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Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

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Describes a method of negotiation that isolates problems, focuses on interests, creates new options, and uses objective criteria to help two parties reach an agreement Amazon.com description: Product Description: Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution. Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.This is by far the best thing I`ve ever read about negotiation. It is equally relevant for the individual who would like to keep his friends, property, and income and the statesman who would like to keep the peace." --John Kenneth Galbraith"

200 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1981

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About the author

Roger Fisher

66 books221 followers
Roger Fisher is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law Emeritus, Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, and the founder of two consulting organizations devoted to strategic advice and negotiation training.

See also: Roger Fisher (academic) on Wikipedia

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,348 reviews
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews715 followers
April 25, 2017
The books okay I guess but a lot of the strategies are so intuitive and the writing wasn't the greatest. Again it's the same thing with all these business books where if you've read one the rest usually don't add anything new but if you haven't read any it could be insightful. These books are usually just useful for helping organize ones thoughts and realize things they couldn't other wise but you can achieve that with some quite thinking time also.

Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
September 24, 2012
I attended a class on International Negotiations at the Foreign Service Institute this week and we were assigned this book to read for the class. I thought the book was rather straightforward and I liked the anecdotes. Overall, I think it was a good selection for our class and helped to emphasize the points being taught. I doubt I will become a master negotiator, but I do see benefits from this book and class in my personal life.

Some of the lessons I learned in class include the following:

"People won't let you change their mind unless they trust you." Thomas Colosi

"Treat every meeting as a negotiation." Thomas Colosi

"People who only use the formal negotiation process will not often be very successful." Thomas Colosi

"First rule of negotiating: Be nice." Carmen Suro-Bredie

interesting quotes from the book:

"A generation ago, the term 'negotiation' also had an adversarial conotation. In contemplating a negotiation, the common question in people's minds was 'Who is going to win and who is going to lose?' To reach an agreement someone had to 'give in.' It was not a pleasant prospect. The idea that both sides could benefit, that both could 'win,' was foreign to many of us. Now it is increasingly recognized that there are cooperative ways of negotiating over differences and that even if a 'win-win' solution cannot be found, a wise agreement can still often be reached that is better for both sides than the alternative." (p. xii)

"In a negotiation, particularly in a bitter dispute, feelings may be more important than talk." (p. 31)

"An apology may be one of the least costly and most rewarding investments you can make." (p. 35)

"No matter how many people are involved in a negotiation, important decisions are typically made when no more than two people are in the room." (p. 38)

"If you want someone to listen and understand your reasoning, give your interests and reasoning first and your conclusions or proposals later." (p. 54)

"Few things facilitate a decision as much as precedent." (p. 80)

"In short, the approach is commit yourself to reaching a solution based on principle, not pressure. Concentrate on the merits of the problem, not the mettle of the parties. Be open to reason, but closed to threats." (p. 84)

"Some of the most effective negotiating you will ever do is when you are not talking." (p. 114)

"Some parties locked into adversarial ruts seem unable to consider alternative approaches until they reach the brink of mutual annihilation, and some not even then." (p. 155)

"Before you even begin to negotiate, it makes sense to envision what a successful agreement might look like." (p. 175)
Profile Image for Bob Selden.
Author 7 books34 followers
August 4, 2008
“Getting to Yes” is the benchmark by which all other books on negotiating should be judged. Authors Fisher, Patton and Ury have penned a book that has become a classic in its class as their negotiating principles have been used and quoted again and again the world over.

“Getting to Yes” is quite deceptive at first – it seems a little light weight as it is so easy to read. In fact one could read it from cover to cover in half a day quite easily. Yet, the four principles outlined in their negotiating method whilst simple in nature are comprehensive and effective. This is one of the first books on negotiating to break away from the “hard v’s soft” negotiating paradigm by introducing “principled” negotiating – ie. negotiating on the basis of both party’s needs, not positions. Fisher et al, also cover very well the “What if” situations where the other party maybe more powerful, uses dirty tricks or won’t play the game.

This book should be essential reading for everyone who has to negotiate with someone else over reaching a decision – and isn’t that all of us?
Profile Image for C.
1,101 reviews1,047 followers
September 9, 2021
This book is a very useful and detailed guide to negotiating for mutual gain. It’s a mix of theory, application, and examples. The advice is realistic; it says to be optimistic but aware of your limits. I’ve seen this book mentioned in magazines like Inc. and Entrepreneur, and a few business and sales books. I finally decided to read it when it was recommended on This Week in Web Design.

Main ideas
• Understand empathetically their point of view.
• Explain your interests and reasoning before presenting your proposal. Otherwise, they may not listen to your reasoning.
• Never yield to pressure; only to principle.
• Expand the pie, don’t simply divide it. Aim for mutual gain.
• Negotiate to strengthen the relationship, not strain it.

