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Caufrier Frederic (Belgium)

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The Strategy Book (1st Edition)
The Strategy Book (1st Edition)
by Max Mckeown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strategy Overview, 19 Jan. 2014
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This is quick read and brilliant book for having a big picture view on strategy.

The really nice part that stands out is the structure used. Each small chapter (6-8 pages) starts by giving a summary, a short related business story, objective, context, related challenge(s), success that will come out of dealing with that specific topic, measures of success, pitfalls, checklist and related ideas. The small downside is that is reads very well in single chapters, but not so well when ready from beginning to end in one setting.

At the end of the book there is a tool kit describing a whole range of tools out there. I believe this is a good overview if you are not familiar with these tools. These tools though get described in a brief manner (1.5 pages for each tool - for those familiar with the tools this might be too short, still it stays an overview here and not an in-depth summary).

The book actually combines all the elements that come to play when strategic thinking is needed. It is good overview on how to think, create, win and make the strategy work.


What is strategy?

Part 1 - Your strategic self
- Shaping the future
- Thinking before you plan
- Becoming a strategic thinker
- Selling your strategy

Part 2 - Thinking like a strategist
- Reacting is as important as planning
- Taking risks (jumping your uncertainty gaps)
- Looking over your shoulder
- Knowing where grass (really) is greener

Part 3 - Creating your strategy
- Seeing the big picture
- Finding position, intention and direction
- Looking for advantages
- Making strategic decisions and choices
- Adapting to your competitive environment

Part 4 - Winning with strategy
- Winning strategy games
- Creating new markets
- Getting ahead of your strategic group
- Growing your business (again and again)
- Going global without going broke
- Knowing what you can do best

Part 5 - Making your strategy work
- Managing your strategy process
- Meetings for strategic minds
- Managing change, making strategy work
- Understanding what can you wrong
- Saving your company from failure

Part 6 - The strategy book tool kit:

The basic strategy questions, SWOT analysis, Porter's 5 forces of competition, Burgelman's strategy dynamics model, Porter's value chain, Core competencies and resource-based view, Nonaka and Takeuchi's knowledge spiral, McKinsey's 7S framework, Scenario planning, Ansoff's growth grid, BCG's product portfolio matrix, Kim and Mauborgne's blue ocean, Greiner's growth and crisis model, Treacy and Wierseman's value disciplines, Cumming and Wilson - orientation and animation, Lewin's force field analysis, Kotter's eight phases of change, Kaplan and Norton's balanced scorecard, Hrebiniak's model of strategy execution, Hammer and Champy's business process redesign, Michaud and Thoenig's strategic orientation, Burgelman and Grove's strategy bet model, Argyri's double and single loop learning, Mintzberg's deliberate and emergent, Johnson's white space model, Prahalad's bottom of the pyramid, Stacey's strategy from complexity.

Further reading

For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business
For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business
by Kevin Werbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionize your business by using game thinking !, 6 Nov. 2012
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I am kind of biased here as I was one of the 8000 students of Kevin Werbach's online course on Coursera (Gamification 2012) who got the certification. The online course itself was excellent and very much engaging. Certainly highly recommended!

The book start with a general introduction and builds up by asking the question if gamification is right for your business challenge (following four core questions):
- Motivation: Where would you derive value from encouraging behavior?
- Meaningful choices: Are your target activities sufficiently interesting?
- Structure: Can the desired behaviors be modeled through a set of algorithms?
- Potential conflicts: Can the game avoid conflicts with existing motivational structures?

It continues on what makes gamification work - what motivates? Furthermore it explores game elements like the classic PBL triad (points, badges and leaderboards) in all its details.

The book continues with a very clear framework on how to create a gamified system. Having worked out myself a business model following this six steps framework, I can gladly say it does makes sense to follow these steps to get actual results rather fast.

A nice chapter on possible pitfalls is added at the very end.

This book "For the Win" delivers nicely as a good introduction on the interesting topic of gamification. Keep in mind it is actually only 100 pages about, so when expecting an in-depth look into gamification you will need to look elsewhere. Despite being short (in pages) it does cover the concepts of gamification very nicely.

A great introduction!


Introduction: Why can't business be fun?
Level 1: Getting into the Game: An introduction to gamification.
Level 2: Game Thinking: Learning to think like a game designer.
Level 3: Why Games Work: The rules of motivation.
Level 4: The Gamification Toolkit: Game elements.
Level 5: Game Changer: Six steps to gamification.
Level 6: Epic fails: And how to avoid them.
Endgame: In conclusion
Additional resources
About the authors

The Strategist
The Strategist
by Cynthia Montgomery
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Added value, 24 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Strategist (Hardcover)
This rather small book (189 pages) follows the strategy course given at the Harvard's executive Owner/President Management (EOP) program. That fact gets mentioned quite a few times throughout the book. This excessive reminding was not needed as the book is good on its own.

