Arthur Attwell TED Talk





Arthur Attwell TED Talk

Arthur Attwell’s TED Talk examines the access to books in developing countries. He uses ethos, pathos and logos to make his argument on the topic. Attwell’s reference to books saving lives is an example of pathos. The listeners are touched by the thoughts that people lack access to books that can literally save the lives of many. While listening to this point, I felt helpless as well as sympathetic for the student nurses of Tanzania who cannot get access to training books and the people who die as a consequence.  At the end of the talk, Attwell says that he and his team of researchers found that creating a website for people to download books made it much cheaper. Everyone could access books; from school children in remote villages who could not afford them to student nurses who needed them for training. This point inspires hope in the audience who feel that there is a viable solution to the dire situation in the developing world.

Ethos in Attwell’s TED Talk is shown when he says that years before; he too was a publisher of books. Since his talk revolves around the topic of accessibility of books in developing countries such as South Africa, the audience trusts that he knows the topic well enough. He says that the biggest threat to published books is photocopy shops, and this is something he experienced firsthand as a publisher. Listening to Attwell, the listener gets the idea that he is not just there to deliver a speech but that he knows what he is talking about. Many people are then convinced about his argument.

An example of logos is Attwell’s explanation that books have to move 5000 miles from Cape Town to Tanzania, where the student nurses need them for training. Listening to this figure it brings a vivid picture of just how dire the situation is. If he had said ‘a long distance,’ it would not have been as realistic. He also quotes that 63000 teens across South Africa have read a digital version of a book by Sam Wilson to show the effectiveness of putting books on the internet. The use of pathos, logos and ethos makes Attwell’s argument more realistic and credible to the audience.

Works Cited

Atwell, Arthur. “Every Book Within Walking Distance of Every Home.” YouTube. Published 26 September 2012. Retrieved from