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271 of 276 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are two basic styles or strategies in negotiation literature: advantage seeking and joint gain finding. The best work on joint gain is the seminal work by Roger Fisher, Getting to Yes. The best work on advantage seeking is the work of Chester Karrass who extols high aspiration and concession management. The great thing about this book is that it is simultaneously the second best book in two very different paradigms. This is the best work on the topic of the information parties exchange as part of the negotiation process. That is why this is such an insightful work and worth every penny spent to buy it and hour it takes to read it Five stars and there are only four books in this entire niche subject that deserve that rating. Since I teach this stuff I read or at least skim scores of negotiation books. Many are thoroughly second rate. Reading a really good book on a subject you care about makes you want to write a review for Amazon. See.
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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I had always been under two false impressions about negotiations. First, that negotiations are all about business and commercial transactions. Second, that negotiations are about hardball tactics where the stronger side "wins" and gets away with a great deal while the weaker side is beaten down and suckered into a raw deal.
Richard Shell's book completely changed this impression. This is a book that is well written and the ideas are structured in way that I could read and take away bite-sized chunks. The book is also very practical and ends each section with a checklist to be used when you negotiate. Shell has made the book very readable by not going overboard on negotiations theories and sprinkling the book with some terrific stories. The stories range from negotiation strategies employed by Mahatma Gandhi and Akio Morita to Indonesian villagers and Tanzanian tribesmen.
The main message of the book is that negotiations are mostly about relationships and that each party may have something to offer that is of enormous value to the other party. By building your relationship and unearthing that value you can conclude a successful negotiation where everybody leaves the boardroom or village center with satisfaction. Shell draws his rich material from many negotiating situations (e.g.-: kids negotiating with their parents about dinner, an elderly widow negotiating with real estate tycoon Donald Trump, and the negotiations for buying out RJR Nabisco). He has also drawn on negotiating styles from around the world and compared the cultural differences (e.g.-: Gandhi negotiating in South Africa, the importance of networks or Guanxi in Chinese cultures, etc.)
The first part of the book focuses on the six foundations of effective negotiation - being aware of your personal style, setting goals, adhering to certain standards, building relationships, uncovering the other person's interests and making use of leverage. The second part of the book is about the negotiation process - preparing you strategy, exchanging information, the actual negotiation, and finally getting commitment. I liked Shell's use of a chessboard metaphor to put these principles into a framework. It is unlikely you will master all these skills in one shot. This is a book you want to come back to every now and then, nibble a bit, practice the skill during your next negotiation opportunity, and go read the book some more.
I would strongly recommend the book because it teaches you skills to successfully negotiate your way through life. Even if you were to measure it in narrow monetary terms this book would reward you enormously in all the big-ticket negotiations we do in our lives such as buying a car, buying a house, agreeing on a salary, or accepting you next stock options package. But, even more important shell gives you valuable lessons about setting goals, following a strategy and building a meaningful relationship with the people you interact with whether it is your spouse, friend, grocer, or friendly neighborhood business tycoon. When I finished the book I realized that this book is not just about negotiations. It is an enlightening and entertaining book about living more effectively. While it will certainly help you negotiate a better price on your house it will also help you develop a more meaningful relationship with your spouse or child the next time you negotiate your vacation or broccoli vs. ice-cream deal.
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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This book gives some very important understanding of negotiation to people who are not professional negotiators and do not know all the ins and outs of the current research in the field.

1. It talks about the differences in the negotiation style and how those differences affect the negotiation process.
2. It talks about what and how to set your goals in a negotiation.
3. It talks about whats and hows of using the various standards in making your case during the negotiation.
4. It discusses leverage and how it changes over time during the negotiation.
5. It discusses relationships that may or may not exist among the people in negotiation and how that affects negotiations.
6. It discusses different strategies from opening to closing the deal
7. It talks about creativity that can go into the deal that would make the pie bigger (as opposed to just dividing the pie).
8. It discusses ethics at length at the end of the book.

This book even has a template for preparation for negotiation that you can use as a way of thinking and doing research before you begin your negotiation. Each chapter also has a summary that is useful as a list of criteria for formulating your negotiation strategy.

I think that at the price I paid for the book, it was definitelly a bargain. If you are looking into becoming a better negotiator, this book is for you.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is an improvement on what "Getting to Yes" tries to achieve. It is much more descriptive of the mechanisms of negotiation, with often three or four stories, as opposed to one for each topic in "Getting to Yes". It breaks down negotiation into four parts (Preparation, Information Exchange, Bargain, and Settlement), and goes into each in depth, with many stories (the most I have seen in a negotiation book, which I appreciate). Also tackles the negotiation process from the standpoint of people who are very competitive and from the standpoint fo people that are non-confrontational, which I found useful as well.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books I wish I'd read years ago. It was recommended to my colleagues and I during a negotiating workshop I scheduled for the managers at the professional association I manage. "Bargaining for Advantage" is clear, informative and entertaining--what more could you want? After 24 years as an Association Executive and ten as a state senator, I think of myself as an experienced negotiator. And I learned a ton from this book. It will be valuable for everyone, as we are all frequently called upon to negotiate. But for people managing a business, non-profit, agency or even a military organization, it's a pearl. Best business book I've read this year.

