A former Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the New York Times, Diamond (Law/Univ. of Pennsylvania) debuts with a superb how-to based on his immensely popular course on negotiation.
The author prepares for any negotiation by asking himself, “What are my goals? Who are ‘they’? What will it take to persuade them?” Depending on the answers, he then draws selectively on bargaining tools and strategies described in this anecdote-rich book. Others in his field assume that most people in a negotiation are rational. Not so, says Diamond. People in the real world—whether friends, store clerks or CEOs—tend to be emotional and irrational in their interactions. Since the people involved make up 90 percent of a negotiation (substance accounts for only 10 percent), you must negotiate based on your understanding of “the pictures in the head of the other party”—a phrase Diamond frequently uses to underscore that psychology trumps the issues at the bargaining table. Successful negotiators must prepare, learn what makes others tick (through research and small talk), take small steps, communicate clearly, turn problems into opportunities, avoid deceit and embrace differences. Above all, writes the author, they must stay focused on specific goals and connect with the other party. Many of Diamond’s suggestions are counterintuitive: Help the other person do better (you might even give them a copy of the negotiation model in this book, he says); learn their personal likes and dislikes; offer them something you know they want, such as hard-to-get event tickets. While good vibes and communication can help clinch a deal, writes the author, getting emotional can kill one: “People who are emotional stop listening. They often become unpredictable and rarely are able to focus on their goals.” Diamond provides hundreds of fascinating examples of what people in his classes have achieved using his approach—from talking a reluctant retailer into giving a discount to closing multimillion-dollar deals. He devotes separate chapters to negotiating at work, in the marketplace, in relationships and while traveling.
This immensely useful book will have wide appeal and leave many readers anxious to put their new skills to work.