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Getting To Yes is the kind of book you want to read before you negotiate UN treaties, business contracts, or a special deal on that lovely rug. I read it in September 2010 and promptly started referring to my Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) even in non-negotiation situations such as decision-making.
The idea of not arguing over positions (I want $X as a salary, Y days of vacation, and a pony) and focusing instead on interests (I value fair compensation, flexible schedules, and cute transportation) might help people avoid or break out of negotiation deadlocks. Also useful is the reminder that negotiations don’t have to be the competitive I-win-you-lose head-on collision that people often see it to be, and that a cooperative approach is more likely to get you to where you want to go by getting other people to where they want to go.
Unfortunately, the tips in the book do not work when negotiating with cats, who don’t care if you discuss their dirty tricks with them. Despite that weakness, this is still an excellent book to read whether or not you have a diplomatic passport.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, 2nd ed.
1991 New York: Houghton Mifflin Company