Your ability to negotiate with your bosses, investors, customers and colleagues determines whether your career or your business flies high or falls flat. These are the seven books about negotiation that every entrepreneur should own, read and master:
Subtitle: How You Can Negotiate to Succeed in Work and Life
Author: Stuart Diamond
Why It's Worth Reading: The book challenges a lot of the common conceptions about negotiating, including the famous win-win bromides and the "BATNA" (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) theory. Rather than attempting to impose a solution through the use of power, this book starts from the viewpoint that the other person's emotions and perceptions must be respected and negotiated towards.
Best Quote: "Whenever almost anything, don't you wonder if there's more? It doesn't have to mean more for me and less for you. Just has to be, well, more. And it doesn't necessarily mean more money. It means more of whatever you value: more money, more time, more food, more travel, more responsibility, more basketball, more TV, more music. This book is about more: how you define it, how you get it, how you keep it."
Subtitle: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
Why It's Worth Reading: Because this is a general book about communicating effectively, it's perfect for people who don't normally negotiate. It emphasizes preparation, creating a safe environment to speak, and "transforming unpleasant emotions into powerful dialog" through persuasion rather than demands.
Best Quote: "Despite the importance of crucial conversations, we often back away from them because we fear we'll make matters worse. We've become masters at avoiding tough conversations. Coworkers send e-mail to each other when they should walk down the hall and talk turkey. Bosses leave voice mail in lieu of meeting with their direct reports. Family members change the subject with an issue gets too risky. We use all kinds of tactics to dodge touchy issues."
Subtitle: The Psychology of Persuasion
Author: Robert B. Cialdini
Why It's Worth Reading: More than the other books in this collection, Influence is about sales negotiations. It lays out the psychology of positioning prior to a sales negotiation as well as the specific formulae that drive a sales negotiation to a successful conclusion. A must read and one of my all-time favorites.
Best Quote: "It is much more profitable for salespeople to present the expensive item first, not only because to fail to do so will lose the influence of the contrast principle; to fail to do so will also cause the principle to work actively against them. Presenting an inexpensive product first and following it with an expensive one will cause the expensive item to seem even more costly as a result."
Subtitle: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People
Author: G. Richard Shell
Why It's Worth Reading: This books starts from the idea that you must first "know thyself" before you try to negotiate with others. It identifies five styles of negotiating and provides tools to help you understand which ones work for you under different circumstances. As a result, the book is a good prerequisite for making the best use of the other books in this list.
Best Quote: "Your personal negotiation style is a critical variable in bargaining. If you don't know what your instincts and intuitions will tell you to do under different conditions, you will have a great deal of trouble planning effective strategies and responses."
Subtitle: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
Authors: Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton
Why It's Worth Reading: Beyond doubt this is the most influential book on negotiating ever written, so much so that most business readers will already be familiar with its basic concept, the proverbial "win-win" negotiation.
Best Quote: "The method of principled negotiation is to decide issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process focused on what each side says it will and won't do. It suggests that you look for mutual gains whenever possible, and that where you interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based upon some fair standards independent of the will of either side."
Subtitle: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Authors: Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
Why It's Worth Reading: This book is largely a reaction to, and against, the conventional wisdom in Getting to Yes. Rather than assuming that people understand their own interests and act according to them, the writers approach the negotiation process as a phenomenon that's only understood as a set of essentially irrational and emotional responses.
Best Quote: "When business schools began teaching negotiation in the 1980s, the process was presented as a straightforward economic analysis. It was a period when the world's top academic economists declared that we were all 'rational actors.' And so it went in negotiation classes: assuming the other side was acting rationally and selfishly in trying to maximize its position, the goal was to figure out how to respond in various scenarios to maximize one's own value. [However,] humans all suffer from Cognitive Bias, that is, unconscious--and irrational--brain processes that literally distort the way we see the world."
Subtitle: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries
Authors: Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway
Why It's Worth Reading: Finally, there's no doubt that negotiating styles different from country to country. This book helps you understand the thought processes and protocols that you'll encounter while dealing with a global economy. Indispensable stuff.
Best Quote: "Many global executives adopt the manners of their targeted countries, so why do U.S. executives need to study foreign ways? There are a variety of reasons. First of all, many foreign businesspeople often cannot or will not imitate U.S. mannerisms. Can you afford to leave them out of your business plans? Second, you might wish to sell to the general public in a foreign market. The average foreign consumer is certainly not going to have the same habits and tastes as consumers in the United States of America. Third, although our friend Josef may act and sound like an American or Canadian or Australian, he isn't. He probably is not even thinking in English; he is thinking in German. Knowing how Germans tend to arrive a decisions gives you an edge. And don't we all need every business advantage we can get?"