The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader's Review

John Baker

Gain the Edge! Negotiating To Get What You Want
By Martin E. Latz
360pp. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.
Paperback Edition: (US) $24.95

Martin Latz (Marty Latz as readers of this magazine will better know him from the appearance of some of his articles in earlier editions of this publication) is a graduate of Harvard Law School and received his negotiation training at that institution. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Arizona State University's College of Law and the founder of the Latz Negotiation Institute, a national training and consulting firm. Mr. Latz has written a monthly column on negotiations for The Business Journal of Phoenix for the last five years.

Drawing upon his experience in negotiations and his work with negotiators in government, business and education, Mr. Latz has written a valuable guide to negotiating tactics and strategies. He knows his topic and he knows how to present it clearly to his reader. Candor, however, makes this reviewer note that he wishes that the cardinal principles were not listed as five golden rules for negotiation in a world where many of its people struggle to even manage one golden rule for all of human interaction.

The book begins with an examination of five fundamental concepts that are integral to the preparation and conduct of negotiations. It then leads the reader into an exploration of the application of these key elements in the negotiation arena. Lastly, the author narrows the focus to concentrate on five specific types of negotiating experiences requiring using skills and dealing with relationship components in five different negotiating situations: business, salary, family, auto and house.

This is not a book that advocates a particular approach, but rather a work that examines the core components of all negotiations, regardless of their styles. Its strength is in dealing with the "nuts and bolts" of these common component parts. Marty Latz begins his work by exploring the first of his five golden rules: the importance of gathering information and then quickly proceeds to tell the reader how to do it. You are not left on your own to fill in the blanks. Latz explores ten tactics for gathering that vital information ranging from how to build trust through using "the big smooze" to developing active listening skills.

You will find four more of the author's key concepts in the pages that follow. He moves first to an examination of leverage. The reader learns about assessing leverage, receives guidance on evaluating leverage as it shifts with time or events and obtains advice on how to use it. In succeeding chapters, you will find solid advice on finding and using objective standards, designing and executing an offer and concession strategy, the importance of controlling agendas and a host of other useful negotiation skills.

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