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4.0 out of 5 stars Deep insight, 19 Sept. 2010
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Ever watched those TV police series and wondered how......, 27 Mar. 2011
By 
Caufrier Frederic (Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator (Hardcover)
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).

Preface
Chapter 1: It's time to die
Chapter 2: My start
Chapter 3: My first major siege (Amtrak Silver Star, 1982)
Chapter 4: Trouble abroad (TWA Flight 847, 1985)
Chapter 5: Crisis intervention: Listen and Learn (USS Yorktown)
Chapter 6: From success to hubris (Talladega Federal Correctional Institution Alabama, 1991)
Chapter 7: Negotiating with the sinful messiah (Waco, 1993)
Chapter 8: Picking up the pieces (Southern Ohio Correctional Facility)
Chapter 9: A hell of a siege (Justus Township, Montana)
Chapter 10: Prepare the missiles (Davis Mountain Texas, 1997)
Chapter 11: No shortage of challenges (Vieques Island, Puerto Rico 2000)
Chapter 12: Being our best when others are at their worst (Washington sniper, 2002)
Epilogue
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended!, 25 July 2013
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This review is from: Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator (Hardcover)
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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Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator by Gary Noesner (Hardcover - 15 Nov. 2010)
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