1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
by Roger Fisher and William Ury
This classic book sparked a negotiation revolution that led millions to view negotiation as more than an intuitive and instinctive process. Instead, it described a structured way to engage that – if implemented – would lead to better deals for all the parties in certain circumstances.
While this process has been criticized over the years as not applying in certain highly adversarial win-lose negotiation environments – a legitimate concern – and it was first published almost 40 years ago and a ton of research has been completed since – it still spawned a negotiation research and teaching industry that now includes courses in almost every law and business school worldwide.
Its impact has been incalculable, and its principles still apply in many environments and are taught in almost every negotiation course around the world.
It’s also a short book and an easy read.
2. Influence: Science and Practice
by Robert Cialdini
The psychological underpinnings of the negotiation process drive success and failure in many negotiations. This book – another classic – describes the psychological tendencies that underlie human behavior in negotiation situations and cause someone to say “yes.”
What causes us to want to say “yes” to those we like (The Liking Principle)? What emotions come to the fore when we believe an item is running out of stock (The Scarcity Principle)? Why do we feel like we should return the favor if they give us something of value (The Reciprocity Principle)?
This great book deserves to be studied by every student of human behavior – which means every negotiator. I highly recommend it.
3. Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation
by William Ury
How can you turn what appears to be a win-lose negotiation into a win-win opportunity where you see great potential to add value for all the parties? This is especially challenging when your counterpart brings an old school adversarial mindset to the table.
And how do you maintain control in highly pressurized negotiations and defuse a counterpart’s anger and hostile attitude?
This book provides an easy-to-use template that will help negotiators succeed in these difficult situations. It has some great and relevant stories, too.
4. Built to Win: Creating a World-Class Negotiation Organization
by Lawrence Susskind and Hallam Movius
This book should be read by anyone managing negotiators or negotiating in or on behalf of an organization – large or small. It’s all about negotiation best practices and creating, implementing and scaling negotiation expertise across an organization.
This is easy to say, but extremely difficult to do. Training, of course, is critical. But there’s a lot more to it.
And while Built to Win doesn’t provide all the answers, it’s a powerful effort at addressing a huge unmet opportunity in the vast majority of organizations – systematically improving their negotiation results by getting their front-line negotiations to consistently negotiate strategically.
Latz’s Lesson: You can’t improve your negotiation skills and results without learning what the experts recommend. Study these books, plus mine. It’s a crucial first step.