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Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In Paperback – May 3, 2011
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From the Publisher
—John Kenneth Galbraith
“The authors have packed a lot of commonsensical observation and advice into a concise, clearly written little book.”
“A coherent brief for ‘win-win’ negotiations.”
“Getting to Yes has an unrivaled place in the literature of dispute resolution. No other book in the field comes close to its impact on the way practitioners, teachers, researchers, and the public approach negotiation.”
—National Institute for Dispute Resolution Forum
“Getting to Yes is a highly readable and practical primer on the fundamentals of negotiation. All of us, as negotiators dealing with personal, community, and business problems need to improve our skills in conflict resolution and agreement making. This concise volume is the best place to begin.”
—John T. Dunlop
“This splendid book will help turn adversarial battling into hardheaded problem solving.”
“Getting to Yes is a highly readable, uncomplicated guide to resolving conflicts of every imaginable dimension. It teaches you how to win without compromising friendships. I wish I had written it!”
“Getting to Yes is powerful, incisive, persuasive. Not a bag of tricks but an overall approach. Perhaps the most useful book you will ever read!”
“Simple but powerful ideas that have already made a contribution at the international level are here made available to all. Excellent advice on how to approach a negotiating problem.”
About the Author
William Ury cofounded the Harvard Negotiation Project and is the award-winning author of several books on negotiation.
Bruce Patton is cofounder and Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project and the author of Difficult Conversations, a New York Times bestseller.
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On the other hand, anyone who has successfully negotiated even the most minor of deals (i.e. haggling), won't find this as useful. In order to be effective, you have to convince all parties to accept the premise of principled negotiation. If they don't the whole system falls apart. Furthermore, if you are in an adversarial proceeding (lawsuit, arbitration, etc.), this is fairly useless. In those proceedings, the other party either doesn't care whether you "win" or actively wants you to lose. If you come up against a manipulator, the practices in this book will prove to be more hindrance than help. I had to read this as part of a law school class. To put it mildly, other aspects of the class were far more useful than this book.
Bottom Line: a good starting point. Just don't make it a stopping point.
Top international reviews
This is my second copy. I let someone borrow my first copy, and it never returned. But that's OK. The world would be a better place if everyone learned how to negotiate like this.
If you're going to a turkish bazaar, this is not going to help guarantee you get the right price for the rug you really want. But if you live in the real world, and especially if you're in business, this will help you understand how to negotiate successfully. And it makes you think differently about how you approach different situations.
Roger Fisher died recently, and I liked the obituary in the Economist. It described how there was a bitter confrontational argument in central america, with one of the parties being Ecuador I believe. Roger Fisher was asked to help in the dispute. Things improved dramatically when he asked the two presidents, who were arguing vehemently and bitterly about the border, to sit down with a map and look at the border. All the posturing disappeared as the parties understood each others concerns. As the obituary concluded, it helped that the Ecuador president had been a university student of Professor Fisher. It shows this is not academic mumbo jumbo. It has real life application.
This is why I think everyone should read this book, as it seeks to change negotiations from something that looks like a chess game between two opposing sides to a "lets-work-together" dialogue. Some of the issues raised in the book were very familiar to me and made perfect sense, others I think are a little bit easier said then done, but overall a good book on how to get the best out of any negotiating process.
It's a quick read with an eye-opening mindset that will stick with me, hopefully for the rest of my life.
Adopting his strategy means fewer escalating conflicts, a better understanding of what makes the other person 'tick', few concessions and generally better outcomes for both parties. What helps as well that it's a small and easily readable book; it's not padded out to create a mighty tome. One of my top-10 business books; wholeheartedly recommended.