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Essential Reading for Negotiators


A number of books on negotiation have been published in recent years. In this newsletter we have listed several of those books, along with excerpts from reviews written by John Baker, the publisher of the Negotiator Magazine. The books follow. For complete reviews, just follow the link:

The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World
By Michael Wheeler
304pp. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2013.
Hardcover (USA) $26.00
Full review:

‘The Art of Negotiation' is the product of Professor Wheeler’s wide and intensive experience as both a practitioner and a scholar of negotiation. The work reflects Mr. Wheeler’s conviction that most traditional negotiation texts, whether espousing win-win or positional approaches, erroneously portray the negotiation process as a one-dimensional activity within a static environment.
In this book, Professor Wheeler seeks to offset what he is convinced is a distorted and common view of negotiation and replace it with a view of the process he believes to be a more accurate one. In Wheeler’s view, negotiation is a dynamic interaction between two or more parties operating within a changing and uncertain world. Assuming the world is chaotic, rather than a stabile one, negotiation as well as all human activities depends upon the adoption of be a new approach to the field. The view of reality, of course, is the ultimate assumption in every human activity. Negotiation is no different. Traditional negotiation training is but a mirror image of that false view of reality. It is critical that negotiation, which is so critical to human action is predicated upon reality rather than illusion.
Professor Wheeler’s mission in this book is to explain how the negotiating process works in the “real world”, underscore why it is important, and provide a new direction for Negotiators.

The following book is several years old, but is one we think is important and should be read by all who are interested in negotiation.

Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond
By Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazeman
352pp. New York, New York: Bantam Dell, 2008
Paperback (USA) $12.47
Full review:
'Negotiation Genius' has been in print for more than five years. Unlike many works on negotiation that fade rapidly from memory in far less time, this work remains alive and widely hailed as a leading contribution to its field. Let us see what you might find in it and why it belongs on your professional bookshelf.
The basic premises of this book are that negotiation is an essential life skill; that many individuals practice negotiation ineffectively; and that negotiation success is not the product of natural ability, but instead is the result of learning. Based on these givens, this book promises to provide its readers with a systematic approach to negotiation excellence founded upon recent behavioral research and illustrated through a wide array of case studies and personal examples. In sum, it presents an extraordinary Negotiation Toolkit.
The book includes a useful Glossary, a rich Notes section, and a thorough Index.
Negotiation Genius is an extraordinary work of value for every negotiator from the novice through the experienced practitioner. This is a book that belongs on your professional bookshelf.

By Peter Frensdorf
160pp. Random Acres, U.K.: Global Professional Publishing, Ltd., 2014.
Soft cover (USA) $19.99
Full review:
“Essentially, Frensdorf contends, that used correctly, the negotiation process is key to the success  of the enterprise itself. If the aim of the negotiation is to determine the value of items by the  parties, then the negotiator must begin with how that process actually works to make it effective. Business psychology research, we are told, reveals that much of communication is either  disregarded or lost in transmission from one party to another. In fact, Mr. Frensdorf asserts, at  least one research finding suggests that as little as 7 percent of speech actually connects between  parties. If this is true, then mere words may be far less persuasive in negotiation than most of us  imagine. What is key, therefore, is to know and deliver speech that achieves at least the  communication threshold, the magic 7 percent level of reception.
What qualities are essential to speech that surpasses the communication threshold? The author  tells us that the speech must carry the mantel of truth, balance, and knowledge. How does one  do this? Mr. Frensdorf cites multiple methods, including recognizing both the strengths and the  weaknesses of items under negotiation and points out ways to demonstrate an honest and  balanced view.  Trust is established and built, for example, from such simple actions as mentioning the obvious  pluses in a seller’s item as well as being certain to highlight the obvious weaknesses in items you  are selling. When the car you are selling is scratched, it is obvious. Trust builds in this instance  by simply being the first to mention the defect and place the flaw on the record. Always, the  route to negotiating success is through being an honest and balanced appraiser. An honest  appraiser is a party who can be trusted when value is the goal.

With this as the wise negotiator’s position, the negotiation can move forward on trust.  Essentially, the negotiation can create and build a relationship between the parties which permits  the essential open window of communication between that is essential to sealing the deal. Add  one other component – assistance in building a story that allows the other party to explain why  the agreement makes sense, and you have the fundamental ingredients for a successful negotiation”


Other books we recommend are:

The Manager as Negotiator
by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius

3D Negotiating (follow-up to their book above)
by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius

Also on our Favorite list:

Difficult Conversations
by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen.

If you are doing business in other countries read:

Working Global Smart
by Ernest Gundling. 

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