Aristotle said that the three most powerful tools of persuasion are: ethos, argument by character; logos, argument by logic; and pathos, appeal to the emotions.

Because I have the superior mind of a scientist (that's sarcasm btw), I have an overwhelming natural inclination toward logos. And when it doesn't work, I try it again, despite Einstein's insistence that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.

Trundling my way to the office on the number 94 Wednesday I read "Jay Heinrich's Powers of Persuasion" in Business Week magazine in which Mr. Heinrich is described as one of the world’s leading students of Aristotelian rhetoric. This means he's kinda expert at mixing up the ethos, logos and pathos just right.

"I have found that pathos and ethos come first. Add a dash of logos to work in your position, then bring it on home with a dose of pathos."

I thought I'd try it when I got to the office. We had a meeting with a potential investee and my colleague Gabbi Cahane kicked off the meeting with typical intensity. And would you believe it, he appealed to our emotions and character first up, emphasised the underlying rationale, and concluded his contribution with an emotional tug. We'll have a termsheet sorted within the week.

I couldn't quite believe it.