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on 23 January 2009
"Negotiation Genius" is another book on the subject in a long line of similar books. It is not surprising that the authors, Malhotra and Bazerman are both professors at Harvard Business School, genesis of the most famous book ever on the subject "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher, Bruce M. Patton, and William L. Ury

Like "Getting to Yes", this book is simplicity itself. Full of case studies that explain and demonstrate "how to" it provides the reader with five clear principles to apply in any negotiation. The authors use a nice analogy of the crime detective to emphasise their main point - that the best and often the only way to get what you want from a negotiation is to approach the negotiation from an investigative viewpoint rather than assuming you know what the motivation is behind the other party's wants. They argue that most negotiators assume they understand the other party's motivations and therefore don't explore them further. And so, they often get stuck in trying to bargain around their own position rather than looking at the reasons "why?" the other party wants what they want.

Simple, but effective. Like so many good books of its type, it's a shame that the people who really need to apply the principles outlined by Malhotra and Bazerman in "Negotiation Genius" (e.g. our politicians, international trade negotiators and the like) will not be reading and applying their investigative approach. Never mind, you and I will become all the better for applying our investigative skills to our future negotiations.

Bob Selden,
Author, What To Do When You Become The Boss: How New Managers Become Successful Managers
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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2010
Negotiation Genius is an extremely readable introduction to the world of negotiation. Written by a pair of Harvard professors, Genius walks the reader through key principles of successful negotiating. The authors are acutely aware of the likely audience's need for something tangible and concrete to take away and have explicitly constructed their work to be a toolkit for handling common scenarios.

The use of case studies throughout the book is an excellent way to handle the queries that inevitable arise. The best case study of all concerns the Cuban Missile Crisis which is accompanied by the author's implication that Kennedy was able to think strategically about negotiating even in the face of nuclear annihilation so what is it that another negotiation faces that is really so dangerous. Not all of the case studies work though - the example where one of the authors pays off a bunch of troublemakers to stop them attacking is hardly the height of ingenuity or bravery.

While Negotiation Genius is a textbook, it does not really read like one. The thought process behind negotiation strategy is laid out very effectively. The work begins with an introduction to value creation and capturing, explores the psychology of negotiation including non-rational behaviour, and tackles key real life issues including negotiating from weakness, handling liars etc. The tips are well thought-out and the messaging is generally highly consistent. The underlying theme seems to be securing as much information as possible before, during, and after the negotiation.

Malhotra and Bazerman have a firm belief in the self-interest of being cooperative. Their explanation of providing information in order to receive information makes sense. However, there is one inconsistency that is glaring - the ethics of negotiation are not well covered. Bazerman in particular has a theory about the evils of parasitic value creation. A chapter is devoted to Bazerman's idea and frankly it reads like a stereotypical academic begging the world to be more liberal and friendly. The ethics discussed are wholly at odds with the fundamental principle laid out in the first chapters of creating and then claiming as much value as possible. Lying in a negotiation is wrong according to Bazerman yet putting in an offer that is clearly unrepresentative of the negotiator's real position is not only acceptable but required. It is not possible for the academic to have it both ways - either the other side of the negotiation table can be influenced using the tips in this book or the negotiator should focus primarily on doing the right thing by society.

Genius is clearly written with hard-nosed American businesspeople in mind. The stereotype is that such people will be ruthless and potentially lacking the breadth of vision to understand that negotiation is often a game of repeated interaction. For those of us who are not so typically hard minded it is less useful to be continually reminded of the need to play the long game. Indeed, for anyone who has background in game theory the principles that Malhotra and Bazerman espouse will generally be quite recognisable. It is only the tips of how to achieve the influence that are different from the underlying decision theory.

While it is always easy to find the few flaws, Negotiation Genius is an excellent primer for the world of negotiation. It is not restricted to the simple price negotiation that is really quite easy to understand but instead builds on the range of real-life interactions that exist. While much of the case study material is just about price, it ranges all the way up to multilateral negotiations at the UN. For any negotiator not already steeped in years of experience and study on the matter, Negotiation Genius is a good way to start.
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on 3 April 2008
This strong book on negotiation offers a lot that is new and valuable. Authors Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman are realistic. They know how often people run on automatic pilot when negotiating, how they can miss opportunities due to bias and narrow vision, and how many common beliefs about negotiation are wrong. They provide tools and strategies that let readers address these failings. They illustrate their insights and advice with many real world examples, large and small. Many of their suggestions are not easy to follow. It takes humility and rigorous honesty to admit your biases, and lots of effort to correct them. But if you're willing to do that kind of work this book will fundamentally improve how well you negotiate. getAbstract recommends it to anyone who is serious about negotiation.
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on 1 March 2009
This is a really fine book on negotiating - the best of some dozen or so I have read. It's really practical in terms of how to say stuff and it opens up lots of angles for approaching that killer negotiation moment
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on 23 May 2012
Under delivers on what is a great title. Very tactical in its approach, US centric in its content and essentially provides a regurgitation of what you can find in other books.
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on 18 October 2015
I first listened to this as an audiobook and felt so impressed that I wanted a copy of the book itself. I've listened to a number of negotiation text and this is by far the best.
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on 7 October 2013
My Manager suggested I read this book as it gives clear and comprehensive advice on preparing and carrying out negotiations. A great read and I will keep it for future reference.
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on 3 January 2013
For anyone interested in picking up some sound, common-sense tips on negotiation, this book fits the bill. Well written. A very readable book that you can quickly skim through.
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on 18 August 2014
Very interesting how it easily helps to organise one's thoughts and very good as it uses existing examples.
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on 20 December 2015
Some great case studies and examples.
Very credible and easy to read.
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