Separate the People from the Problem
• Don’t blame.
• Involve them in the decision-making process.
• Talk about both sides’ emotions.
• An apology defuses emotions, even if you don’t take personal responsibility for the situation.
• Describe how the problem affects you, rather than accusing them.
• Sit and act side-by-side, not face-to-face.

Focus on Interests, Not Positions
• Show that you understand their interests.
• Don’t argue about the past; decide on the future.

Invent Options for Mutual Gain
• Shrink the scope of a proposal to reduce perceived risk; offer a trial phase.
• Offers are usually more effective than threats.

Insist on Using Objective Criteria
• Frame each issue as a joint search for objective criteria. Ask “What’s your theory?” or “how did you arrive at that proposal?”
• Agree on standards before negotiating.
• Go to a third party if necessary.

Develop Your BATNA
• Your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) helps determine the minimally acceptable agreement, and will likely raise that minimum.

Negotiation Ninjitsu
• Invite criticism about your proposal; ask what they’d do in your situation.
• Use questions, not statements.
• Be silent after they give an unsatisfactory answer; they’ll feel compelled to re-answer.
• Say, “please correct me if I’m wrong” to appear open to correction.
• Express gratitude for what they’ve done so far. Say, “I appreciate what you’ve done.”
• It’s not a question of trust, it’s a question of principle.
• Give a credible reason for taking a break from negotiating, such as talking it over with another.

Taming the Hard Bargainer
• When someone uses their “hardhearted partner” as an excuse, first get their commitment in writing, then ask to speak to the partner.

Ten Questions People Ask
• Negotiating doesn’t require compromising your principles. Find a solution consistent with both sides’ principles.
• Propose your opening figure as a suggestion based on objective standards, not a firm position.
• The more you try for, the more you’re likely to get.
Profile Image for Katie.
515 reviews205 followers
June 19, 2017
This is a 3.5 for me. Why did I like Getting Past No better? I think it's because I've been told NO a lot more in my life. You want to join the varsity soccer team? No. You want us to hire you? No. You want affordable rent? No. There was a solid trend there for about 15 years.

There's plenty of applicable knowledge in Getting to Yes, but the authors even admit at the end of the book that you probably already knew it all: This is intended to be a framework to help you define and practice what you know.

It was useful to see different negotiating techniques outlined (hard, soft, and principled), as well as when to use them. I also like a lot of the general teachings around what you should focus on when negotiating:
- Separate people from the problem
- Focus on interests, not positions
- Invent options for mutual gain
- Insist on using objective criteria
- And as a last resort, have a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)

There are some great general tips around these teachings (like understanding your opponent's BATNA). I probably would have rated this higher if I'd read it in high school...and I wish I had done so back then for a lot of reasons.
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews343 followers
July 25, 2015
Bad news, everybody: I've turned into a bore. You can tell, because on my first weekend of No Work At All in about six weeks, here I am, reading a guide to negotiation, cover to cover. It's official: I now do CPD for fun. Would you want to talk to me at a party? I wouldn't.

Which is kind of a shame, because this is pretty good. Full of excellent advice, useful scripts and contingency plans. Anecdotes from everything between lease negotiations and the preparatory talks for the Law of the Sea Convention. (This international law graduate particularly enjoyed those bits.) It was well laid out, and well written - clearly by someone who can think of nothing more fun than three consecutive days sat round a table brainstorming ideas. It wasn't ludicrously chirpy or full of buzzwords. It didn't try to make common sense sound like pseudoscience (looking at you, Seven Successful Habits).

It's really nice to come across a book about negotiation that values collaboration, cares about people's individual interests and feelings, doesn't want anyone to get shafted. I love that it's not even specific to commercial contexts: it's written in a way that emphasised injecting fairness into all sorts of communications, like partners, landlords, insurers. There was hardly any hot air at all, I'm astonished. I have a feeling I'm going to come back to this often - and so should you, you know.
Profile Image for Roberto Suarez.
13 reviews2 followers
January 21, 2013
After reading "Getting to Yes", I realized the "bottom line" to negotiation is not the most effective approach to get to what everyone wants and its not to see the negotiation game as a win/lose experience, but a way to develop relationships. Similar to playing frisbee and the relationship of marriage, there are scenarios that have no place for win/lose negotiations because ultimately they will all end with lose/lose results. Individuals should focus, "To be better, the process must, of course, produce good substantive results; winning on the merits may not be the only goal, but certainly losing is not the answer." Therefore, it is better to understand the interests of what underly negotiation requests. It's not enough to know the facts of what's being negotiated, because alternatives can not be generated. Knowing your BATNA will "probably raise your minimum". Asking questions to find out more about an individual(s) position/interest, is more productive to come to alternative results that leads to win/win results.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,293 reviews21.7k followers
September 13, 2014
I read this book years and years ago and then, recently, I was helping to write an article on Asia literacy and how this is treated in the Australian media and one of the things that struck me was how much was written about how Australia would benefit economically from a booming Asia, but how little was written about how Asia might benefit from having a relationship with Australia. One of the things this book tells you over and over again is that to really negotiate you need to spend at least as much time thinking about ‘their’ position as you do thinking about ‘yours’. There is a lot of this that is really worthwhile. It is written as a kind of self-help book – and I mean that negatively, but it was a choice they made and so you have to accept that, in a sense. One of the best pieces of advice in this is that if you are going to negotiate ethically, you need to focus on ‘reasons’. That is, try to keep the discussion on why something is fair or what other people have done which can be used as a standard for negotiations.