Overall the information on strategy covered here is not new (purpose finding, Porter's 5 forces, value creation...) but it does cover mistakes over-confident managers might make when tackling their business strategy. Especially the chapter 'the myth of the super manager' is brilliant in that regard. The book points to some tools and insights that could come in handy (industry effect versus firm effect, profit frontier, strategy wheel, ..) and therefore showing the limitations, challenges or opportunities managers have to deal with in getting their strategy worked out (or revisited).

The business cases used are Nasco furniture, Ikea, Gucci, Ink for less, Lance! Sports group, AmREIT, Steve Jobs (Apple 1.0, NeXT, Pixar, Apple 2.0). All cases are used here as an excellent educational tool for what is needed at each stage to get that strategy worked-out.

A pleasant and fast read!

Introduction: What I learned in office hours
1 Strategy and leadership
2 Are you a strategist
3 The myth of the super manager
4 Begin with purpose
5 Turn purpose into reality
6 Own your strategy
7 Keep it vibrant
8 The essential strategist
Author's note
Frequently asked questions
Recommended reading

Get Them On Your Side: Win Support, Convert Skeptics, Get Results
Get Them On Your Side: Win Support, Convert Skeptics, Get Results
by Samuel B. Bacharach
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great roadmap to make ideas and leadership happen!, 20 Aug. 2012
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Occasionally I come across a very good book that has stayed under the radar. For one reason or another, this book did not become a bestseller while it fully deserves to be one.

We all had good ideas, and we all have seen some of our ideas (or ideas of colleagues) been blocked in organizations. The reason is straightforward as a good idea (or project) is not enough. You need political competence to bring it, to keep it alive and to go to the very end with it.

This "politically competent leadership" process is illustrated in 3 steps: by mapping the political terrain, to get them on your side and to make things happen. This process gets very clearly explained and some "real life" situations have been nicely sandwiched between for further illustration.

The positive element of this book is that it finally covers an important element of leadership: being able to get your ideas across and executed in an efficient and effective way. This is an excellent read for leaders, managers, and certainly project managers (managers leading by influence). It is a down to earth description on how to get people onboard from start to finish. It is written in a very realistic and positive manner as everybody has his own agenda (agendas that might match fully, in parts or not at all with your agenda).

Sure, some topics covered here might come across familiar, still the author covers the strategic, tactical and coalition leadership extremely well from A to Z (including obvious benefits but also the risks and pitfalls for each step of the process).

The negative element of this book is that it uses a classic 2x2 matrix to map agendas (what are the goals of others - tinkering or overhauling, what are the approaches of others - improvising or planning). It is understandable why the author uses this 2x2 matrix as a starting point, still it is assumed here that everybody follows a logic agenda.

It is clear that agendas of certain people can be irrational, with thinking errors or being plain destructive (lose/lose interactions). To illustrate his further: Kessler et al. (1994) claims even that about 30 percent of all adults have a major psychiatric disorder at any given point of time. In organizations these numbers are probably a bit lower, still 30 percent in a population is a very large number to start with.

Although the 2x2 matrix used by the author is a very good starting point (with all its limitations), it can be helpful to include insights like from Patricia Pitchers (The drama of leadership). It is worthwhile to mention that Jeffrey Pfeffer and Manfred Kets De Vries covered similar topics (on power, on irrational individual and organizational behavior).

If you are interested in people, project or change management, effective and efficient leadership (versus wanting to be right) this is an excellent well written roadmap to make ideas happen!


Part I: Map the political terrain
1.Anticipate reaction
2.Analyze goals and approaches
3.Understand agendas
4.Identify allies and resistors

Part II: Get them on your side
5.Create your coalition
6.Establish your credibility
7.Get initial support
8.Justify your action

Part III: Make things happen
9.Get the buy-in
10.Put your ideas in place
11.Lead the coalition

Conclusion - The politically competent leader
Relevant reading

Take Charge Product Management: Take Charge of Your Product Management Development; Tips, Tactics, and Tools to Increase Your Effectiveness as a Product Manager
Take Charge Product Management: Take Charge of Your Product Management Development; Tips, Tactics, and Tools to Increase Your Effectiveness as a Product Manager
by Greg Geracie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Content-wise a very strong book, 5 Aug. 2012
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The author gives here a step-by-step approach on how to tackle (new and present) product management from start to finish.

