Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

NOOK Book(eBook)

$13.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


The key text on problem-solving negotiation-updated and revised

Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution.

Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101539545
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 46,409
File size: 601 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Roger Fisher is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law Emeritus and director emeritus of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

William Ury cofounded the Harvard Negotiation Project and is the award-winning author of several books on negotiation.

Bruce Patton is cofounder and Distinguished Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project and the author of Difficult Conversations, a New York Times bestseller.

Read an Excerpt

 Chapter 4: Invent Options for Mutual Gain

The case of Israel and Egypt negotiating over who should keep how much of the Sinai Peninsula illustrates both a major problem in negotiation and a key opportunity.

the pie that leaves both parties satisfied. Often you are negotiating along a single dimension, such as the amount of territory, the price of a car, the length of a lease on an apartment, or the size of a commission on a sale. At other times you face what appears to be an either/or choice that is either markedly favorable to you or to the other side. In a divorce settlement, who gets the house? Who gets custody of the children? You may see the choice as one between winning and losing- and neither side will agree to lose. Even if you do win and get the car for $12,000, the lease for five years, or the house and kids, you have a sinking feeling that they will not let you forget it. Whatever the situation, your choices seem limited.

option like a demilitarized Sinai can often make the difference between deadlock and agreement. One lawyer we know attributes his success directly to his ability to invent solutions advantageous to both his client and the other side. He expands the pie before dividing it. Skill at inventing options is one of the most useful assets a negotiator can have.

Yet all too often negotiators end up like the proverbial children who quarreled over an orange. After they finally agreed to divide the orange in half, the first child took one half, ate the fruit, and threw away the peel, while the other threw away. the fruit and used the peel from the second half in baking a cake. All too often negotiators "leave money on the table" - they fail to reach agreement when they might have, or the agreement they do reach could have been better for each side. Too many negotiations end up with half an orange for each side instead of the whole fruit for one and the whole peel for the other. Why?


As valuable as it is to have many options, people involved in a negotiation rarely sense a need for them. In a dispute, people usually believe that they know the right answer - their view should prevail. In a contract negotiation they are equally likely to believe that their offer is reasonable and should be adopted, perhaps with some adjustment in the price. All available answers appear to lie along a straight line between their position and yours. Often the only creative thinking shown is to suggest splitting the difference.

inventing of an abundance of options: (1) premature judgment; (2) searching for the single answer; (3) the assumption of a fixed pie; and (4) thinking that "solving their problem is their problem." In order to overcome these constraints, you need to understand them.

Premature judgment

Inventing options does not come naturally. Not inventing is the normal state of affairs, even when you are outside a stressful negotiation. If you were asked to name the one person in the world most deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, any answer you might start to propose would immediately encounter your reservations and doubts. How could you be sure that that person was the most deserving? Your mind might well go blank, or you might throw out a few answers that would reflect conventional thinking: "Well, maybe the Pope, or the President."

pounce on the drawbacks of any new idea. Judgment hinders imagination.

sense is likely to be sharper. Practical negotiation appears to call for practical thinking, not wild ideas.

on the other side. Suppose you are negotiating with your boss over your salary for the coming year. You have asked for a $4,000 raise; your boss has offered you $1,500, a figure that you have indicated is unsatisfactory. In a tense situation like this you are not likely to start inventing imaginative solutions. You may fear that if you suggest some bright half-baked idea like taking half the increase in a raise and half in additional benefits, you might look foolish. Your boss might say, "Be serious. You know better than that. It would upset company policy. I am surprised. that you even suggested it." If on the spur of the moment you invent a possible option of spreading out the raise over time, he may take it as an offer: "I'm prepared to start negotiating on that basis." Since he may take whatever you say as a commitment, you will think twice before saying anything.

piece of information that will jeopardize your bargaining position. If you should suggest, for example, that the company help finance the house you are about to buy, your boss may conclude that you intend to stay and that you will in the end accept any raise in salary he is prepared to offer.

