The best negotiation books

11 authors have picked their favorite books about negotiation and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

By Thomas C. Schelling,

Why this book?

This is the book that brought game theory to life. Eschewing dry mathematical theorems, and conducting rigorous logical analysis through rich examples of strategic use of threats, promises, and brinkmanship in real life, Schelling opened up a whole world of practical applications of the theory. My own thinking and writing about game theory owes a huge debt to Schelling. You should also read his “Arms and Influence,” “Micromotives and Macrobehavior,” and “Choice and Consequence.”

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Book cover of Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

By William Ury,

Why this book?

I am recommending this book because Ury turns the mirror on negotiators and gets them to look at themselves and why they do what they do at the negotiating table. This is critically important because I believe half our problems in negotiation are with the other party and the other half are within us. Ury gets people to really take this very seriously and to look in a place most ignore.

From the list:

The best books to become a wicked good negotiator

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

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in

By Roger Fisher, William Ury, Bruce Patton

Why this book?

It’s not either/or: You can get a good deal and improve your relationship with the other side, at the same time. I loved Getting to Yes when I first read it in Roger Fisher’s law school class, and I still love it today, because it taught me I could solve difficult problems or deal with difficult people, and do it in a principled way. Whether it is a transaction for a Fortune 500 company, negotiating for a raise, or working on an international boundary dispute, the concepts and tools are the same, and they don’t start by requiring the other…

From the list:

The best books for negotiations that really matter

Book cover of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

By William Ury,

Why this book?

Bill Ury was one of the authors of the most important book in the negotiation field – Getting to Yes written more than 30 years ago. It challenged the win-lose model of negotiation that prevailed at the time. Bill and his partners Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton made it clear that we not only need to get agreement, when one is possible given the underlying interests of the parties, we also need to know how to defend our own interests in the face of inside and outside pressure. 

One of the reviewers of The Power of a Positive No said…

From the list:

The best books on negotiating for mutual advantage

Book cover of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It

By Chris Voss, Tahl Raz,

Why this book?

Chris Voss goes into detail on how negotiation tactics and methods he has learned as a public servant influence everyday life and strategy. The wisdom carried in this book leads to many impressive and valid forms of negotiation that can be used within all professional environments. The five principles provided by Voss, give you a great idea of how you can become comfortable with asking for what you want in an amicable manner with little to no compromise.  

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The best books on women managing challenging professional experiences

Book cover of You Can Negotiate Anything

You Can Negotiate Anything

By Herb Cohen,

Why this book?

Cohen was one of the first authors to argue that everything is negotiable. His prose is direct and easy to read. His strategies are effective when negotiating with your boss, your mate, your children, your credit card company, and even yourself. “Power is based on perception,” Cohen writes, “If you think you’ve got it then you’ve got it!” This is a powerful concept that few people appreciate.

From the list:

The best books for learning how to negotiate for personal success

Book cover of Secrets of Power Negotiating

Secrets of Power Negotiating

By Roger Dawson,

Why this book?

Dawson is a friend and friendly competitor on the lecture circuit. For generations, he has been one of the leading experts on making deals. His bestselling book covers every aspect of the negotiating process with practical, proven advice: how to recognize and defend against tactics, key principles of negotiating strategy, why money is not as important as everyone thinks, understanding the other party, and analyses of different negotiating styles.

From the list:

The best books for learning how to negotiate for personal success

Book cover of Creative Conflict: A Practical Guide for Business Negotiators

Creative Conflict: A Practical Guide for Business Negotiators

By Bill Sanders, Frank Mobus,

Why this book?

Sanders and Mobus show how negotiations are driven by competition and cooperation at the same time. Unlike most books on the subject—which advocate either hardball tactics or slobbering win-win—this book attempts to meld the two competing approaches into a single workable strategy. The authors instruct readers on how to get their own needs met while simultaneously seeking ways to expand value for both sides.
From the list:

The best books for learning how to negotiate for personal success

Book cover of Negotiation Essentials for Lawyers

Negotiation Essentials for Lawyers

By Andrea Kupfer Schneider (editor), Chris Honeyman (editor),

Why this book?

This book provides good crisp and short distillations of what the field of negotiation theory and practice offers for practical advice in legal negotiation settings. It covers deception and candor, information sharing issues, cultural and communication issues in negotiation, dealing with clients and others, the new media of online and email negotiations, and particular issues relating to different kinds of negotiating relationships and contexts. Lots of useful advice for the practical negotiator, as well as for high-level diplomatic and even hostage negotiations. Very useful for its specificity on a range of issues. Useful even for non-lawyers!

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The best books for ethical negotiators

Book cover of The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World

The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World

By Michael Wheeler,

Why this book?

Mike shows how to cope with chaos and uncertainty by avoiding rigid plans and entrenched positions. He sees negotiation as a process of joint exploration that requires continual learning and adaptation. For him, the keys are agility and creativity. I’ve had lots of opportunities to hear Mike describe the ways that improvisation in jazz, sports, theatre, and even military action can teach us about improvisation in everyday negotiation. Mike has elevated improvisation to a key aspect of negotiation, and he has done so in a most convincing way. 

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The best books on negotiating for mutual advantage

Or, view all 23 books about negotiation

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