Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in Paperback – 3 May 2011
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About the Author
Roger Fisher is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law Emeritus and director emeritus of the Harvard Negotiation Project.
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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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book was the assigned textbook for a college course I took on negotiation, but it's one of those fairly rare cases where the material that's useful for a college course is also immensely useful for off-the-street people in a variety of situations. This book avoids complicated jargon and long, droning background chapters. Instead, it plunges into helpful information to assist people in negotiating for a new car, negotiating issues with their landlords, and all the many ways we all negotiate for our position throughout life.
Negotiation isn't just for union leaders trying to avert a strike. All of us negotiate each day as we try to juggle our many roles. We negotiate with our co-workers over assignments. We negotiate with our family members over chores. In an ideal world all of those discussions would go quickly, smoothly, and with as little strife as possible.
Getting to Yes provided numerous helpful examples which made their points more easy to understand. It is so true that people tend to remember stories where they might not remember dry text. When I think about this book I do remember several of the stories clearly, and those help to represent the points the authors were making. The stories help remind me to focus on the issues when negotiating and to look for objective standards to work with.
The information presented is wonderful, and immediately useful in life.
On the down side, this is a new version of older material. The authors chose to keep the initial book in its original form and then add on additional information at the end. I appreciate for historical reasons why they wanted to do that. However, from a fresh reader point of view, I feel they should present an integrated whole which most clearly presents the full information. The way the book is laid out currently, you have to go back and forth to find all information on a given topic.
Also, the format is not laid out for easy reference. If they went more for a "dummies" style with an easy to scan layout, graphs and charts to quickly find and scan, and quick end-summaries, that would make this more useful as a reference book to keep on a shelf. Right now if I had an issue to handle it would be less than quick to grab the book and find the answer. I would have to wade through the book to figure out where to get the support I needed.
Still, I do recommend that everyone read this book at least once, to build their skills in negotiation. It's something we all have to do!
Number of stories - in Getting to Yes, the authors do not offer enough stories to burn the concepts into the reader's mind. I personally think stories are the best way to communicate something like negotiating.
Actual psychological concepts explained - Getting to Yes is a summary of findings, and it never explains why certain things work. Without a deep understanding, it is not clear when the concepts work and when they don't. Especially in Influence, you really get to understand how to persuade someone by remembering the core psych concepts.
If you are just looking for a quick intro to negotiating, this is a decent book. If you would like to actually understand people and how to influence them, this is too basic.
The book is on principled negotiation, which is essentially negotiation on merits. The aim is to reach a wise agreement, defined as meeting the legitimate interests of all parties to the extent possible, resolving conflicting interests fairly, and ensuring the agreement is durable and takes community interests in account.
The factors of principled negotiation include:
PEOPLE: separting people from the issues/problems.
INTERESTS: focus on them, particularly mutual interests, and not on "positions." E.g., the expression of "you are in no position to negotiation" is absolutely absurd. One, it is an assumption unless the person stating that carefully prepared. Two, it can generally only hurt the person stating that, generating hostility and conflict. A principled negotiator probes interests, raises questions. The question, then, is "what are your interests in this deal?" and "Why do you suppose that is a fair proposal?"
PLANNING: a skilled negotiator will gather, organize, and weigh all information carefully relating to a negotiation. If there is one concept I could share with you, it is "prepare."
CRITERIA: prior to reaching an agreement, the parties should agree to using objective criteria to measure an agreement; these include market value, precedent, and so forth.
OPTIONS: generate a variety of options to reach an agreement. Envision what a successful outcome would be from the negotiation prior to negotiation, then generate several possibilities of satisfying everyone's interests to obtain the goal.
Specific Questions I had that were answered:
a) When personally attacked, what to do?
Control yourself, let the other side vent, then remain silent. Do not embarrass them, do not attack back.
b) More on this concept of "interests?"
First, find shared interests. Two, acknolwedge the other side's interests as a part of the whole system of negotiation. Share what your interests are pointedly, then provide your reasoning for reaching your proposal.
c) If the other side is way more powerful?
One must know her/his BATNA well. It is your Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement (I think that is the correct acroynm). The better your BATNA is, the more power you have. If you have a very bad BATNA, you must realize that "how" you negotiate is extremely important. Your BATNA should be your measure against any proposal made by the other side. If your BATNA is better, then you obviously reject the proposal.
d) What if the other side is choleric, tricky, and applies pressures to force me into agreement?
You should first recognize the tactics being used. "Oh, this is the old good and bad cop routine." Then, expose it. Say, "excuse me, unless I am mistaken, you two are playing good cop and bad cop with me. Now, let's just focus on interests and reach a mutually satisfying agreement." If they put sun in your eyes, request to move. If your enviroment is hostile or discomforting, you have a right to request a change in setting. Most importantly, recognize them... do not be phased by them.
e) I am powerful, they are weak. How should/can I exploit them?
Resources do not make you a powerful negotiator. All the king's soldiers and all the king's men cannot make you a powerful negotiator, particularly if your socalled "power" will not impact the other side. It is best to focus on mutual interests and attempt to reach an agreement to satisfying them. Threating a person, mentioning your power will most-likely undermine your ability to reach agreement.
In conclusion, this book can be a benefit for all people. Why? It shows you how to take into account other people's interests to satisfy your own. It is crucial for individuals to terminate the concept that to "win" in negotiations is to take advantage of other people. To succeed in negotiation, it is not about exploiting people but getting what you want. Essentially, satisfying your interests; this book can show you how.
I hope the above was helpful,