Searching for the single answer

In most people's minds, inventing simply is not part of the negotiating process. People see their job as narrowing the gap between positions, not broadening the options available. They tend to think, "We're having a hard enough time agreeing as it is. The last thing we need is a bunch of different ideas." Since the end product of negotiation is a single decision, they fear that freefloating discussion will only delay and confuse the process.

the second is premature closure. By looking from the outset for the single best answer, you are likely to short-circuit a wiser decision-making process in which you select from a large number of possible answers.

The assumption of a fixed pie

A third explanation for why there may be so few good options on the table is that each side sees the situation as essentially either/or - either I get what is in dispute or you do. A negotiation often appears to be a "fixed-sum" game; $100 more for you on the price of a car means $100 less for me. Why bother to invent if all the options are obvious and I can satisfy you only at my own expense?

Thinking that "solving their problem Is their problem"

A final obstacle to inventing realistic options lies in each side's concern with only its own immediate interests. For a negotiator to reach an agreement that meets his own self-interest he needs to develop a solution which also appeals to the self-interest of the other. Yet emotional involvement on one side of an issue makes it difficult to achieve the detachment necessary to think up wise ways of meeting the interests of both sides: "We've got enough problems of our own; they can look after theirs." There also frequently exists a psychological reluctance to accord any legitimacy to the views of the other side; it seems disloyal to think up ways to satisfy them. Shortsighted self- concern thus leads a negotiator to develop only partisan positions, partisan arguments, and one-sided solutions....

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ..... xi
Introduction ..... xvii

Part I: The Problem ..... 1

Chapter 1: Don't Bargain Over Positions ..... 3

Part II: The Method ..... 15
Chapter 2: Separate the PEOPLE from the Problem ..... 17
Chapter 3: Focus on INTERESTS, Not Positions ..... 40
Chapter 4: Invent OPTIONS for Mutual Gain ..... 56
Chapter 5: Insist on Using Objective Criteria ..... 81

Part III: Yes, But ..... 95
Chapter 6: What If They Are More Powerful? ..... 97
Chapter 7: What If They Won't Play? ..... 107
Chapter 8: What If They Use Dirty Tricks? ..... 129

Part IV: In Conclusion ..... 145

Part V: Ten Questions People Ask About Getting to Yes ..... 149

Analytical table of Contents ..... 189
A Note on the Harvard Negotiation Project ..... 199
Question 1: "Does positional bargaining ever make sense?"
Question 2: "What if the other side believes in a different standard of fairness?"
Question 3: "Should I be fair if I don't have to be?"
Question 4: "What do I do if the people are the problem?"
Question 5: "Should I negotiate even with terrorists or someone like Hitler? When does it make sense not to negotiate?"
Question 6: "How should I adjust my negotiating approach to account for differences of personality, gender, culture, and so on?"
Question 7: "How do I decide things like 'Where should we meet?' 'Who should make the first offer?' and 'How high should I start?'"
Question 8: "Concretely, how do I move from inventing options to making commitments?"
Question 9: "How do I try out these ideas without taking too much risk?"
Question 10: "Can the way I negotiate really make a difference if the other side is more powerful?" And "How do I enhance my negotiating power?"


Like it or not, you are a negotiator. Negotiation is a fact of life. You discuss a raise with your boss. You try to agree with a stranger on a price for his house. Two lawyers try to settle a lawsuit arising from a car accident. A group of oil companies plan a joint venture exploring for offshore oil. A city official meets with union leaders to avert a transit strike. The United States Secretary of State sits down with his Soviet counterpart to seek an agreement limiting nuclear arms. All these are negotiations.

Everyone negotiates something every day. Like Moliere's Monsieur Jourdain, who was delighted to learn that he had been speaking prose all his life, people negotiate even when they don't think of themselves as doing so. You negotiate with your spouse about where to go for dinner and with your child about when the lights go out. Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others. It is back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed.

More and more occasions require negotiation; conflict is a growth industry. Everyone wants to participate in decisions that affect them; fewer and fewer people will accept decisions dictated by someone else. People differ, and they use negotiation to handle their differences. Whether in business, government, or the family, people reach most decisions through negotiation, Even when they go to court, they almost always negotiate a settlement before trial.