In each chapter the author uses:

-A 'story' at the start of each chapter to illustrate what a product manager needs to move forward.
-Practical or theoretical pointers, tips and tools (progressively illustrated chapter by chapter).
-Each chapter ends with a summary of tip for taking charge.

The chapter layouts come across rather messy and even unstructured throughout the book (something that easily could be improved for the next editions). Do not let this element stop you, as the actual content itself is really good in giving a good overview on what product management is about.

In this rather small book of 230 pages the author does a great job to cover all the elements needed to get (new or existing) product management started (and going). The book is just so rich in tips and tricks that all can learn a lot more (or just that little bit extra) on product management.

Content-wise this is a very solid book...a great introduction or refresher. I loved reading it.


Chapter 1: Your mission, should you choose to accept it
-Minting product managers
-What exactly is product management?
-About this book
-Chapter one's tips for taking charge

Chapter 2: The role of product manager
-Your responsibilities as a product manager
-Challenges you can expect to encounter
-Skills to succeed
-Balancing competing priorities
-Consensus building and cross-functional teams
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 3: Key activities to help you succeed
-Immerse yourself in your organization's objectives
-Understanding your company's growth stage and its impact
-Different product management approaches
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 4: Establish firm footing
-Begin by taking inventory
-Informally survey your internal constituents
-Developing a preliminary plan (hypothesis)
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 5: Formulate a winning approach to the market
-Develop a vision for your offering
-Justify with a solid business case
- Vest your organization
- Tips for taking charge

Chapter 6: Moving from vision to execution
-Product life cycle management (PLM) framework
-Product decision-making framework
-Leveraging cross-functional teams at this place
-Developing product roadmaps
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 7: Product development
-Staying in sync with the development team
-Further defining requirements
-Maintaining flexibility
-Iterating with customers
-Supporting the product launch
-The emergence of Agile
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 8: Never take your eyes off the market
-Market dynamics and competitive analysis framework
-Develop a system to capture near real-time market information
-Tips for taking charge

Chapter 9: Documenting results
-Objective data is essential for your success
-Making the shift to proactive product management
-Leaving documentation behind for those who follow
-Tips for taking charge


The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must to read for B2B complex sales, 15 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Three elements I like to share after reading this book:

Positive element:

B2B sales, complex sales, product selling versus solutions selling, and insights based selling...winning business even when there is a down market....and hard study data providing some very interesting insights on how you could improve your sales overall (study data: n=700 first, later n=6000).

Myself I liked reading on the 5 types of sales reps (the hard worker, the challenger, the relationship builder, the lone wolf and the reactive problem solver) and on how successful each type of sales rep actually is. It is a nice to know that the challenger sales rep makes actually 54% of total high performers (at least in a complex sales environment), thus making the challenger profile very likely to succeed in a complex sales environment.

The book illustrates further the 6 attributes that these challengers have in common (44 attributes tested):
- offers the customer unique perspectives
- has strong 2-way communication skills
- knows the individual customer's value drivers
- can identify economic drivers of the customer's business
- is comfortable discussing money
- can pressure the customer.

The book builds also on elements what contribute to customer loyalty -> the purchase experience:
- offers unique valuable perspectives on the market
- helps me navigate alternatives
- provides ongoing advice or consultation
- helps me avoid potential land mines
- educates me on new issues and outcomes
- supplier is easy to buy from
- supplier has widespread support across my organization.

And the book builds on how to provide those insights as sales rep, on how to tailor your message, on how to take control of the sale (and negotiate the sale), on how to manage your sales reps and on how to implement these challenger sale changes in your organization.

The book delivers very nicely on providing hard data, the importance of these data, and changes needed to excel in a complex sales.

Negative element:

A classic problem with sales books is that all claim to give you the most advanced and most unique sale system on the planet. The authors do give a data solid case for their method, still it has to withstand the test of time. On the other hand, the book is complete from A to Z. And the data gives some really nice (and yes perhaps even unexpected) insights on how complex sale could improve.

Interesting element:

The authors here made a great effort not only to give you the data but also to "respectfully" teach the reader how to implement these insights (as obtained from the study). Therefore they actually sell the reader these insights just according to the principles uncovered by the study. The book itself is really a complete "product". I could not find unnecessary chapters or paragraphs for example.

Well written, great editing and excellent structure: combined this makes this book a very nice read on how complex sales could improve - for yourself, for your client, for you as manager or coach and organization.

Really nice done!