Now, I found this book hard going this time. Mostly because I worked as a negotiator for a trade union full time for 8 years and as a senior delegate for 20 and this brought back far too many bad memories. And while I really do understand that the techniques discussed here are very useful, there actually are times when there are no objective measures by which to conduct negotiations. This is particularly true when you are trying to negotiate for ‘better’ conditions and wages. Then references to what has gone before and what is consistent with that simply tie the negotiations down and mean you can never expect any better - which is precisely why management seek to use that as a technique. At one of the last negotiations I was involved in the 'gold standard' that was offered was economists perception of the likely rate of inflation in 12 months to two years from the time of the negotiation. This was 2009 - immediately after virtually not a single economist had predicted the GFC. Finding 'gold standards' with this stuff sometimes can be a real challenge.

But, that said, you probably aren’t going to really be doing industrial negotiations, you are much more likely to be doing negotiations involving spouses or kids or your local mechanic. And the techniques used here for framing the negotiations and for teaching you ways to remain calm are really, really useful.

All the same, the self-help book style of this one is a bit hard to take. So this is basically some really good advice said in just about the worst way possible.
Profile Image for Mike.
65 reviews4 followers
July 29, 2011
This book was recommended to me by about a dozen friends, colleagues, and professors before I finally decided to read it. Getting to Yes was a good mix between text book technique and anecdotal evidence in negotiations. It taught me to separate the people from the problem and to strive toward common interests to create a win-win relationship instead of playing a game of positioning for a win-lose scenario. I definitely recommend it to anyone who works for a living, anyone who pays rent or a mortgage, anyone who has a significant other or spouse, anyone with siblings, and the list goes on, basically everyone should read this book. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

- Be soft on the people but hard on the issue at hand

- How you see the world depends on where you sit

- Understanding someone's point of view is not the same as agreeing with it

- An open mind is not the same thing as an empty one

- Silence is one of your best weapons... use it.

- If you want a horse to jump a fence, don't first raise the fence

- Be open to reason and closed to threats

- Never yield to pressure, yield only to reason

- Deal with people as human beings an djudge the problem based on its merits

- Conflict does not lay in objective reality but rather in people's heads

- The reason you negotiate is to produce something better than you could obtain without negotiating

- Negotiating Jujitsu (read the book to learn what this is, it's a great concept)
Profile Image for Yevgeniy Brikman.
Author 3 books602 followers
March 31, 2021
I can see why this book is so famous. It's one of those rare business books that has no filler material: it's concise, to the point, and stuffed full of powerful ideas and insights. Well worth reading for anyone, as negotiation skills are useful in all aspects of life, and not just business: e.g., buying a house, getting a better job offer, convincing your kids to do something, etc all require negotiation.

Some key insights I got from this book:

(A) Don't use positional bargaining, where you toss offers back and forth and defend positions (this is the default for most people). E.g.,

"I'll give you $20."
"What? It's worth at least $100!"
"$100 for this old thing? No way. Best I can do is $25."
"It's not old, it's a classic. $95."
"But it's dirty! I'll have to spend time cleaning it. No way it's worth more than $30."
"It's a one-of-a-kind. $90."

And so on and so forth. This approach is ineffective, as all you're doing is getting more and more entrenched in your positions, and once entrenched, you then defend those positions, not because they lead to a better deal for you, but because you want to save face. Each side in such a negotiation does a lot of posturing, takes extreme positions, only offers small concessions, and the negotiation often takes forever as a result. Worst of all, even if you do come to an agreement, this sort of process can be bruising, hurting your relationship and eroding trust.

(B) Instead, use principled negotiation. This is based on 5 principles:

1. Separate the people from the problem
2. Focus on interests, not positions
3. Invent options for mutual gain
4. Insist on using objective criteria
5. Know your BATNA

I'll dive into each of these next.

(C) Separate the people from the problem. All negotiations are done by people, and if you don't take into account the way people think, feel, and communicate, you will not be an effective negotiator.