Robert A. Hall, CAE

Author of "The Good Bits."
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
I love when this happens. I'm a logical guy, but some skills always seem like more of a black magic or personality trait or art rather than science. I used to think people who were good at things like sales, marketing/advertising, and negotiating (among others) were just good at it. They had a natural ability that was hard to explain.

Well, after reading this book, I no longer feel that way about negotiating. I actually enjoy it, now. There is a science to it. You can clearly see when one party or the other has more to lose, how to reduce that, increase your leverage, find points to give in on and how to clearly point out what your hoping to achieve. It's really cool!

I feel like I have much more insight into any negotiation that I'm part of and will truly benefit in many ways - financially and emotionally. I no longer feel like I was taken advantage of or got away with something, instead feel as though the negotiation went well and I achieved my goals.

A really great book - especially for those that like to figure out the hidden science behind the art.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Who knew that a business "how to" book could also be an enormously enjoyable and enlightening treatise on human relationships? Shell combines psychology, sociology, morality, and economics (and decades of personal and professional experience) to offer lessons you will not only want to do business by, but also to live by. "Bargaining for Advantage" will help you gain as much of an upper hand as you are comfortable gaining -- in any business situation -- and be happy doing it. Best of all, by nonfiction standards, it's a page turner. Buy it without hesitation. You'll be glad you did.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Shell's new book is great. He offers a roadmap of ideas to help you negotiate, and it's fun reading. He breaks the book into two basic parts. THe first part talks about six foundations of effective negotiation, ranging from setting goals and expectations to finding points of leverage. The second part offers advice on the negotiation process (e.g., preparation, making concessions, etc.)

His book seems to suggest, however, that negotiating is a rational endeavor. Even the advice on building relationships seems mechanical rather than natural (e.g., giving gifts, favors, etc). This all may work, but I'd find some of the advice hard to do in some of my negotiations with tougher clients who I deal with time and again.

Overall, Shell's book is great, but my own personal style of negotiation is more in line with the new negotiation bestseller by Roger Fisher of Harvard -- "Beyond Reason: Using EMotions as YOu Negotiate." Beyond Reason offers 5 principles that I could easily remember to improve my negotiating effectiveness -- and without seeming mechanical or inauthentic.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
G. Richard Shell's book on negotiation was my first read on the topic, aside from a little Dorling Kindersley guide. This is not a book to teach you how to be a cutthroat or hardball negotiator, it is a book designed to help YOU get the best solution every time.
The author is to be commended for a number of achievements in this book. First, the writing was excellent -- easy to read, yet not simplistic; interesting enough that I actually enjoyed it; and extremely well organized. Unlike maky other books, the anecdotes are both interesting and well-used to illustrate his points.
Second, the author presents guidance on a wide range of issues. One section helps you identify your bargaining style and then gives you suggestions on how to maximize its effectiveness. Another offers advice on how your strategy should change based on the relationship (or lack thereof) between the two parties. This book is not just for MBAs; it's for all people, since everyone negotiates in various forms with everyone else.
Third, the book achieves an excellent balance between theory and practice. Shell refers to numerous psychology and economics experiments to describe the ideas beneath the negotiation process, but he also gives real-world advice on how to put these ideas to work.
Finally, a section on ethics is included which, although enlightening enough to provide a basic knowledge of legal, moral, and practical implications of various bargaining strategies, is really only a primer to a much larger topic.
Again, this was a truly excellent book, especially for anyone looking for a first read on the topic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a small business owner I often find myself in the previously uncomfortable position of having to negotiate for my business advantage. Before reading this book, my own negotiation "rules" could be summed up with the following beliefs: "If I am reasonable in my requests, I should not have to negotiate, only approve or disapprove deals" and "I will ask for what I want and need, and they can take it or leave it" and the typical belief "everyone is out to screw you over, be careful". This book took the mystery and bravado out of the negotiation process, arming me with "rules" that actually civilized the process for me, I feel confident that can handle typical negotiation situations in the future with a level of success that I have never achieved in the past. I cringe at the lost opportunities, missed because of my own missteps from the very begining of the process using my old negotiation belief system. This book is not simply common sense, it is a door opener.
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