Introduction: a surprising look into the future
1. The evolving journey of solution selling
2. The Challenger - Part 1: A new model for high performance
3. The Challenger - Part 2: Exporting the model to the core
4. Teaching for differentiation - Part 1: Why insights matters
5. Teaching for differentiation - Part 2: How to build insight-led conversations
6. Tailoring for resonance
7. Taking control of the sale
8. The manager and the Challenger selling model
9. Implementation lessons from the early adopters
Afterword: Challenging beyond sales
Appendix A: Challenger coaching guide
Appendix B: Selling style self-diagnostic
Appendix C: Challenger hiring guide: Key questions to ask in the interview

Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate
Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate
by Roger Fisher
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Added value, 23 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If interested in negotiation you will find this book to be of added value as many books on negotiation cover only the rational aspects of negotiation. This book follows the Harvard Program on Negotiation (PON) school of thought of going for win-win interactions.

Emotions do happen and this book covers nicely possible approaches in dealing with this important element (while keeping full respect for yourself and for the other party at the negotiation table).

The 5 key points covered here (express appreciation, build affiliation, respect autonomy, acknowledge status and role) are very handy to know and to apply whether you are negotiating, building a (business) relationship or dealing with customers at all levels (business development, consulting, sales, contract negotiation, complaint handling, problem solving,...).

If interested in negotiation I would suggest reading additional material as this book only deals with the emotional aspects. I would certainly suggest Beyond winning, Getting to Yes, Getting past No, Negotiation Genius, 3D Negotiation, Hostage at the table, or any negotiation course at Harvard Law School - the Program on Negotiation (PON).

A great read...


I The Big Picture
1. Emotions are powerful, always present, and hard to handle
2. Address the concern, not the emotion

II Take the initiative
3. Express appreciation - Find merit in what others think, feel or do and show it
4. Build Affiliation - Turn an adversary into a colleague
5. Respect autonomy - Expand yours (and don't impinge upon theirs)
6. Acknowledge status - Recognize high standing wherever deserved
7. Choose a fulfilling role - and select the activities within in

III Some additional advice
8. On strong negative emotions - They happen. Be ready.
9. On being prepared - Prepare on process, substance, and emotion
10. On using these ideas in the `Real world' - A personal account by Jamil Mahuad, former president of Ecuador

IV Conclusion
V End matter

Seven elements of negotiation
Works consulted
Analytical table of contents
About the authors

Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field
Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field
by Ford Harding
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good review or starter, 6 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Overall there are 3 ways to increase you firm's revenues and this book does a great job to covering these 3 topics:

- Increase the pool you are fishing in (increase the network size)
- Increase the percentage of buyers from that pool
- Increase revenue from each buyer (repeat buyers)

The skills to succeed at growing revenue for each of these 3 ways are quite different .This book covers these 3 angles to increase revenue in a top down fashion. It claims to be aimed at non-sales professionals but I believe everybody could pick up a couple of ideas from this book. I can imagine freelancers would find this book very useful as it covers basics like how to build a reputation (online and offline).

4 Main parts are found back:

- Marketing Tactics: How professionals build reputation and generate leads
- Building a network: How professionals develop a sustainable source of leads
- Sales Tactics: How professionals advance and close a sale
- Tactics to Strategy: What works and what doesn't

Even just dipping in the book gives tons of approaches, ideas, techniques, guidelines and charts to get those leads going. It results in a good overview classic on how to sell and market no matter what your field - A good review book I would say or starter.

I loved reading it.

Contents (Rainmaking 2nd Edition):

Part I Marketing Tactics: How professionals build reputation and generate leads
1 - Writing and publishing your article
2 - Finding a podium
3 - Marketing by mail
4 - Organizing seminars and conferences
5 - Getting publicity
6 - A few words on the web (by Matt Caspari)
7 - Eliminating the dread of cold calling

Part II Building a network: How professionals develop a sustainable source of leads
8 - Networking: The alternative to cold calling
9 - Special rules for special networks: trade associations, formal networking groups, and internal networks.
10 - Increasing network quality (by Mimi Spangler and Gary Pines)
11 - How markets structure networks
12 - From networks to leads
13 - Building client relationships that last

Part III Sales Tactics: How professionals advance and close a sale
14 - The sales meeting: The first 5 minutes
15 - The sales meeting: Questioning and listening
16 - The sales meeting: Offering your solution
17 - The sales meeting: Formal presentations
18 - The sales meeting: Handling questions and concerns
19 - Team selling
20 - Shortening the sales cycle
21 - Writing a proposal
22 - Quoting a fee
23 - Turning down small work
24 - When you lose a sale

Part IV From Tactics to Strategy: What works and what doesn't
25 - The logic of a sales strategy
26 - Simple strategies that can help you now
27 - Self-marketing: Experts make themselves
28 - Market-based strategies

Conclusion: Becoming a Rainmaker

Meditation in A New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy
Meditation in A New York Minute: Super Calm for the Super Busy
by Mark Thornton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imagine a world where...., 22 Jan. 2012
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Quote of the book: "Imagine a world where you could: De-stress effortlessly, Feel centered no matter what, Easily create an oasis of calm anywhere in your day, Feel powerfully connected to life, Begin to perceive stress as optional. All without changing anything from your busy schedule!"

