Negotiating the Nonnegotiable Book Summary - Negotiating the Nonnegotiable Book explained in key points
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Negotiating the Nonnegotiable summary

Daniel Shapiro

How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts

4 (167 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable by Daniel Shapiro offers a step-by-step guide on how to resolve conflicts that seem impossible to solve. It provides insights on how to identify hidden values, beliefs and proper ways to communicate for peaceful resolution.

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    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable
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    Quarreling is about more than reason and emotion – identity also plays a central role.

    We’ve all had an argument at some point. But to resolve conflicts, we need to understand the complex dynamics at play.

    Traditionally, it's believed that two main factors contribute to conflict, namely rationality and emotion.

    We generally begin an argument by appealing to rationality. The side of our personalities that appeals to rationality and rational decision making is known as the homo economicus, which, naturally enough, is a concept taken from the field of economics. This concept posits that we act as individuals. We try to maximise our own gains, as well as those which are mutually beneficial, especially when it comes to money or time.

    The other factor at play is emotion. Emotions, such as fear, anger or trust, are often irrational but can nevertheless dominate our perception. A good shorthand for this part of our personality is homo emoticus.

    However, beyond the two factors of rationality and emotions that are generally cited as the core of conflict, there's a third factor to consider that is often overlooked: identity.

    Identities are formed by our self-conception and by our search for meaning in existence. We’re as much homo identicus as we are homo economicus or homo emoticus.

    Identity is also the foundation for tribes, which are defined as groups united by similar ideas, values or religious beliefs.

    But let’s make this idea more concrete by looking at an experiment, conducted by the author, to show the power of tribe identity in conflicts.

    A total of 45 participants were randomly divided into six groups, with each group then being asked a series of questions on a range of themes. What were their opinions on capital punishment, or what did they consider the most important values of each tribe?

    After 50 minutes of discussion, the groups had to choose just one tribe out of the six to represent all of them. If they failed to do so, the earth would supposedly be destroyed.

    The author repeated this experiment around the world with many different groups, and despite the high imaginary stakes, the earth was only “saved” a handful of times!

    It's clear that participants became so wrapped up in their new identities that they preferred to destroy the planet rather than take on the identities of another group. New tribal bonds formed so strongly and so quickly that the conflict simply couldn’t be resolved.

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    What is Negotiating the Nonnegotiable about?

    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable (2016) offers insights into a new framework that can be applied to solve stubborn conflicts in both our personal and professional lives. The blinks emphasize the importance of the “tribal mind,” while also illustrating how we actively address emotional pain and examining the role of identity in conflict resolution.

    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable Review

    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable (2016) by Daniel Shapiro is a must-read for anyone interested in conflict resolution and effective negotiation. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • The book offers practical strategies and techniques to navigate difficult conversations and resolve seemingly unresolvable conflicts.
    • With its insightful case studies and real-life examples, the book provides a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics that fuel conflicts.
    • Shapiro's holistic approach, which combines psychology, mindfulness, and communication techniques, helps readers go beyond traditional negotiation methods and achieve lasting resolutions.

    Who should read Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?

    • Married readers who regularly fight with their partners
    • Unsatisfied employees who feel at odds with their colleagues or boss
    • Negotiators who need new ideas for resolving conflicts

    About the Author

    Daniel Shapiro founded the Harvard International Negotiation Program and is an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a consultant for Fortune 500 companies and various public institutions, and has created several conflict resolution initiatives in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

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    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable FAQs 

    What is the main message of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?

    The main message of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable is how to navigate difficult conversations and resolve conflicts effectively.

    How long does it take to read Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?

    The reading time for Negotiating the Nonnegotiable varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in around 15 minutes.

    Is Negotiating the Nonnegotiable a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Negotiating the Nonnegotiable is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking to improve their negotiation and conflict resolution skills. It offers practical insights and strategies for handling tough conversations.

    Who is the author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?

    The author of Negotiating the Nonnegotiable is Daniel Shapiro.

    What to read after Negotiating the Nonnegotiable?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Negotiating the Nonnegotiable, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Talking Across the Divide by Justin Lee
    • Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
    • I Don't Agree by Michael Brown
    • You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen
    • Quick Confidence by Selena Rezvani
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds