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The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Harvard Business School professor Wheeler, a member of the school&'s Negotiation, Markets & Organizations unit, offers a clear-headed, creative approach to negotiation that is on a par with the canonical texts, Getting to Yes and You Can Negotiate Anything. Those titles suggest abandoning hardball tactics and turning every interaction into a negotiation. Wheeler, on the other hand, posits that the most important aspect of negotiation is improvisation and constant flexibility, acknowledging that each party goes into a negotiation without truly understanding the other person&'s position. Often, each party&'s real needs don&'t emerge until the negotiations are in progress. Wheeler discusses strategies for managing uncertainty and understanding the true extent to which preferences, needs, and relationships are constantly changing. He steers readers toward making wise decisions about whether or not to pursue a negotiation in the first place, conducting sufficient research, keeping their cool, and closing the deal. Wheeler&'s lucid, engaging voice is a major asset, and sample scripts help drive home his points. Agent: Jim Levine, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Apart from books that instruct on win-win negotiation techniques and strategies to control negotiations, this book focuses on how to deal with and capitalize on the dynamic nature of negotiations. It shows how opportunities are missed when people are inflexible in their approaches and how roadblocks can be overcome with spontaneity and creative ideas. It points out situations in which the commonly known BATNA (Best alternative to a negotiated agreement) model is not always the best strategy. Wheeler advocates that effective negotiation demands rapid cycles of learning, adapting, and influencing to manage the uncertainty of a negotiation. Wheeler likens this to improv and countering surprises with flexibility. Real-life examples, including the development of the Citibank center in New York, illustrate how applying nine key principles can improve success in a negotiation. Other topics discussed include situational awareness, military techniques, and balancing risk and reward in determining when and how to say yes to a deal. The appendix provides a handy summary of the key points for future reference, and the book is a good basic guide to making the best of a negotiation. --Cindy Kryszak
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It's also been comforting to see that these engagements really do require agility and creativity. I don't feel so bad about adapting the terms of the deal for the larger clients to suit their situation now.