- Attack the problem; never the person. Ideally, you both see the negotiation as a problem you solve jointly. E.g., If you're negotiating a job offer, instead of thinking of it as you vs the employer, think of the problem as "how do we build something great together" that you and the employer are solving together.

- How a person feels during the negotiation—not the facts, not the positions, not the power relationship, but how they feel—is often the most important aspect in determining the outcome. Dismiss the feelings of others at your peril.

- Try to give the other side a win. There are often things you're "obviously" willing to concede in a negotiation; don't assume those are obvious, but call them out explicitly instead, to give the other side an easy win. Look for wins for the other side that are cheap for you to concede, but valuable for them. Similarly, let the other side save face. You're far more likely to get the concessions you want if you can give the other side a way to concede those things without putting their reputation or personal identity at stake.

- Listen actively. That means acknowledging what the other person is saying, and repeating it back to them in your own words to make sure you've understood them. Understanding the other side is not the same as agreeing with them. Making the other person feel like they have been heard and understood is perhaps the cheapest concession you can make.

- When expressing your feelings, focus on how they affect you, rather than attacking the other person. For example, instead of, "you are a racist," try, "I feel discriminated against." If you attack the other person, they will become defensive, and push back; if you express how that thing makes you feel, there's not much they can argue against, but it still delivers the same information.

- When presenting information, remember that the word "but" is the great eraser: it negates everything that came before it. Try to use "and" instead. E.g., "Your offer of $100K is very generous, but I can't accept it unless you also add 4 weeks of vacation time" makes the generous sound like meaningless flattery. Whereas "Your offer of $100K is very generous, and I'll be thrilled to accept it if we can add 4 weeks of vacation time" makes the generous sound like why you want to accept the offer.

(D) Focus on interests, not positions. Behind every position someone takes in a negotiation, such as "I'll only sell this for $100," there are some underlying interests that they are trying to meet, such as, "I paid $85 for it and need to make a profit or I go out of business." Most negotiations should focus on flushing out the interests of both parties, rather than positions.

- Knowing the underlying interests increases the chances of finding a solution that makes everyone happy without resorting to a compromise that doesn't make anyone happy. This was the same point in Never Split the Difference. You'll often find that there are interests you can meet for the other side at little cost to you, and that the other side can meet for you at little cost to them, leading to a better deal for everyone. For example, when negotiating a job offer, if you just toss back and forth salary numbers, you are unlikely to get a result that makes everyone happy. But if you flush out the interests, you may find out that the employer's interests are around being able to get great employees for a long time while minimizing cash spend, while the employee's interests are around a good work-life balance; you can then shift the negotiation to discussing equity and PTO, leading to an offer that works better for everyone.

(E) Invent options for mutual gain. Once you know everyone's interests, the next step is to try to come up with as many options as you can that could possibly meet everyone's interests.

- Many people think of negotiation as a zero-sum game, where if you get more, I get less, but that's rarely the case. In most negotiations, there are many ways to grow the pie before splitting it. Don't assume there's just one solution; instead, be open to exploring options, and you'd often be surprised what you'll find. Example: two people are in a library, and one wants the window open, while the other wants it closed. This seems like a zero-sum game, where if one wins and the other loses, but it might not be! For example, if you start with the underlying needs, you may find the person who wants it open is interested in fresh air, while the person that wants it closed is interested in avoiding a draft that would blow papers all over the place. If you then start tossing options out, you may discover one that makes both parties happy: open a window in another room! This gives you fresh air without the draft. Both parties win.

- You should explicitly try to separate the process of coming up with options from the process of deciding. For example, you can have a brainstorming session where (a) everyone is encouraged to toss out ideas, (b) no one is committing in any way to any decision during the brainstorming session, (c) in fact, no one is allowed to judge or criticize ideas at all during the brainstorming session. The point is to encourage coming up with as many ideas as you can, no matter how wild or crazy. Ideas tend to build on each other, leading to far better options than you may have originally considered. This process works best if you are both sitting on the same side of the table, facing a white board, as you toss out ideas. In fact, sitting on the same side of the table is a good idea in general in a negotiation, as it'll make you feel like you're working on a problem together, rather than against each other ("separate the people from the problem").

- As you toss out options, make sure you understand what decision the other side is really making. That is, the person you're negotiating with directly is rarely the only party involved. They almost always have to convince someone else—a boss, a spouse, a colleague, etc. Make sure you understand who these other parties are, and give the person you're negotiating with ammo they can use to convince those other parties. Also, try to make the decision easy for them: e.g., give them an option that makes them look really good in front of their boss.

(F) Insist on using objective criteria. Whenever possible, look for objective criteria you can use for coming up with options. E.g., Instead of making up a price off the top of your head for a car, look at what similar cars are selling for in other dealerships or what the value is in Kelly's Blue Book.

