The Art of Negotiation Book Summary - The Art of Negotiation Book explained in key points
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The Art of Negotiation summary

Michael Wheeler

How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World

4 (237 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

The Art of Negotiation by Michael Wheeler is a practical guidebook to help you become a better negotiator. It offers valuable insights and strategies to negotiate deals, resolve conflicts, and improve relationships.

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    The Art of Negotiation
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    The secret to successful negotiation is to prepare a plan beforehand, but not necessarily stick to it.

    Imagine you’re in an important salary negotiation, and you know exactly what you want: you know that you’re worth $120,000 per year – not less! – and so you naturally demand this amount. But what do you do when they say no? More than likely, you’ll lose confidence and control of the negotiation, and consequently leave the negotiating table with far less than you had expected.

    Well, it’s good that you knew what you wanted. But you hadn’t prepared a map that considers many acceptable paths and outcomes so that you can make the most of your negotiations.

    Your map should start by first identifying what your ultimate target is, i.e., your stretch goal, along with several baselines, or minimum acceptable outcomes. This way, if your negotiating partner doesn’t accept your stretch goal, then you have something else to fall back on.

    Baselines are important, as your negotiating partner has their own goals which often contradict with your own.

    Let’s look at that hypothetical salary negotiation: if your stretch goal of $120,000 is rejected, then you can fall back on your baselines. Your baselines might be things like “a yearly salary of $100,000” or “$90,000 plus stock options.”

    While maps are practically useful, they are also useful in another crucial way: just feeling like you know where you are going can give you the confidence you need to succeed.

    It was this very principle that saved a military patrol unit from certain death after becoming lost in the Swiss Alps back in the 1930s. The unit was in danger of dying in the wilderness when one soldier found a map in his pocket, which the team then followed to safety. The interesting thing here is that this wasn’t even a map of the Alps, but the Pyrenees!

    Yet, the assumption that they knew where they were heading nevertheless gave them the confidence to make it out alive.

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    What is The Art of Negotiation about?

    The Art of Negotiation offers a radical approach not found in most books on negotiation: no two negotiations are the same, and thus there is no silver-bullet strategy to negotiation. Rather, it offers insights on how to develop the skills to succeed in dynamic and unpredictable negotiations.

    The Art of Negotiation Review

    The Art of Negotiation (2014) by Michael Wheeler is a valuable resource for anyone looking to sharpen their negotiation skills. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with practical strategies, it equips readers with the tools they need to navigate complex negotiations and achieve favorable outcomes.
    • Covering a wide range of scenarios and industries, the book offers insights that can be applied to various real-life situations, making it relevant and practical.
    • With its engaging and relatable examples, the book brings the art of negotiation to life, making it far from a dull academic read and ensuring readers stay captivated.

    Best quote from The Art of Negotiation

    Whoever sits across the table from us may be just as smart, determined, and fallible as we are.

    —Michael Wheeler
    example alt text

    Who should read The Art of Negotiation?

    • Anyone who sweats bullets at the negotiating table
    • Anyone who wants to negotiate a higher salary
    • Anyone who wants to feel more secure in everyday and business communication

    About the Author

    Michael Wheeler is professor at the Harvard Business School who has taught negotiation techniques to thousands of students. In addition, he is editor of the Negotiation Journal, published by Harvard Law School and lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

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    The Art of Negotiation FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Art of Negotiation?

    The main message of The Art of Negotiation is mastering the art of effective negotiation for successful outcomes.

    How long does it take to read The Art of Negotiation?

    The reading time for The Art of Negotiation varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Art of Negotiation a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Art of Negotiation is a valuable read for anyone interested in honing their negotiation skills. It offers practical insights and strategies for achieving successful outcomes in various situations.

    Who is the author of The Art of Negotiation?

    The author of The Art of Negotiation is Michael Wheeler.