The best books for negotiating anything

Bill Eddy Author Of So, What's Your Proposal? Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!
By Bill Eddy

Who am I?

When I got out of college, I fell in love with mediation—resolving other people’s conflicts in all kinds of settings. In developing my mediation career, I got deep into psychology as a therapist, and then deep into law, as a family lawyer. Putting these professions together, I developed a niche in handling high conflict personalities in family, workplace, and legal disputes. Now I teach how to mediate and negotiate with high conflict people around the world. I am excited to share how to negotiate in high conflict situations to bring peace to relationships everywhere. 

I wrote...

So, What's Your Proposal? Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!

By Bill Eddy,

Book cover of So, What's Your Proposal? Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds!

What is my book about?

I designed this book for anyone to use, but especially those dealing with a high conflict person who loves to blame others for everything. I also wrote it for professional mediators and negotiators dealing with high conflict cases, whether family conflicts, workplace disputes, or legal cases. It cuts to the chase by going straight to proposals, because this works best with high conflict. This makes it extremely simple to use with a 3-step proposal process, which I lay out with numerous examples. Dealing with high conflict people can seem complicated, but the simplest methods work best. After forty years as a mediator (part of the time as a therapist and then as a lawyer), this is my simplest method for resolving conflicts with anyone!  

The books I picked & why

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Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in

By Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton

Book cover of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in

Why this book?

This has been my all-time favorite basic book on negotiation since someone gave it to me way back in 1982 when I was starting my mediation career. Short, simple, and easy-to-read, it has sold an estimated 15 million copies and totally changed the field of negotiations. It introduced the world to interest-based, win-win negotiations as the better alternative to traditional win-lose positional bargaining, which often leads to dissatisfaction for one or both parties. It contains dozens of tips that anyone can use, from buying a car to getting a raise to settling an international political dispute. The authors have extensive experience and have explained the key principles of interest-based negotiation with numerous examples. For brand new and experienced negotiators and mediators.

Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

By William Ury,

Book cover of Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations

Why this book?

This is a follow-up book to the famous Getting to Yes. In Getting Past No, the author addresses the issues of dealing with more difficult people and difficult situations. He spells out a 5-step method with details of how to implement each simple tactic: Don’t React, Don’t Argue, Don’t Reject, Don’t Push, and Don’t Escalate. Of course, each of these chapters has a dozen techniques and principles within it which gives even the least experienced negotiator some good ideas as to how to proceed. He emphasizes the importance of preparation and includes a worksheet to help with that. Experience tells me he’s right!

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Book cover of Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Why this book?

I live in the world of high conflict and teaching others how to deal with it. So, I create methods and collect other people’s methods to improve my own work, and this is one of the ones that is mentioned a lot. I like the detail of this step-by-step method and the book’s numerous examples (which is when we learn the most). They talk about starting with heart, and really looking at yourself—which is crucial! Avoiding the fool’s choice of speaking up in difficult situations or remaining silent is addressed, so that the reader gains confidence that they can deal with these difficult conversations. As they point out, if you fail at a crucial conversation, it can be devastating. Better to read this book.


By Roy Lewicki, Bruce Barry, David Saunders

Book cover of Negotiation

Why this book?

I got this book when I was in law school and found it to be filled with insights that I never expected nor got anywhere else. It must be good because it’s on its 8th edition now! However, I should warn you that it’s dense (over 600 pages) and designed for students. But for the reader who wants to become a serious professional negotiator, this is the book I keep referring back to. This is for the person who wants a really deep dive into the subject of negotiations. It covers every aspect from psychology to economics to closing the deal. 

Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter

By Cass R. Sunstein, Reid Hastie,

Book cover of Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter

Why this book?

This is honestly one of the smartest books I have ever read about group thinking, negotiating in groups, and avoiding massive group mistakes—which happen around the world every day! The authors give examples from negotiating the names of new household products to understanding group polarization and how to negotiate around it. They break down numerous conflict situations involving groups and give very detailed insights into what is going wrong and what can be done to make things go well. This is a great little book for negotiators, business managers, politicians, and everyday people who want to know how to get what they want in any group negotiations. 

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