Recommended Books

The Power of a Positive NoThe Power of a Positive No, William Ury
No is perhaps the most important and 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 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 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 help in 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 just be the most valuable life skill you'll ever learn!

Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
This recent publication is the winner of the 2005 CPR Book Award for Excellence in Conflict Resolution, granted by the International Institution for Conflict Prevention and Resolution. In Beyond Reason, Roger Fisher and psychologist Daniel Shapiro, build on previous work of the Harvard Negotiation Project in the book Getting to YES. The book illustrates five "core concerns" that motivate people: appreciation, affiliation, autonomy, status and role. You will learn how to use these core concerns to generate helpful emotions in yourself and in others. Armed with this knowledge, you can gauge the needs of another negotiator, set the emotional tone of discussion, and reach a mutually acceptable agreement." Written in the same remarkable vein as Getting to YES, this book is a masterpiece…" – Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton
(softcover book and audio cassette)
The classic primer on effective interest-based negotiation, this book lays out the core concepts of rapport, interests, options, legitimacy, and BATNA. It presents a straightforward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting taken-and without getting angry.

Getting to YES offers a concise, step-by-step, proven strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict-whether it involves parents and children, neighbors, bosses and employees, customers or corporations, tenants or diplomats. Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals continually with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution from domestic to business to international, Getting to YES tells you how to:

  • Separate the people from the problem;
  • Focus on interests, not positions;
  • Work together to create options that will satisfy both parties; and
  • Negotiate successfully with people who are more powerful, refuse to play by the rules, or resort to "dirty tricks."

Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation, William Ury
(softcover book and audio cassette)
Winner of the 1991 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR. Following up on the ideas in Getting to YES, Ury outlines a strategy for "breakthrough" negotiating when the other party is being difficult. Ury identifies five significant barriers to using this approach. Your own reaction: The most common response to receiving a "no" or feeling stressed or perceiving an attack is to react, either by retaliating in kind or giving in. The other person's negative emotions: Many negative emotions lie behind personal attacks including fear, distrust, and anger. The other side's position: They may "stake their claim" to a position and try to defend it at all cost. The other side's dissatisfaction: They may not see how a mutually beneficial solution will satisfy their interests. The other side's power: If they see negotiation as win-lose, they may not be willing to cooperate in pursuing a joint strategy for problem solving.

Ury identifies five steps for dealing with these situations: 1) Don't react—go to the balcony, 2) Don't argue—Step to their side, 3) Don't reject—Reframe, 4) Don't push—Build them a "golden bridge," and 5) Don't escalate—use power to educate.

Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, Richard Shell
Director of the Wharton Executive Negotiation Workshop, Shell adds the dimension of individual style to many of the concepts of negotiation. Bargaining for Advantage is a real-world guide to the complex psychology of each bargaining situation. Focusing on six key psychological leverage points, Shell shows everyone how they can get more of what they want, gain the confidence they need, counter hardball tactics, and dodge the tricks that others try to play. Case studies involving the likes of Benjamin Franklin, J. P. Morgan, and Donald Trump illustrate a flexible, step-by-step approach to make you a skillful and realistic negotiator.

Getting Together: Building Relationships as You Negotiate, Roger Fisher and Scott Brown
This book bring rigorous analysis to the question of "What is a good relationship?" and "How do we build one?" Fisher and Brown point out that reciprocal strategies ("an eye for an eye" or "the mushy golden rule") fail to deliver reciprocally good relationships. The advocate a strategy of being "unconditionally constructive," i.e., do things that would be good for the relationship whether or not the other side reciprocates. This book promotes careful thinking about what exactly one wants out of a business relationship with another party.

That's Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships, Deborah Tannen
Deborah Tannen is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. An internationally-recognized linguist, she helps readers recognize their own communication style and how it meshes or clashes with the style of others. She explores ways to get "a quiet person to talk and a conversational bulldozer to stop" and how the success or failure of any relationship often depends on conversational signals like pitch, rhythm, timing or a simple turn of a phrase that either creates or destroys dialogue.

How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions, David Strauss
Strauss attempts to uncover and demystify the process of individual and group problem-solving, and to then turn these insights into useful concepts and tools. Strauss has spent some 30 years as a facilitator and problem-solver and uses these experiences as examples throughout.


Negotiation Analysis: The Science and Art of Collaborative Decision Making, Howard Raiffa, John Richardson, and David Metcalfe
Winner of the 2003 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR. This book is the best quantitative text on negotiation. Raiffa, the father of decision science, and his colleagues lay out how to quantitatively analyze many of the qualitative concepts laid out in Getting to YES. The book starts by considering how analytically minded parties can generate joint gains and distribute them equitably by negotiating with full, open, truthful exchanges. Raiffa et al. then examine models that disengage step by step from that ideal. They also tackle multi-party negotiations, mediations, and international situations. The book substantially extends Howard Raiffa's earlier classic, The Art and Science of Negotiation by incorporating three additional supporting strands of inquiry: individual decision analysis, judgmental decision making, and game theory. Each strand is introduced and used in analyzing negotiations. Negotiation Analysis is a good, broad book on negotiation. Readers should be prepared to dig deeply into the topic.

Smart Negotiating: How to Make Good Deals in the Real World, James C. Freund
Freund, a former Skadden Arps merger attorney, suggests many pragmatic techniques for complex business negotiations. The key strategies in his approach are: 1) understanding leverage (what you want), 2) using information (where you start), 3) building credibility (how you move) and 4) using judgment skillfully (when you close).

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann, CCP Publishing
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a psychological survey that poses a series of thirty, paired questions in order to discover your different conflict styles. The instrument explains that many people feel a tension between "getting what they want" and "maintaining the relationship. The test is worth taking and exploring to further understand your basic conflict reaction and style and those of your colleagues in a team or organizational setting.


Recommended Articles

From the Harvard Business Review:

Making Joint Decisions
Pillemer, FG and Racioppo, SG

3-D Negotiation: Playing the Whole Game
David A. Lax; James K. Sebenius

Betting on the Future: The Virtues of Contingent Contracts
Max H. Bazerman; James J. Gillespie

The Hidden Challenge of Cross-Border Negotiations
James K. Sebenius

Negotiating the Spirit of the Deal
Ron S. Fortgang; David A. Lax; James K. Sebenius

Negotiating Without a Net: A Conversation with the NYPD's Dominick J. Misino
Dominick J. Misino; Diane L. Coutu

Six Habits of Merely Effective Negotiators
James K. Sebenius

Take the Money–or Run? (HBR Case Study and Commentary)
John W. Mullins; George Brenkert; Sonia Lo; William Sahlman; Charalambos Vlachoutsicos

What You Don't Know About Making Decisions
David A. Garvin; Michael A. Roberto

When to Walk Away from a Deal
Geoffrey Cullinan; Jean-Marc Le Roux; Rolf-Magnus Weddigen
From Mastering Alliance Strategy, Bamford, JD, Gomes-Cassseres, B, Robinson, MS. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA. 2003. Pages 149-162.