Reader's Review, November 2011
GETTING MORE: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World
Stuart Diamond is a Professor at The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania and teaches its course in negotiation. Additionally, he has served as an Associate Director of The Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard Law School, advised and consulted with business and governmental leaders in some 40 countries, and published over 2,000 articles during his career.
Professor Diamond holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from The Wharton School. Prior to his work at the university level, Stuart Diamond was a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for The New York Times.
GETTING MORE is based on Professor Diamond's fundamental premise that "negotiation is at the heart of human interaction… You can't get away from it. You can only do it well or badly" (p.3). Certainly, this reviewer agrees with the accuracy of this statement.
If the opening premise is accepted as true, the reader is forced to recognize that they must learn how to negotiate or pay severe consequences for their ignorance throughout their life course. The reader's choice is clear. The knowledge required for negotiating success is before them.
Accepting this key proposition, the reader is alerted by the author that the work they are about to encounter presents a "different way of thinking about negotiation" (p. 11). In fact, the author explains, this view of negotiation holds that there is no difference between negotiation and three usually separated endeavors: persuasion, communication, and selling. All four fields are based on achieving goals, focus on people, and can be situational (12). All four enterprises share the fundamental aim of negotiation, simply, the author states, "you negotiate to meet your goals" (p.15).
The next steps are now even clearer. Many of the concepts and terms of conventional negotiating wisdom are dismissed as simply wrong. The list of illustrations ranges from terms such as BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) through strategies based on forcing people to do things or continuing to use traditional approaches such as adversarial negotiation, a style long-discredited by studies of results effectiveness when contrasted with cooperative problem-solving approaches.
Having quickly introduced his view of negotiation and dismissed some of the traditional wisdom and terms of the art, Professor Diamond devotes the remainder of his book to the exposition of his approach. His view of negotiation is pragmatic and its measure is goal achievement.
Interestingly, at this point, the reader may or may not recognize that they are engaged immediately in a negotiation about negotiation. In fact, as we move through his early pages we have been encountering many of the concepts Professor Diamond will propound as central to his approach to negotiation. We have experienced framing, incremental argument and the application of standards as examples that will be expanded later in the work. Our author is a talented negotiator and proves it from the very outset of his work.
Among some of the important negotiation elements you will find in this work, you will find careful and thoughtful discussions of such critical elements in negotiation as:
- The relative importance of people and process as much more important than facts in negotiation.
- "Almost everything you say in negotiation should be a question." (p. 63)
- The power potential in discovering and using standards in negotiation.
- The importance of an incremental approach.
- The essential art of framing and reframing..
- The value of trading items of unequal value.
And the list goes on … and it is a valuable one.
Professor Diamond has used approximately 400 testimonials to the effectiveness of his approach throughout his book. Essentially, the reader encounters a wide variety of mini-case studies in which identified former students of the professor attest to the fact that the approach works in both simple and complex negotiating situations. This reviewer found the technique both importantly illustrative and at times a cause of anecdote exhaustion.
In summary, I am confident this is a book readers will find interesting, thought-provoking, and useful. Additionally and helpfully, readers will find a wide variety of topics in this work discussing everything from getting a job, getting a raise, buying a car, dealing with noise issues in apartments, and coping with public issues in the political forums and much more. Best of all, the author gives you a "How to do it" template to put all the reader has learned into practice.
This book is a "keeper" you should consider for your negotiation bookshelf.
John D. Baker, Ph.D.
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The Negotiator Magazine (November, 2011) Copyright © 2011 The Negotiator Magazine