Although negotiation takes place every day, it is not easy to do well. Standard strategies for negotiation often leave people dissatisfied, worn out, oralienated-and frequently all three.

People find themselves in a dilemma. They see two ways to negotiate: soft or hard. The soft negotiator wants to avoid personal conflict and so makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution; yet he often ends up exploited and feeling bitter. The hard negotiator sees any situation as a contest of wills in which the side that takes the more extreme positions and holds out longer fares better. Hi wants to win; yet he often ends up producing an equally hard response which exhausts him and his resources and harms his relationship with the other side. Other standard negotiating strategies fall between hard and soft, but each involves an attempted trade-off between getting what you want and getting along with people.

There is a third way to negotiate, a way neither hard nor soft, but rather both hard and soft. The method of principled negotiation developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project 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 your interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side. The method of principled negotiation is hard on the merits, soft on the people. It employs no tricks and no posturing. Principled negotiation shows you how to obtain what you are entitled to and still be decent. It enables you to be fair while protecting you against those who would take advantage of your fairness.

This book is about the method of principled negotiation. The first chapter describes problems that arise in using the standard strategies of positional bargaining. The next four chapters lay out the four principles of the method. The last three chapters answer the questions most commonly asked about the method: What if the other side is more powerful? What if they will not play along? And what if they use dirty tricks?

Principled negotiation can be used by United States diplomats in arms control talks with the Soviet Union, by Wall Street lawyers representing Fortune 500 companies in antitrust cases, and by couples in deciding everything from where to go for vacation to how to divide their property if they get divorced. Anyone can use this method.

Every negotiation is different, but the basic elements do not change. Principled negotiation can be used whether there is one issue or several; two parties or many; whether there is a prescribed ritual, as in collective bargaining, or an impromptu free-for-all, as in talking with hijackers. The method applies whether the other side is more experienced or less, a hard bargainer or a friendly one. Principled negotiation is an all-purpose strategy. Unlike almost all other strategies, if the other side learns this one, it does not become more difficult to use; it becomes easier. If they read this book, all the better.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Getting to Yes 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was recommended this book by a management consultant. Having read it I understand why, like most consultants it has little new to say, plenty of buzz words but no real execution guidelines. The book is not all bad, I liked the explanation for the win-win attitude. Over all the book does explain the attitude you should have to renegotiate successfully, but unlike some great managerial books, lack the real world examples and guild lines on how to get the job done.
CognitiveWealth More than 1 year ago
I attended a mediation course that follows the philosophy communicated in "Getting To Yes". If you read this book and follow the advice, you will never look at an issue the same again. You will consider the interests of all parties prior to responding to any question. As a mediator, the tools are critical to a "win-win" outcome. I consider this book and their follow-up book, "Beyond Reason", as books to keep within arms reach at all times.
Panchito More than 1 year ago
Getting to Yes is a book that it is simple to read yet it is full of recommendations on how to negotiate and get to yes - thus getting what you want. Although the concepts outlined on this book should be known by everyone, it is not until you read it that it dings on you on the steps you need to take to prepare for any negotiation. When you get to the middle of the book, you already know all the concepts, and the rest of the book is more of a mantra of what was said initially. This is a book that can be read during the weekend. The challenge is practicing the concepts on real life situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have used this book as a resource guide numerous times over the years. I have found it to be quite practical, detailed and explains the Negotiation Process in a very concise way. Highly recommended for anyone in the negotiation process or facing one in the near future.
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
As a corporate human resources director, I often find myself in the position of negotiator. This may be with unions, contractors, vendors or employees. After reading this book, I found that many of the `tips' actually work in the real world.

