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The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

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"William Ury brings a marvelous blend of experience, insight, integrity and warmth to his work. In this wonderful book he teaches us how to say No--with grace and effect--so that we might create an even better Yes." --Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No-to people at work, at home, and in our communities-because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us.

But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by alienating and angering people. That's why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn.

This indispensable book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side's aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests.

Based on William Ury's celebrated Harvard University course for managers and professionals, The Power of a Positive No offers concrete advice and practical examples for saying No in virtually any situation. Whether you need to say No to your customer or your coworker, your employee or your CEO, your child or your spouse, you will find in this book the secret to saying No clearly, respectfully, and effectively.

In today's world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed. A Positive No has the power to profoundly transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to what counts-our own needs, values, and priorities.

Understood this way, No is the new Yes. And the Positive No may be the most valuable life skill you'll ever learn.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

William Ury

32 books229 followers
William L. Ury co-founded Harvard's Program on Negotiation where he currently directs the Global Negotiation Initiative. He is the author of The Power of a Positive No How to Say No Still Get to Yes (2007) and co-author (with Roger Fisher) of Getting to Yes Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In , a five-million-copy bestseller translated into over twenty languages. "No other book in the field comes close to its impact on the way practitioners, teachers, researchers, and the public approach negotiation," comments the National Institute on Dispute Resolution. Ury is also author of the award-winning Getting Past No Negotiating with Difficult People and Getting To Peace (released in paperback under the title The Third Side).

Over the last 30 years, Ury has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from corporate mergers to wildcat strikes in a Kentucky coal mine to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. With former president Jimmy Carter, he co-founded the International Negotiation Network, a non-governmental body seeking to end civil wars around the world. During the 1980s, he helped the US and Soviet governments create nuclear crisis centers designed to avert an accidental nuclear war. In that capacity, he served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House. Most recently, Ury has served as a third party in helping to end a civil war in Aceh, Indonesia, and helping to prevent one in Venezuela.

Ury has taught negotiation to tens of thousands of corporate executives, labor leaders, diplomats and military officers around the world. He helps organizations try to reach mutually profitable agreements with customers, suppliers, unions, and joint-venture partners.


Ury is also co-founder of the e-Parliament, which offers the 25,000 members of congress and parliament around the world an Internet-based forum in which they can learn from one another other about legislative solutions that work and together tackle global problems such as climate change, energy efficiency, and terrorism. His most recent project is the Abraham Path Initiative, which seeks to address the growing chasm between the world of Islam and the West by creating a permanent path of tourism and pilgrimage in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham, the unifying figure of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Ury is the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament. His work has been widely featured in the media from The New York Times to the Financial Times and from ABC to the BBC.

Trained as a social anthropologist, with a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Ury has carried out his research on negotiation not only in the boardroom and at the bargaining table but also among the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the clan warriors of New Guinea.

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