- Objective criteria changes it from a battle of wills to a common baseline you can both use.

- If the other side doesn't want to play along and just tosses out positions, ask them how they came up with those: "E.g., I see you're offering $100, but what's the theory behind that? How did you come up with that price? What are you basing that on?"

(G) Know your BATNA. BATNA = Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. If the negotiation falls through, you should always know in advance what your fallback is—and what the fallback is for the other side!

- Flush out your BATNA in advance. In fact, you may have to actively work to improve your BATNA. This is especially important in negotiations where the power is not equal: e.g., a solo employee negotiating with a huge company is in a much better position if they have several job offers, and their BATNA is "take another job," rather than one job offer, where the BATNA is "be unemployed."

- Flush out the other side's BATNA too. You should think through it in advance, but also discuss it explicitly with them. You can actually weaken their BATNA by forcing them to flush out realistic details: e.g., "If you don't hire me for this role, you'll have to start your hiring process all over again, spend months interviewing, and there's no guarantee you'll find someone nearly as good." If they perceive their BATNA as weaker, your offer will automatically become stronger.

(H) Negotiation ju-jitsu. Just because you want to do principled negotiation doesn't mean the other side will. They may want to keep using positional bargaining, and in doing so, they will typically assert their position, attack your ideas, and attack you personally. If this happens, don't fight it head on; instead, use "ju-jitsu" to redirect them into the principled negotiation process you want.

- If they keep asserting their position, listen to it, and instead of accepting or denying it, reframe it as one option. Ask why they have adopted that position; try to unwrap if that option meets the underlying needs; play out the position, forcing them to grapple with the details to see if it works; ask what theory or standards they used to come up with that position. "Ah, OK, so you're offering $100. So now we have one option on the table. I'm curious, why $100? How did you arrive at that number? Also, how does it work in practice? If we agreed to $100, what does that do on your side? How will it work for me in terms of X, Y, and Z?"

- If they attack your ideas, don't defend your ideas, but instead, invite the criticism and advice, and then use the feedback they have presented to better understand their interests. "It looks like you're pushing back pretty hard on my suggestion to pay me based on the average salary data I presented to you for this role. What's the reasoning for that? Is there a company policy on how you calculate salaries? Are you worried that this salary is higher than other people at the company with the same role and that wouldn't be fair? Is the company struggling financially and can't afford this salary?"

- If they attack you personally, don't defend yourself. Instead, listen, and let them let off steam. Ask questions to let them flush it all out. When they have spent themselves, try to recast the personal attack as an attack on the problem. E.g., If they call you "greedy" when you ask for a higher price, try to recast it around the market: "Look, I know it's tough to build a business in this part of the world, with prices so high. I think we're all facing it. My costs are super high too. We'll have to find some way to make it work. Perhaps a payment plan might help?"

- In general, your most powerful weapon is to ask questions. If you make a statement, they can argue against it and push back. But you can deliver the same information in the form of a question—especially with a phrasing like "please correct me if I'm wrong"—leaving little to push back against; instead, it forces them to grapple with what you're asking. Also, don't forget to pause. Silence is a powerful tool. E.g., Instead of a statement like, "You charged me $X for rent, but the law says you can't charge more than $Y, so this is illegal!" you could try, "Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you charged us $X, right? Well, I saw here that the law says you can't charge more than $Y, or do I have that wrong?"

(I) One text negotiation. One way to do a negotiation, especially if there are many parties involved, is to have a mediator go around to each party individually, gather requirements, and then produce a single text (a single document) that tries to best meet all the requirements. The mediator will bring this text to each party for feedback, incorporate corrections and suggestions, and repeat the process, until there is an agreement on paper that seems to best take into account everyone's needs. At that point, the mediator goes around one more time, and offers to each party to make a single decision: Yes or No. There's no negotiating between parties, no endless battles over specific positions; just a single document, assembled by repeatedly collecting requirements & feedback, and a single decision, to either go with what the document says, or not.

(J) There are always two negotiations: negotiating the actual substance, and negotiating the rules of the negotiation itself.