Combined with the book by Jerry Spence How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday this book will have a very positive impact on your negotiating skills. Michael L Gooch, SPHR
Guest More than 1 year ago
Authors Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce M. Patton offer a seminal step-by-step guide to negotiating effectively. The authors use anecdotal examples to illustrate both positive and negative negotiating techniques. They believe that, with principled negotiation, both parties can reach an agreement in an amicable and efficient manner. Principled negotiation is based on the belief that when each side comes to understand the interests of the other, they can jointly create options that are mutually advantageous, resulting in a wise settlement. Since this is the second edition, the authors take the opportunity to answer ten common questions from readers of the first edition. If you become skeptical about these fairly rosy negotiation techniques as you read, the Q and A section is very useful. This classic text is easy to understand and you can implement its techniques immediately. We can¿t ask for more than that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book on negotiation you will find. It is clear, and the insights are easy to put to use. Take the idea of looking underneath positions to interests. It is a simple idea. And it is the essence of whether a negotiation will turn sour or successful. My one big complaint is that this book doesn't go into too much depth on dealing with the people problem. (Separating the peopel from the problem is not helpful enough for me.) But Fisher just came out with a new book that goes to the heart of emotions and is a perfect sequel. (His new book is Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is valuable for negotiators representing themselves or other parties in complex disputes. It is also valuable for dealing with non-business related disputes. Getting To Yes offers valuable insight into the psychology of disputes and dispute resolution. It empowers you in ordinary situations such as buying a car or settling a personal insurance claim. I read it again and again before I serve as a negotiator and also before I act as a third-party mediator.
carterchristian1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good ideas for business, family and other situations where there is likely to be conflict
OccassionalRead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Somewhere in Getting to Yes the author states that principled negotiation is common sense. That does not mean that it is easy however, and often we are hijacked by emotion or the desire to win at all costs. This book is a useful tool for all of us because whether we are business people, consumers, public servants, or just dealing with our family and friends, we all negotiate on a daily basis. The trick to becoming an effective negotiator is practice. Reading this book is a good first step in reasoned and rational methods to reaching win-win results.
AlexPearson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book teaches you how to truly negotiate. It is based on principles which pretty much apply to people in all types of situations. Even if you are not in a business field, give this book a try, you will find something useful in it.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a surprisingly easy book to read but chalk full of information and examples. The contents are carefully structured and each chapter builds on the previous. It does not oversimplify issues, on the contrary, it recognizes the complexity of some negotiation situations but constantly refers to the same principles to show how they can be applied consistently. Finally, I appreciated the variety of the examples drawn both from common occurrences and exceptionally delicate situations, giving a wide range of possibilities to consider. Very dense but extremely useful, this book gives the secrets to a powerful yet human way to find solutions to tough conflicts.
MatthewHittinger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Our book club at work decided to read this. It was dry, but good at re-presenting what you already know in an organized fashion. More case studies/better examples would aid it. You can pick up most of what you need to know my reading the section headings.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a dry exposition on the fundamentals of negotiation. Though in no way captivating, I did find it useful and relatively concise.
lool on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A must have. Equally usefull with your boy/girlfriend and with your colleagues. Could it be clearer?
Huaynapotosi More than 1 year ago
Nice easy read that I've found useful in my personal and professional life; I recommend it. Didn't give it 5 stars because I feel that it could go more in depth but don't regret having purchased it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NathanIves More than 1 year ago
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury recognizes that professionals are in a frequent state of negotiation and provides them with the tools needed to achieve a desirable outcome. This book probes many diverse negotiation circumstances from both sides of the debate and offers constructive, easy-to-follow methods to achieve one's desired outcomes by: - Disentangling the people from the problem - Focusing on interests, not positions - Working together to find creative and fair options - These methods help the reader negotiate with anyone at any level of their organization. I believe that negotiation is a key component to individual and organizational success. Getting to Yes breaks down these give and take situations; providing the immediately actionable tools needed to achieve a favorable outcome and making these situations less intimidating. If I had one criticism of the book, it would be that the authors seek to achieve a `fair' or `equitable' outcome for each side. While this appears admirable, it forfeits an upside gain that an effective negotiation might be able to otherwise achieve. Getting to Yes provides a thorough, actionable negotiation tool set that is critical to every professional and organization's success; making it a StrategyDriven recommended read. All the Best, Nathan Ives StrategyDriven Principal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this book from the library and decided it's a must have in the home library. It's great for people in consulting and business.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago