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Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want Paperback – January 27, 2009
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“Nice girls don’t ask, but smart women do. Ask for It provides the tangible tools and tips you need to get your fair share of the raises, promotions, and perks you’ve earned—and deserve.”—Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., author of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich.
“Combining sophisticated strategy with down-to-earth action, Ask for It gives women a groundbreaking gift: the means to ask for what they’re worth. Women learn how to change their fear of negotiating into confidence that they’ll gain more if they ask for more—more pay, more status, more resources, more equitable treatment. Required reading for working women.”—Evelyn Murphy, President, The WAGE Project, Inc.; author of Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men and What To Do About It
"Filled with practical tips and real-life examples, Ask for It empowers women to ask for what they want and get it. A must-read for any woman looking to make a change at home or on the job." —Lindsay Hyde, President, Strong Women, Strong Girls, Inc.
“This upbeat, realistic, and inspiring book will help you create new possibilities in every part of your life—whether you’re just starting out or already mid-career. There’s even a “negotiation gym” for building your confidence and skills before you go for the gold. Give it to your mother, your daughter, your sister, your friends!” —Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young and Strong Women, Strong Bones
“The authors have devised a four-phase program of strategies and exercises to determine what you want, what you’re worth and how to increase your bargaining power…. This book is a practical and empowering resource, invaluable to anyone, male or female, looking to gain an advantage at the negotiation table.”—Publishers Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Linda Babcock is a James M. Walton Professor of Economics at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has also been a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, The Unicersity of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and the California Institute of Technology. A specialist in negotiation and dispute resolution, her research has appeared in the most prestigious economics, inductrial relations, and law journals.
Sara Laschever's work has been published by the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and Vogue, among other publications. She was also the principal interviewer for Project Access, a landmark Harvard University study on women in science careers funded by the National Science Foundation. She lives in Concord, Mass.
From the Hardcover edition.
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But this books goes further than just how to negotiate and techniques. It goes into the mind-set of women, detailing with case studies how and why the majority of women in America's professional work-places act and think the way they do...and the pros and cons of each trait.
The book stunned my wife, as she admitted she found herself inadvertently falling into the same behaviours and thinking patterns that can put women at a disadvantage. After reading this and taking notes, she went in with a stronger case and talking points and not only got a substantial raise, but a promotion to boot.
It has incredibly practical practicable advice. Babcock and Laschever acknowledge that there are outside factors, including how we condition women to act and how we perceive their actions, that make it difficult for women to negotiate and ask for the same things men do, but they also offer very practical suggestions and even lessons for how to improve at negotiating.
The book opens with some serious soul searching and ends with the first ten lessons of Babcock's college course in Negotiating and I think could be helpful for anyone trying to build confidence in their ability to negotiate, regardless of gender.
I've listened to the audiobook and purchased the (more expensive than a hard copy) e-book just to have it more available for me to read and reference, that's how valuable I find this book.
Why do we fail to ask?
Because we have this little voice inside of us, clucking and frowning. According to Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, who wrote Ask for It, we need to ignore that voice because:
"The little voice inside telling you not to do it (don't rock the boat, don't get pushy, why can't you be happy with what you have?) isn't your voice. It's the voice of a society that's still trying to tell women how to behave. It's a voice whose message is conveyed, often unwittingly, by our parents, teachers, colleagues, and friends - and then repeated and amplified by the media and popular culture."
The authors present numerous examples of the unintentional, unconscious, and overwhelming bias society applies to women. Like this: Female musicians applying for a job with an orchestra were 250% more likely to be selected if they auditioned behind a screen.
I know what you're thinking. "I'm fine," you say. "I don't deny that it exists. It's just that I personally have never suffered from discrimination." However, again quoting from Ask For It:
"Social psychologist Faye Crosby calls this `the denial of personal disadvantage' in which members of a particular group recognize that other members of the group have suffered but believe that they themselves have escaped it."
This bias without malice starts early. In a study, school children were asked to perform a small task and then pay themselves what they thought they deserved. (First graders were asked to award themselves Hershey's Kisses.) Here's the heartbreaking result: In first, fourth, seventh and tenth grades, girls consistently paid themselves 30% - 78% less than boys.
It adds up - or I should say down. According to the latest US Census, women still earn less than men in every category. But there's a simple way to overcome this ingrained self-doubt, self-effacement, and self-denigration: ASK. Simply pause before you agree to anything, and ask for something to sweeten the deal. Why not? What are we afraid of? All they can say is no, and then you're where you were before the ask. However, you might be pleasantly surprised.
I bought some furniture a couple days ago. The salesman tallied up the price, ending with "and delivery is $149." I looked at him and said, "Do you have any flexibility on that?" Without hesitation he knocked it down to $100. I saved fifty bucks with seven words! Men do this all the time. Per study after study, women don't. The authors found "clear and consistent evidence that men initiate negotiations to advance their own interests about four times as often as women do."
If you're unhappy with something in your life, assume it can be changed. How many of us assume the opposite, sigh, and keep plugging? This book includes many, many practical tools for learning to ask (as well as tons of examples and anecdotes, which made it fun reading.) In Chapter 10, for example, the authors describe "cooperative" bargaining (It's also called collaborative, or interest based, or win/win bargaining). It is more effective and comfortable than the traditional stony-eyed, fist-pounding version you might envision. Also - bonus! - this strategy is more natural to women. In fact, you probably use it every day with your kids, partner, and coworkers.
Now, here are some great tips taken from the book:
*Women specialize in waiting until they can't take it anymore and then blow up. Better to "assemble documentation, showing how you've increased the value, identify the best time to approach the boss, and make your case in a calm and businesslike way."
*Doing it sooner rather than later makes a negotiation easier. "The brain imposes costs when we worry about something, and the longer we worry, the higher the cost. The sooner you ask for something you want, the better the negotiation itself will feel."
As soon as my granddaughters are old enough to understand this book, I'm going to make sure they read it. Life is too precious to go through it with a self-imposed disadvantage.