The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader's Review

John Baker

Mastering Business Negotiation: A Working Guide to Making Deals & Resolving Conflict 
By Roy J. Lewicki & Alexander Hiam
303 pp. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006
Hardback (US) $24.95

Roy J. Lewicki is Professor of Management and Human Resources at the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University and an author of over 30 books on business management.  Among Professor Lewicki’s many recognitions, his most recent book received the Best Book Award from the International Association of Conflict Management.  Readers on negotiation will probably know many of his works in the field.

Alexander Hiam is a business consultant and well-known author.   Among his books are The Portable MBA in Marketing; Closing the Quality Gap, and Classic Marketing Tools for Executives as well as Marketing for Dummies in that well-known series.

Together, the authors have created a solid work on the art of business negotiation which is certain to become a mainstay in its field.  Surprisingly, however, as seems to be the case in many recently published works, they have added a closing section on personal negotiation arguing that the same elements that produce success in business negotiation also produce success in personal negotiation.  As a result, readers of this work can also learn to negotiate raises, buy a car, bargain for home repairs and even negotiate the myriad elements that comprise a top business agreement.

This penchant for added elements in so many recent works on negotiation is quite puzzling although, it is obviously good marketing.   On the other hand, one wonders why this book is titled business negotiation instead of just negotiation if it is all one in the same anyway.  Never-the-less, with or without the final section, this is a fine work centered on business negotiating and offering the reader some important and differing perspectives.  I hope all business negotiators will read it and reflect upon what they may or may not know about the field.  Far too infrequently, we are not challenged enough on our assumption by the cascade of negotiation books that pour into the market.  This book will not only provide some clarity on the field, but also raise some challenges that all of us need to some of our old certainties.

Built on thorough research and extensive experience, Mastering Business Negotiations is
a stimulating and refreshing read in that its authors break with many current negotiation positions.  Those who have shouted down by so many experts contending that negotiation is not a game will be heartened to learn that similarities to games are certainly a part of negotiation.  Those of you who remain competitive negotiators in a sea of collaborative books and “win-win” bargainers can finally add another book on with a strong section on competitive negotiation to their shelves.   These authors recognize that competitive strategies are not only quite real in the negotiation world, but may be a preferable choice over collaborative strategies in many instances.   These authors delve deeply into competitive approaches and spend an entire chapter on it. They not only explore its techniques, but examine its weaknesses and its many dangers.

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September 2006