted for the murder of his wife and defended by Johnnie Cochran.
Josef Stalin
Totalitarian leader of the Soviet Union, notable also for his masterful understanding of kairos.
Mother Teresa
20th century Christian saint, notable for her disinterested aid to the poor and suffering.
Daniel Webster
Renowned 19th century American senator and orator, who Jay Heinrichs praises for his ability to use pathos to convince his audiences.
Oscar Wilde
Famous 19th century poet, playwright, and wit, praised by Jay Heinrichs for his talent for manipulating figures of speech and figures of thought.
P. G. Wodehouse
Beloved 20th century humorous novelist.
Jeremiah Wright
Controversial preacher who caused a minor scandal in the 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama.