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Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator Hardcover – 15 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.,U.S. (15 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400067251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400067251
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for "Stalling for Time ""Gary Noesner is a gripping storyteller, and man, does the guy have stories. It's like watching an emotional bomb squad defuse explosive personalities. The big surprise is how recently the FBI learned the basic tenets of what makes a man put the gun down, a discovery story as captivating as the hostage standoffs that illuminate it." "--"Dave Cullen," Author of Columbine ""Gary Noesner has done something remarkable with this book, turning the murky process of hostage negotiations into a set of predictable and clear routes to bargaining success.""--Robert B. Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence: Science and Practice ""Tortured people, desperate moments, dangerous solutions. "Stalling For Time" takes us deep into the lethal world of hostages, sieges, and terrorsism. Gary Noesner, a thirty year veteran of the Bureau, has written a landmark work that's both a nail-biting thriller and an expose of timely importance. This is a must-read not only for true crime fans but for every cop and G-Man in the country.""--John Huddy, bestselling author of Storming Las Vegas """Stalling for Time" reads with the page-turning intensity of a first-rate thriller, only everything here is, remarkably, true. In finally opening up about his craft -- about his 30 years spent reasoning with unreasonable people in situations that were literally life and death -- Gary Noesner has written an essential book about the fine art of communication. For anyone who wants to know how to stay cool under fire, this book is indispensable.""--Douglas Stone, best-selling author of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most""Gary Noesner has written an account of his decades-long career as a hostage negotiator that is so gripping it grabs the reader by the throat. It's a spectacular read and every word of it is true.""--"Peter Bergen, " author of Holy War, Inc. "and "The Osama bin Laden I Know""An intense

About the Author

GARY NOESNER retired from the FBI in 2003 following a thirty-year career as an investigator, instructor, and negotiator. An FBI hostage negotiator for twenty-three years of his career, he spent ten years as the bureau's Chief Negotiator. Following his retirement from the FBI he became a Senior Vice President with Control Risks, an international consultancy. Noesner has appeared on numerous television documentaries produced by A&E, the History Channel, Discovery, TLC, and National Geographic. He is the founder of the National Council of Negotiation Associations, which represents about eighteen organizations and thousands of law enforcement negotiators nationwide. He continues to do consulting work for Control Risks part-time.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is no fast moving story of SWAT teams taking down bad guys like a real life 24, this is a worthy and considered approach to the art of hostage negotiation.

Now, I have views on negotiation as I do a great deal of commercial negotiation. It is a fact that EVERYONE negotiates almost every day. The child who "will be good if given that toy", the husband that wants to go away for the weekend to play golf and who would buy a car without trying to negotiate a lower price? The next level is the kind of stuff I do, where `deals' are negotiated and discounts and rebates are pushed for, the bottom line difference to an organisation can be substantial.

But there is another level, where negotiation skill can result in lives being wasted or saved. Where the wrong phrase or tactic does not negate a 1% discount, but could result in the loss of countless lives. Enter Gary Noesner a retired FBI negotiator who shares a view at the real sharp end. Detailing his career and some of the big cases he worked on, this avoids unnecessary sensationalism for objective detail which is fascinating. He was, for instance, heavily involved in the Waco siege and offers great insight into what went on and what went wrong.

Noesner gives us a spread of cases and his experience, but opens the eyes to the true physiological elements of a negotiation situation. How every word or phrase can make a difference in a situation that most of us would have no idea how to handle.

This is not a `heavy' book on physiology nor is it fast paced action but it is enthralling and provides true perspective to something often portrayed in the movies as something brief and simplistic.

Thoughtful and enlightening reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting !

Ever watched those TV police series and wondered how the authorities could mess it up so badly by ignoring the hostage negotiators and storming in full force. Hollywood can be dramatic indeed. When on the other hand you read Gary Noesner first hand experiences as FBI hostage negotiator you realize that Hollywood can be also pretty accurate.

Reading Gary's experience as FBI hostage negotiator is like reading on the internal history of the FBI over 2 decades. And it is fascinating to read how the FBI evolved over time for the better - with the sad message that improvements often only happened after mistakes were made during certain standoff situations (Waco and others). His autobiographic view and his personal impact on the hostage negotiation approaches are clearly explained and illustrated by many well known hostage cases.

Gary Noesner points out frequently in this work that just listening as a skill was often enough to allow hostage situations end for the best. Creating and allowing time to have a situation cool down first, followed up by listening does take time. The `stalling for time' strategy is certainly a powerful tool to apply in such high risk high pressure situations and these are nicely illustrated in this book by real events.