I was a bit skeptical but the author actually delivers on his promises, with this small (140 pages) but well structured book.

This book is perfect for the absolute beginner, the very busy people and the more advanced meditation student. What I especially liked here is a good description of the potential pitfalls and the most likely "problems" you might come across while learning to meditate or while meditating.

The book is structured around 3 parts: the journey, the essentials, and the techniques. This again makes it very useful to read through as beginner or advanced meditator.

There are 20 meditation techniques illustrated in this book (each covered in 3-4 pages). Each meditation technique description starts with a background, benefits, description of the technique itself, tips and common problems some might experience learning or using the technique.

I understand the author wanted to cover 20 techniques to show you can practice meditation anytime and everywhere. Still if you happen to start with meditation I would suggest to start with 2-3 techniques max, as you probably get overwhelmed when attempting the 20 techniques shown here from the start (the author mentions this risk though). Less is more.

This is a really nice small book to get you started. Excellent done!

Techniques covered are:
1. Power breath
2. Breathing energy
3. Breath of Life
4. Chi Gung Breath for Calm
5. Body awareness
6. Total awareness
7. Eating with awareness
8. Walking with awareness
9. Showering with awareness
10. Commuting with awareness
11. Total awareness at the gym
12. Anchors I
13. Anchors II
14. Magnify Heart Energy
15. Magnify Wisdom
16. The Open Body
17. Chi Gung for Calm
18. White Light
19. Seeing the Good in All people
Bonus technique: Dealing with Anger

Similar books I recommend are:
- Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn (more body/mind mindfulness related, still a great read)
- Anger: Buddhist Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, by Thich Nhat Hanh (on mindfulness and dealing with strong emotions; search also for Plumvillage, France or EIAB, Germany)
- Other books by Thich Nhat Hanh (as he has a great way to cover mindfulness with great empathy).

Table of Contents:


Part 1: The Journey (Chapters 1-2)
1. Why Meditate....and Why Now?
2. Journey to your Heart

Part 2: The Essentials (Chapters 3-7)
3. The 8 Laws of Meditation
4. The 5 Secrets of Super Calm
5. The 11 Thieves
6. Seven sages for your Journey
7. Take time for Calm

Part 3: The Techniques (Chapter 8-15)
8. The path of 13000 steps
9. The path of the present
10. The path of remembering
11. The path of heart
12. The path of focus
13. The path of open body
14. The path of visualization
15. The ideal day: putting it all together

Never Lose Again: Become a Top Negotiator by Asking the Right Questions
Never Lose Again: Become a Top Negotiator by Asking the Right Questions
by Steven Babitsky
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars About bargaining, not about negotiation, 10 Jan. 2012
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Look this book deserves only 1 star.

1)From the 18 reviewers (at 11 reviewers wrote only 1 single review EVER.
2)All reviewers wrote their review in the Jan 6 - Jan 13, 2011 period.
3)All reviewers surprisingly give 5 stars for this book.

It is a marketing stunt I haven't seen yet here on Amazon review.

Regarding the book itself:

This book is actually not about negotiation at all, but about bargaining only. If the sub-title was `become a top specialist in bargaining' then this book would make more sense.

From a negotiation point of view (at least when following the Harvard PON school of thought so to speak) this book is about winning at all cost. The other party does not matter here. The win-win aspect of negotiation (as brought forward early '80) is now 30 years later completely ignored.

So get real, this book is far removed from any element of negotiation.

The only positive point I can see in this book is that it covers 50 possible questions you might get from hard bargainers or negotiators that go evil(and therefore give good reason to walk away from the negotiation table). Each question gets actually well worked out including a `lesson' at the end and hints on how to respond when asked such or such question. So if interested in becoming better in bargaining, go for it.

On the other hand, if seriously interested in negotiation I would suggest books like Beyond winning (no pun intended), Getting to Yes, Getting past No, Negotiation Genius, 3D Negotiation, Hostage at the table, Beyond reason, or any negotiation course at Harvard Law School - the Program on Negotiation (PON).

Sadly, this book is teaching you a very one-dimensional attempt on negotiation.

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