- The rules are often implicit, but you're usually better making them explicit.
- If someone is playing tricks, call them out explicitly: e.g., "Looks like you have a good cop / bad cop thing going. Do you need some time to come to an agreement amongst yourselves?"
- Don't attack personally. Question the tactics, not the person.
- Ask for reciprocity. "Will you sit in this small chair tomorrow if I sit in it today?"
- Use contingencies. "Oh, so you're sure your client will make these child support payments? 100% sure? Ah, OK, so then you'll be OK with adding a contingency where if they miss the payments, we get some equity in the house?"
- Don't use threats. And call out theirs. Warnings are better, esp for things you aren't doing as a deliberate punishment. E.g., "If we don't agree to this, the press may have a field day with it."
- Don't be afraid of commitments. "I only negotiate based on reason and principle; not based on someone else's promises." "That was your final offer, but that was before we discussed X, Y, and Z."
Profile Image for Abbi.
9 reviews3 followers
April 13, 2022
I read this for work and hated every minute
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,735 reviews938 followers
August 26, 2019
This one was pretty technical. The authors really break down the thought process of having a principled negotiation instead of trying to negotiate either "soft" or "hard." They provide a variety of examples/case studies that emphasize the point. Not going to lie, this was a bit dry, but very good book if you want to read more about different leadership styles.

"Getting to Yes" breaks down key concepts from the authors such as "Don't Bargain Over Positions," "Separate the People from the Problem" and "Focus on Interests, Not Positions." Through each breakdown they go through and provide an example to emphasis their point. I thought this book at times was dry, but I like the constant reinforcement that they are trying to get to in which that every negotiation that you have with either a boss, a direct report, or peer, you can work to make sure that you are principled in your negotiations and don't need to start from a soft or hard position. I have a boss right now that all he does is try to argue his point with our whole team and never listens to a thing we say. That leads to resentment among the rest of us and also anger. It's frustrating to know that you are being ignored since the boss wants to do things his or her own way without taking into consideration other people. It didn't help in our case that he was totally wrong in his approach and we (the team) are paying for it now.

One of my favorite chapters though was "What if They Are More Powerful?" or Develop your BATNA-Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. And believe me I paid attention to this just because a deputy I work for likes to win. You can see him just thinking about his retort when other people are speaking. Drives me up the wall. This chapter though takes you through steps such as protecting yourself, the costs of knowing your bottom line, and knowing your BATNA.

Definitely recommend for a leadership course. And will say once again this is pretty dry.
Profile Image for Федор Кривов.
114 reviews10 followers
February 6, 2016
Есть третий путь ведения переговоров, предусматривающий позицию, основанную не на слабости или твердости, а скорее объединяющий и то и другое. Метод принципиальных переговоров, разработанный в рамках Гарвардского проекта по переговорам, состоит в том, чтобы решать проблемы на основе их качественных свойств, т. е. исходя из сути дела, а не торговаться по поводу того, на что может пойти или нет каждая из сторон. Этот метод предполагает, что вы стремитесь найти взаимную выгоду там, где только возможно, а там, где ваши интересы не совпадают, следует настаивать на таком результате, который был бы обоснован какими-то справедливыми нормами независимо от воли каждой из сторон. Метод принципиальных переговоров означает жесткий подход к рассмотрению существа дела, но предусматривает мягкий подход к отношениям между участниками переговоров. Он не прибегает к трюкам и не использует фактор положения. Принципиальные переговоры показывают, как достичь того, что вам полагается по праву, и остаться при этом в рамках приличий. Этот метод дает вам возможность быть справедливым, одновременно предохраняя от тех, кто мог бы воспользоваться вашей честностью.
Profile Image for Tamara.
1,414 reviews557 followers
December 31, 2011
Eye-opening. Now, how do I rewrite all of my bad habits to take advantage of the knowledge in this book...?

Could help provide a foundation for the upcoming website redesign discussions.

Favorite Tips

Separate the people from the problem.
Focus on interests, not positions.
Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.

Where perceptions are inaccurate, you can look for ways to educate. If emotions run high, you can find ways for each person involved to let off steam. Where misunderstanding exists, you can work to improve communication.

But even if blaming is justified, it is usually counterproductive.
Look for opportunities to act inconsistently with their perceptions.
Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process.
Make emotions explicit and acknowledge them as legitimate.
Allow the other side to let off steam.
Be specific. Concrete details not only make your description [of the problem] credible, they add impact.

[At this point, I got lazy and stopped reading. But I really should come back to finish at some point.]
Profile Image for Annie.
827 reviews835 followers
March 26, 2022
The book provides four principles to follow when negotiating:
1) separate the people from the problem;
2) focus on their interests rather than their positions;
3) generate a variety of options before attempting to come to an agreement;
4) insist that the agreement be based on an objective criteria.

