Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury

book cover

Getting to Yes:
Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In,
Second Edition
by Roger Fisher & William Ury

ISBN-13: 9780140157352
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin Book
Released: December 1991

Source: Bought through Half.com.

Book Description from Back Cover:
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."

My Review:
Getting to YES is a book about how to come to mutually-satisfactory agreements with people, from your spouse and kids to your boss at work or even in a hostage situation. The real-life examples tended to be business-related or based on national-level events, but it was easy to see how each principle could be applied in any situation. It was easy to follow the points and see how to apply them.

Quite likely some of their suggestions won't be new to you. Either you did it and didn't know why it worked, you read it in a marriage/relationship book, or learned it from someone. But you'll learn why it works plus new things you hadn't thought of before. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their working relationships (and I'm including spouses in this).

The book covered: why merit-based negotiation is better than haggling-style negotiation; how to carry out merit-based negotiation and why it works; how to negotiate successfully with people who are more powerful, refuse to play by the rules, or resort to "dirty tricks; and a summary of the main points of the book. The second edition included answers to 10 questions that people repeatedly asked them after reading the first edition.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter Two
Everyone knows how hard it is to deal with a problem without people misunderstanding each other, getting angry or upset, and taking things personally.

A union leader says to his crew, "All right, who called the walkout?"

Jones steps forward. "I did. It was that bum foreman Campbell again. That was the fifth time in two weeks he sent me out of our group as a replacement. He's got it in for me, and I'm tired of it. Why should I get all the dirty work?"

Later the union leader confronts Campbell. "Why do you keep picking on Jones? He says you've put him on replacement detail five times in two weeks. What's going on?"

Campbell replies, "I pick Jones because he's the best. I know I can trust him to keep things from fouling up in a group without its point person. I send him on replacement only when it's a key person missing, otherwise I send Smith or someone else. It's just that with the flu going around there've been a lot of point people out. I never knew Jones objected. I thought he liked the responsibility."

....[People] see the world from their own personal vantage point, and they frequently confuse their perceptions with reality. Routinely, they fail to interpret what you say in the way you intend and do not mean what you understand them to say. Misunderstanding can reinforce prejudice and lead to reactions that produce counterreactions in a vicious circle; rational exploration of possible solutions becomes impossible and negotiation fails. The purpose of the game becomes scoring points, confirming negative impressions, and apportioning blame at the expense of the substantive interests of both parties.

....On both the giving and receiving end, we are likely to treat people and the problem as one. Within the family, a statement such as "The kitchen is a mess" or "Our bank account is low" may be intended simply to identify a problem, but it is likely to be heard as a personal attack.

Read from chapter one using Google Preview.

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