Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

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Penguin, May 3, 2011 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
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The key text on problem-solving negotiation-updated and revised

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.

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What does Getting to Yes promise the reader?
This book is intended to be a guide to principled negotiation. It is not a one size fits all approach, but they do argue it is a one size fits most
approach. Every tool is not designed for any and every scenario but are incredibly valuable additions to your communications toolset. It is short, and easy to read. The authors have carefully put together the material in this way, offering tool after tool in an organized, easy to find fashion.
On a higher level, this book intends to play a role in the paradigm shift from the old school adversarial perception of negotiation in the public sphere to a collaborative one. It does this by emphasizing the benefits of negotiating on merits, principle, collaboration and objective standards – innovation, efficiency, effectiveness, fairness, and relationships.
How does it deliver this promise?
Getting to Yes is exceptionally well organized. It first sets out identifying the problem. It states that your method of negotiation should be assed with three criteria; it should reult in a wise agreement (meets the legitimate interests of both sides, is fair, durable and takes the community into account), be efficient and improve relationships between the parties. This criteria seems daunting, but resonates. It breaks down hard negotiating and soft negotiating stating their drawbacks before offering a solution, Principled Negotiation. They argue that Principled Negotiation meets the criteria better than positional bargaining.
There are four main focus points of Principled Negotiation: (1) separating the people from the problem, (2) focusing on interests, not positions, (3) inventing many mutually beneficial options and (4) using objective standards.
Each of these four points is given its own chapter, where the authors provide tools and advice to support.
The next few chapters address questions and criticisms of the book’s earlier editions. For example, one glaring questions is what if the other side is more powerful? The response given is empowering. It makes you realize that power is not just about wealth and resources, you have power if you know how to use it or build it. For example, there is power in relationships, effective communication, understanding interests, objective standards, collaboration and of course, your BATNA (or Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.” It gives you tips on how to neutralize dirty tricks, play negotiation jujitsu and protect yourself. The second half of the book is just as engaging and riveting as the first half, if not even more.
… Wait, did I say negotiation jujitsu? Yes, read the book and find out.
Impact the book had on me
After you read this book, you will become more thoughtful in how you interact with others. After this book, I went on Twitter. I noticed how polarized people are. I kept noticing back and forth attacks. Participants attack, defend, attack, defend. It seems as though the more people were attacked the more they defended their positions – locking themselves in and becoming more publicly invested in it. I noticed the hashtag #TrumpIsPatheitc and thought, this is encouraging his behaviour! It is really childish. Not just that hashtag, but the battle zone in general. Everyone is so passionate – and I wish that we could channel that passion away from the battle zone and into an arena of productive dialogue that is collaborative in nature. After reading this book, I see inefficiencies and division restricting our ability to be productive. I see opportunities for collaborative solutions where others see a fight. It’s funny how Biden calls for unity in one breath and in another breath personally attacks Donald Trump, an explicit act of division.
Attacking each other wont solve the worlds problems, it polarizes people. We need to attack the problem – “separate the people from the problem” as the authors assert. If you convince one person with your attacks, it is likely that you are locking in others. Instead of saying Trump is Pathetic for not

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Everyone who ever has to deal with other people would benefit from reading this. (In other words, everyone.) It explains how to separate people issues from the problem, focus on interests rather than positions, and work together to create options that satisfy all parties. Though my work as a business analyst doesn't typically require this sort of opposed negotiation, I found a lot in here that will be useful in discussions with stakeholders over their needs and priorities. I'll also want to read it again the next time I'm considering the purchase of a home or car. 


Dont Bargain Over Positions
What If They Wont Play?
Focus on Interests Not Positions
What If They Use Dirty Tricks?
Should I be fair if I dont have to be?
Build a working relationship independent of agreement
How should I adjust my negotiating
Concretely how do I move from inventing

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About the author (2011)

Roger Fisher is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law Emeritus and director emeritus of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

William Ury cofounded the Harvard Negotiation Project and is the award-winning author of several books on negotiation.

Bruce Patton is cofounder and Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project and the author of Difficult Conversations, a New York Times bestseller.

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