Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator Hardcover – 15 Nov 2010
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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," AuthorofColumbine
" 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. GaryNoesner, 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 amust-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, immersive narrative, making [Noesner s] real-life experiences read like episodes of a good cop drama. By the end of the book, readers will be impressed by the number of crucial moments in which Noesner has played a significant role from the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 to the Freeman militia standoff in Montana in 1996. Vicariously entertaining. " Kirkus Reviews
" The world doesn t need me to tell them that Gary Noesner has been there, and done that. There are hundreds of living victims across the globe that are living testament to Gary s abilities to successfully negotiate, or teach others effective crisis negotiation. Lt. Tom Monahan, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept., Director, Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center
Crisis Negotiations requires experience, a cool head, the ability to think on your feet in the face of extreme threat ... and Gary personified each and every element. It was an honor to work with him and to learn my skills from the very best. Byron A. Sage, Retired FBI Crisis Negotiator
Due to his effusive personality, ability to articulate his broad knowledge and experience, and renowned sense of humor, Gary Noesner is undoubtedly the foremost federalambassador to American law enforcement in the field of critical incident managementin general and crisis negotiations in particular. Experienced and knowledgeable crisis negotiators have learned that when Gary Noesner speaks we need to listen.It is in large part due to Gary and a very fewothers that crisis negotiations enjoys the noble position of respectand effectiveness both within and outside the U.S. that it does. William "Bill" Kidd, Crisis Negotiator since 1974 San Francisco PD and Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Gary Noesner s passion for the art of hostage/crisis negotiations has influenced hundreds, probably thousands, of police negotiators in the world. His enthusiasm for this highly perfected skill is contagious. Bruce A. Wind, Crisis Negotiator, Seattle Police Department
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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".
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).Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
There are firsthand accounts of some of the major hostage Incidents of modern times - in particular Waco and Ruby Ridge - which add to the historical record. But the tone throughout the incident stories is very much "just the facts ma'am" -- by which I mean that the stories are not played up for emotion, or even for drama. The amazing thing the author has done is to make "head FBI hostage negotiator" come across as - well - just another corporate job.
The main point that comes across from this book is the deep philosophical division within the FBI - and presumably, across the law enforcement community - between those who favor negotiation as a way to end hostage situations, and those who want to go In with guns blazing. The author is a passionate advocate of the negotiation approach, sometimes in support of tactical action, often as a solution in itself. He cites a number of examples where his advice was not followed, and he complains about the shortsightedness of his bosses in Washington and in various field situations.
What was most surprising, and frankly scary, about this book is how little science, or even modern management practice, appears to be involved in making such critical life-and-death policy decisions. The author refers to 2-week training courses for example as the entry into hostage negotiation; it takes 6 months to become a massage therapist, and 3 or 4 years to become a firefighter. And his arguments about the best approach to various situations are based on his experience, which is considerable, but he doesn't offer data to support his conclusions. I would have expected something like "the incidence of loss of life is 42% lower when the negotiator is included in tactical staff meetings" or something similarly rigorous.
Of course, it's possible that there is more to it than what comes across here - perhaps the author didn't want to give away Bureau secrets, or just felt this made for a more readable account. I would certainly sleep better if I knew that were the case. From "Stalling for Time" I come away thinking they're making it up as they go along, and while that doesn't diminish my awe of or gratitude toward those who take on such risky pursuits to protect us civilians, I would feel better if I knew that the folks In charge were making the best decisions possible.