The book reads very smoothly. Many high profile hostage situations are described in detail and especially if you want to read a book with a deeper look into the history of the FBI I would highly recommend this book. As a pure negotiation book I would suggest other books though such as `Negotiation Genius' and `Bargaining with the Devil'. Similar and also worthwhile to read is `Negotiate and Win' by Dominick J. Misino (as former NYPD Negotiator).
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By Philip Vickers on 25 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary gives a clear account of his role and how the use of Negotiators has developed. A good account of the relationship/trust between the Negotiator and the incident commander, and how the benefits of negotiation were (slowly) recognised by the wider FBI. His account of Waco seemed a little too simplistic, but helped to illustrate the FBI is an organisation that learns from its experiences.
Some good, practical examples of negotiation principles being used to save lives. Very much a US standpoint, which can be quite different to other countries, particularly in terms of the use of fatal force.
VERY good value and a recommended read for anyone with an interest in negotiation, Armed Policing and incident command.
Worth reading alongside Cialdini "Influence".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 138 reviews
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Great storytelling & captivating insights 21 Sept. 2010
By Dave Cullen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This was such a rewarding book. I've always been fascinated by that very basic question: when someone is disturbed and irrational enough to actually pick up a gun and take hostages, how on earth do you talk him down?

What was most startling to me was that until very recently in human history--a few decades ago--we didn't know.

The more I learned, the hungrier I got to learn more. How interesting that so much of it amounts to listening.

I had previously learned a great deal about hostage negotiators researching my book COLUMBINE. (The head of the FBI investigation in that case, Dr. Dwayne Fuselier, was a leading negotiator and I spent a great deal of time with him.) Fuselier spoke very highly of Gary Noesner, so I was curious.

I expected to skim through much it, but found myself hanging on every word. There is a great deal to learn here, and it was just as interesting to watch the story of how difficult it was to teach the FBI these ideas. Individuals picked them up rather easily, but making the institution embrace them was a bigger challenge.

My biggest surprise, though, was what a natural storyteller Noesner turned out to be. He has the easy style and readability of a lifelong novelist. It was a gripping and thoroughly enjoyable read.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
The Inside Story of the FBI's Crisis Management Program 24 Sept. 2010
By Ranger5 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a fair and balanced look inside the FBI's crisis negotiations and crisis management programs. Gary's observations of the process from an operator's view point is priceless and right on point. He writes in a non-critical converational style, pointing out the positives as well as the negatives associated with each incident. Unless you have been where the author has,you cannot understand or appreciate the tension involved in "stalling for time" when human life is at stake. Gary's reasoned approach to negotiations made a tremendous contribution to the rethinking of crisis management within the FBI. The mistakes highlighted in this book are easily made when managers/leaders rush to judgement at a crisis. This book should be required reading for any law enforcement professional. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read as well!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Informative and helpful. 14 Sept. 2010
By Johnny Lemonhead - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A faced paced and informative look at the world of hostage negotiating. The writing is very down to earth and should be accessible by readers at any level. I find myself already being more mindful of some of the techniques discussed in the book during my personal business dealings. The concepts detailed in the book can (and do) apply to most situations of conflict that normal people encounter in their day to day affairs. This is perhaps the greatest strength of the book. The dramatic vignettes do not cover any new ground in the true crime genre; the concepts behind them, however, are immensely helpful to anyone who may find themselves in conflict with others since we will all encounter more of these situations before our life is over. 4/5 stars.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Exciting and important 14 Oct. 2010
By Dr. J. J. Kregarman - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is riveting but with wider implications than the stories it tells. Over and again Gary Noesner emphasizes how important it is to have trained negotiators available to manage hostage and other crisis situations and how deadly can be the all-to-human tendency to rely on force as a first response. We, as Americans, should be very grateful for his service and make sure that we have people with his skills available in our future because the need for such skills is sure to arise. His telling of his interview of Majed al-Mulqi, leader of the terrorist hijacking of the Achille Lauro, was most illuminating. Here useful information including an admission of murder was forthcoming where confrontational interviews had drawn a blank. Over and again instances are related where horrendous situations were defused without needless loss of life. Required reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Loved these true stories of hostage negotiations 14 Sept. 2010
By CJ-MO - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was fascinated from the very first chapter of Gary Noesner's true stories from his experiences as an FBI hostage negotiator. Mr. Noesner shares details of selected cases which represent the development of his career and the discipline of hostage negotiation within the FBI. The author shares insights into well-known cases such as Ruby Ridge and Waco as well as situations unknown to most people. You could tell that the author was not only proud of his accomplishments in the field of hostage negotiation, but also sincere and caring in his dealings with the hostages and the perpetrators.

I found the book to be interesting, action-packed, and as much of a page-turner as the most exciting suspense novel. While these aren't funny situations being described, the author did manage to insert some humor when appropriate. I learned a lot about the negotiation process, what can go wrong, and how the use of force can often make a dangerous situation even worse. I found the book to be very enlightening and was sorry to see it end. I could have continued reading more of the author's descriptions and insights from his FBI experiences. While not a "how-to" book for negotiations, there are some lessons from the book that can be applied to business or in one's personal life. For example, allow others to save face and keep their dignity when resolving a conflict, don't let your own pride get in the way of a solution, and finally know when to be more forceful and when to back off. I highly recommend this exciting and thought-provoking book.
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