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Summary of Doesn’t Hurt to Ask 

Short summary

“Doesn’t Hurt to Ask” is a book by former congressman and prosecutor Trey Gowdy. The book is a massive success; it has been on Amazon’s top 10 nonfiction list since its publication in August 2020. People love it because it’s a nontechnical guide to the art of persuasion — a guide that both experts and newbies in the field have found useful. In this summary, you’re going to learn what the major elements of persuasion are, how persuasion is different from argument and debate, as well as how you can use the power of questions to communicate, connect, and persuade. “If I could have anyone in the world argue my case, it would be Trey Gowdy—the person I trust the most to make common sense. Whether it’s made on a football field or in a courtroom, a good argument is a good argument, no matter the authority. In “Doesn't Hurt to Ask”, Gowdy is the authority.” ~ Lou Holtz, hall of fame coach and bestselling author of Wins, Losses, and Lessons

Key points


Persuasion is an important life skill

Persuasion is all about making people see things from your perspective. We’re all humans and, for very good reasons, we almost always see things from different — often conflicting — perspectives, hence the need for persuasion. When you think about it, you’ll find that persuasion happens in our lives daily. We’re either persuading others or being persuaded ourselves.

Most of our daily interactions are persuasive. Convincing your boss about why you deserve a raise takes persuasion. Getting your kids to bed early is another form of persuasion. Convincing your spouse about why a vacation in Dubai is better than one in your home country when they don’t like the idea of traveling takes persuasion. And on and on. If persuasion is such an important skill, why then do most people seem to fail at it? On a general note, we are better at persuasion when it involves friends and family because we know them inside out; we know the thing that makes them tick and so we can tailor our words to strike them properly.
Questions work best when persuading strangers because they help you find out more about the other person.
How do effective communicators do it? Is there a magic formula for the art of persuasion? You bet! Persuasion is a skill, and there are underlying principles that every effective persuader is using consciously or subconsciously. You’ve applied many of these principles yourself at certain points. We all have, but the difference between an expert persuader and one that only lucks out once in a while is that the experts know the rule of the game.

Lawyers are about the most persuasive people on Earth because it’s what they do every day. How do you feel about learning trade secrets from a former congressman and prosecutor? Sounds exciting? In this summary, you’ll be learning the persuasion tactics Trey Gowdy learned and used in the course of his career as a lawyer and lawmaker. Let’s proceed.

The most persuasive people are those who can be persuaded themselves

If you can’t be persuaded, how do you expect to persuade others? There’s a level of open-mindedness that makes persuasion possible and all parties involved need to have this trait. Contrary to popular opinion, persuasion has little to do with convincing people to make 360° changes while you remain unchanged. It happens, but that’s only the exception, not the norm.
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Persuading without an end goal in mind is like traveling without a destination at the heart


Persuasion is almost impossible when you don’t know anything about your audience


Questions either make or mar conversations, depending on use



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