Negotiate This! By Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much
by Herb Cohen
I had the pleasure of attending one of Herb Cohen's speeches several years ago on becoming a master of persuasion, and perfecting the art of meaningful negotiation. Of course, by that time, his signature work, You Can Negotiate Anything was already a must read book destined to become a masterpiece. That book, now 23 years old and still packing a solid punch will find company in the aforemention's current offering. Now comes Negotiate This! Albeit, with an interesting subtitle, "By Caring, But Not T-H-A-T Much", it gives the impressionable image that there's more to the title as implication would have you view it. It is inevitable that this author's seminal work, and a new twist to gaining footholds on how to win at an effective personal developmental tool would lend one to believe that there's something new to the game, and as you read Negotiate This! you'll be able to see just how different it is, yet some of the same principles in the former are present and prominent in the latter.
Please be reminded that the purpose of this expose is not to draw parallels, but rather, to aim the reader's perspective in communicating how personal allegorical and simple logical insight to view experienced behavioral patterns can make a difference in positioning yourself to turn no's into yeses. In this book, you will find out why Cohen is such an accomplished, successful negotiator, a talent that personifies his creative intelligence, his intense focus on using the art of persuasion and emphasizing a negotiating style that is subliminal, entertaining and flexible. The primary message in this book is the negotiator's need to cultivate a certain aloofness, or employ an analogy to suggest a detached sense of awareness but still be able to take in the seriousness of what one should be doing to win -- hence the book's subtitle. I like the way he uses well-placed metaphors to color the street-smart advice on effective demeanor, an implied uniqueness to style and the importance of the bargaining process. As I read, I wanted to have the answers that kept cropping up in my head. To wit: Is it possible to create advantages in negotiations? When would you know that you have the upper hand? What ploys should be used to project a preeminent air to intimidate your adversary?
Cohen manages to do an excellent job in explaining all of the above. As such, manipulating the perceived levels of time, information and positioning to create an advantage in negotiations is a must to foster the image that knowledge is indeed power. In the process he gives a perfect if not defining analogy of what negotiating is all about while using three precepts. He opines: "Negotiating often involves the managing of conflict. At times, however, some conflicts that come your way need not be confronted but should be avoided. If you have some perspective you can see things beginning to develop and use your lead time to adopt a blueprint of avoidance, then do so. Another strategy that comes with distance is to diffuse or reconcile differences before they even come to a head. Finally, a third option is to confront the problem directly looking for alternate solutions that will provide for joint gain and build mutually beneficial relationships"
All in all, this is an excellent read, but may not be anything new for those that feel that it's an old rehashment of an earlier atonement on the same subject. In my opinion, there were a few things of less interest, and despite the book's verbosity in odd places nothing should be taken away from the author's unique expressionism in illustrating points that can make the difference between winning or losing arguable points of contention in negotiating détente. The result is a book that is quite useful, practical, and uses Herb Cohen's experience and success as a hallmark for authoritative wisdom. Read it for yourself to draw conclusive evidence for any limitations on patience and perseverance. I rate it five stars out of five!