There are chapters that cover the principles in-depth, including giving examples that illustrate how applying these principles can dramatically improve the chances of an agreement. For example, instead of saying "this room is a mess" (implying that the person is the cause of the problem), state the problem objectively, "I would like to keep this room organized." The book provides a lot of examples to learn from. The key is using and practicing the techniques. Just like reading a book on bike riding doesn't make you a capable rider, reading this book will not make you a good negotiator. You will need to practice negotiating, observing the results, developing a sensitivity to understanding situation, and using the right approach.
Profile Image for ANNEstories.
67 reviews1 follower
November 30, 2020
This book is like a slap on my face about all the failed negotiating I‘ve done in the past.🥴 How I wish I‘ve read this book waaay before. It felt like the author is enumerating all my miscues one-by-one to my face.🤪 How I agreed to some things that was and is marketly unfavorable to me.😩
That at some point- I just want to shut the book down and run and scream: I get it, stop. 😤🤬😅

I learned the hard way. And I know I can use the lessons from all that and this book firmly, vividly with high objections- moving forward. I know what to do now. Haha, I sound like I’m self-rationalizing my mistakes. Painfully.🥴

Hence, this book introduced me to concepts such as bottom line, cognitive dissonance, BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement), negotiation Jiu-Jitsu and more.

Highly recommended to business aspirants. Read read read and study beforehand. Know what you want to communicate or find out, and know what purpose an information will serve. Prevention works best. Be a principle negotiator, not a positional. 🛎

No one can make you skillfull but yourself.
Be well-prepared with external measures of value.
Good luck! 🍀

Realize that Both sides has multiple interests.
Every one just wants to be treated equally. So both sides should look for mutual gains, shared interests. That one major block in problem solving lies in the assumption of a „fixed pie“. The less for you, the more for me. Never yield to pressure, only to principle. Develop a solution that also appeals to the Interest of the other.
The more you build a standard of fairness, the more likely you are to produce a final package.
-this is, the art of negotiating.

Like it or not- You are a negotiator.
We negotiate in an informal sense with just about everyone we meet from morning to night.

Understanding is not agreeing.

The purpose of negotiating is to serve your interest. Think of what you want to walk out of the meeting with.

Negotition over: money vs basic human needs.

Rather than make things difficult to the other, confront them w a choice- as painless as possible.

Face Saving reflects people’s need to reconcile the stand taken in a negotiation or an agreement with their existing principles and their past words and deeds.

Theory of Cognitive Dissonance- people dislike inconsistency and will act to eliminate it by attacking a problem (not the people).

Bottom Line (last price)- a position that is not to be change. Protects you from making a decision that you may regret later. It’s rigid, non-negotiable. However , it may keep you from agreeing to a solution that would wise to accept.

Protecting yourself against a bad agreement is one thing, making the most of your asset to produce a good agreement is another. (Like damn, what is balance?)

Negotiation Jiu-Jitsu: focus on what the other may do and prepare for a counter. If they push you, don’t push back but side step their attack and deflect it against the problem... towards a mutual gain.

People tend to feel uncomfortable w silence. Particularly if they have doubts about the merits of something they’ve said.
26 reviews
June 22, 2020
Yeah look quality information but just quite a lot of it. Not in the best frame of mind to be reading it.... 3 stars cheers Roger
Profile Image for Zainab.
52 reviews44 followers
May 13, 2021
I'm getting generous with non-fiction writers. That's weird. I think textbooks are not appreciated enough. It is sort of a textbook. Very academic at its core. Again, thanks to the random stranger for buying it for me. It rarely so happens that you get good books when you work around books. Mostly, it's vampire romances that you have to politely refuse to. Anyway. It's anything but vampire romance. It actually added a bit of practical value to the disarray of thoughts I reckon at times. I find it funny and refreshing that they have terms dedicated to everyday insights we get through our modest experiences. But mostly I find it funny. Not a fan of business how-tos and don'ts, but hello, if you're something about high politics, I'll welcome you gladly. It's not about traditional high politics. It's too nice for that. It's ideal. I'm okay with ideal if it has even a tiny bit of tendency for practicality. It does.

I'm not big for structured reviews. I prefer personal ones. But I think a few takeaways always help those who live structured lives. Again, totally unnecessary.

1. Don't bargain over positions, it will take you away from the actual substance of talks and your real achievable goals/interests. Successively defending your positions will drain you out and make you feel like a loser if it's compromised to reach an agreement with the other party.

2. Moderation is the key to any dispute resolution mechanism (the book didn't say that, but I implied from its contents). And there's midway between soft and hard methods of negotiation called 'principled negotiation'. It is what the name suggests. Use a soft approach with people but stick to the agreed principles of the talks.

3. If a party doesn't play along on principled grounds, bring their 'tactics' to an open discussion. But don't criminalize them or portray them as liars. It'll destroy your chances to talk in the future. And talks always come around because you entered the negotiation process as you thought it was the best way out of that conflict.

4. Read it yourself. I read it through an international talks perspective, you might find the principled method applicable to everyday conflicts and interactions.

