If you want to learn to debate without all the jargon (and without losing your soul) Upside Down Debate is for you. You’ll be introduced to debate by learning how to listen before you speak, construct a persuasive argument (or “case”) for change, connect with your audience, draw on centuries-old wisdom from classical rhetoric, and engage thoughtfully with your opponents.

Experienced coaches of both competitive debaters and business clients, Isaiah and Betsy McPeak bring a wealth of debate war stories and real life anecdotes that make Upside Down Debate anything but theoretical. Whether you’re a novice, a veteran debater, or a curious outsider to the debate world, you will grasp what it means to master the art of persuasion with one’s honor intact.

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.57.27 PMGet the Paperback ($25)

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Key Features:

  • Multi-format debating: this book teaches value and policy debate at the same time
  • How to build persuading arguments from shared assumptions
  • Six types of arguments that refute at a macro level
  • Six types of arguments that refute at a micro level
  • How to “make a case” for anything, with several alternate structures
  • The deep meaning of the four parts of a debate – topic, sides, audience, and format – with a chapter on each
  • How to transfer debate skills to everyday conversations and business meetings
  • Over 50 examples that illustrate theory with practical experience

Listening before speaking, agreeing before disagreeing, letting the evidence inform your position rather than looking for evidence to support your position: these are just some of the skills you will learn from the Upside Down Debate book. For elected officials and individuals involved in political debates, this is a must-read book.

Bryan Simonaire

MD State Senator

There are dozens of books on how to teach debate, but none that take this type of big picture approach. …McPeak contextually weaves the fundamentals of debate, and the art of rhetoric into practical life applications. The reader will learn not only the building blocks of debate, but more importantly how to debate with integrity and an eye on persuading others in a manner that will serve beyond high school forensics, into college classes, board rooms and even personal relationships.

TJ Harding

National champion debate coach

Upside Down Debate does more than just teach you how to debate. It makes the all-too-often overlooked connection between academic debate and real life. Isaiah and Betsy first pick apart the fundamentals of debate structure, then follow by steadily building a firm foundation of wholesome debate strategy. I cannot recommend Upside Down Debate more fully as a foundational tool for any aspiring debater.

Chris Jeub

Founder and CEO of TrainingMinds.org; educator, author, speaker

Curriculum for Upside Down Debate

Here are some outlines and drills to inspire your club or class sessions in conjunction with the book.

Club Plan for Novice Debaters

Coming soon.

Club Plan for Intermediate Debaters

Coming soon.

7th/8th Grade Class Curriculum