My only problem with the book:

Umm. It just gets too neo-liberal at times especially when the author uses examples from famous world disputes. 'Free-World' syndrome is real in the White world. But that's a separate debate we'll have some other day.
Profile Image for Taka.
684 reviews507 followers
August 3, 2010
Excellent Framework--

The framework of what the authors call "principled negotiation" is pretty much the same as the framework of "crucial conversations." It also meshes well with Dale Carnegie's framework of winning friends and influencing people and to some extent, Manuel J. Smith's Here Be Dragons and Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

It lays out a practical approach to negotiation based on independent standards of fairness. And to do this, you need to separate the people from the problem, identify interests behind positions, and work together to invent creative solutions.

I found the framework to be both practical and effective, especially where working together with those who you're negotiating with and coming up with creative solutions. Negotiation doesn't have to be a zero-some game; it can very well be win-win as long as you keep your mind open to corrections and tackled the problems together.

A good introduction on negotiation.
Profile Image for Kirtida Gautam.
Author 2 books125 followers
April 25, 2016
I am researching for the Book 3 Yin Yang which is all about power, politics, and social influence. Therefore Getting to Yes was in my To-Read list for quite sometime now. But as I am preparing for an important upcoming negotiation, I decided to read it urgently and finished in 5 days. (which was not difficult considering it's one of the most interesting books I have read this year)

It's a must-read, and I mean MUST-READ book for any person who is dealing with any kind of negotiation-- which means- a must read for EVERYONE because as a human we negotiate everyday. Just few seconds back, I negotiated with my 4 years old that she will let me work (She said, she would if I will let her watch Ramayana, animation movie-- she negotiated her way)-- so, see negotiation is part of our day to day lives. There is no point in being an ostrich and say, "In my work, I don't have to deal with negotiation, why should I read this book." Because, let me break the news-- YOU DO NEGOTIATE-- so might as well do it better.

Profile Image for Chris.
735 reviews95 followers
September 15, 2019
This is a solid primer for negotiation, and when written in 1981 it was the first to throw out the win/lose aspect of negotiations or as one might say "my way or the highway" attitude to one of a more principled negotiation process. Much of the substance of the book is not new at this point, but well worth the read. It emphasizes staying on point with the issue, don't let personalities (people issues) muddy the waters, find common ground etc. This 1991 second edition only adds and did not change or edit from the first edition. The addition at the end works through "Ten Questions People Asked About (the book)" I thought there was a lot of good information embedded in this 36 page section.

" ...the first thing you are trying to win is a better way to negotiate-a way that avoids your having to choose between the satisfactions of getting what you deserve and of being decent. You can have both."
Profile Image for James.
506 reviews26 followers
January 26, 2018
In a better world, _Getting To Yes_ would be required reading in secondary school. Every page is full of wisdom and suggestions for handling interpersonal interactions — or negotiations, since most bidirectional communication is in some sense a negotiation.

As someone who negotiates professionally, I’ve found the philosophy of _Getting To Yes_ to be exactly in sync with my own style. I’ve given copies of the book to people whom I mentor and even to those with whom I negotiate.

The audio version I listened to this time is an updated edition with some fresher examples and updated numbers. It’s still a classic.
Profile Image for Peep Laja.
38 reviews33 followers
June 3, 2007
This is a book about negotiations. We negotiate almost every day, whether its about the idea you came up with at work, which movie to see in the cinema or convincing somebody to do something. For those who want deeper insights into the art of principal based negotiations, this is a gem. I have used the knowledge I gained consciously so many times. I often in the middle of negotiations find myself thinking of the principals I learned, and have used them very successfully. There is no need to waste time on positional bargaining, there is a better way.
Profile Image for Mia.
381 reviews21 followers
June 20, 2018
Maybe appropriate help for the person who has never really stopped to reflect on the efficacy of their current thinking or behavior when involved in conflict or negotiation. For readers who aren't starting from scratch when it comes to learning about mediation and negotiation, there are probably more nuanced and detailed instruction manuals out there.
Profile Image for Diego.
95 reviews21 followers
March 4, 2019
Class assigned. This book is essential reading for Negotiation skill. I will be referencing this often. You can fill the gaps on how you currently negotiate. It really should also be called how to execute democracy and diplomacy without alienating your positive relationships.

Side note, every poor tactic listed is what Trump claims is negotiating. He has no clue.
Profile Image for Charlene.
875 reviews504 followers
July 30, 2016
I was shocked to see that this was first written in 1991. Not only is it relevant today, it is a far more balanced and fair approach to negotiating. No sensationalism. Simply good advice about how to think and talk to others when trying to compromise.
Profile Image for Bartosz Majewski.
292 reviews217 followers
June 2, 2017
Great book about basics of negotiations. It's full of case studies and presents a basic framework for getting things done by focusing negotiators on the problem instead of one another. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Trung.
112 reviews29 followers
December 18, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up.
Not sure if it's because of the translation but the writing style is not persuasive.
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