The Bartering Mindset Book Summary - The Bartering Mindset Book explained in key points
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The Bartering Mindset summary

Brian C. Gunia

A Mostly Forgotten Framework for Mastering Your Next Negotiation

3.9 (70 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Bartering Mindset by Brian C. Gunia is a business book that explores the advantages and limitations of bartering as a negotiation technique. It provides practical tools and insights for achieving win-win outcomes and building strong relationships in business and beyond.

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    The Bartering Mindset
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    The monetary mind-set leads to a narrow-minded approach to negotiation.

    If you’ve ever read a book on negotiation, then you might be familiar with the concept of distributive behavior. The term refers to employing competitive tactics when negotiating, like using persuasion or making sure that you’re the first to make an offer. Most negotiators rely on distributive behavior, in part because it achieves results: statistically, people who make the first offer are more likely to get the better deal in their negotiations. 

    But if we look more closely, we can see that people also rely on distributive behavior because of their monetary mind-set, which intrinsically lends itself to this kind of strategy. 

    When you come to the negotiation table with the monetary mind-set, you bring a set of assumptions with you. For one, you see yourself as one side of a conflict between parties with opposing objectives. You also assume that a better deal for one party inherently means a worse deal for the other. In most cases, this leads buyer and seller to seek a compromise, which helps avoid conflict but also means each party takes a smaller slice from a smaller pie.

    A good example of distributive behavior as the result of a monetary mind-set is US President Donald Trump’s behavior when he demanded that Mexico finance a border wall between the two countries. Mexican President Enrique Peña rejected Trump’s plan, and it quickly became clear that the two men saw their positions as mutually exclusive. That made compromise necessary if both parties wanted to avoid further conflict. 

    But what if we didn’t have to compromise when we negotiated? That’s where integrative behavior comes in. Integrative behavior aims to appease opposing parties’ mutual interests by using strategies such as trust building or information exchange. Using integrative behavior, we can widen the scope of our negotiations so that each party gets more rather than both parties meeting in the middle. 

    Research has shown repeatedly that successful negotiators use both integrative and distributive behaviors to achieve optimal results. Yet research such as that published in the 2013 Forbes article “Negotiators Still Aren’t Getting to Yes” shows that even people well-versed in negotiation techniques still aren’t employing integrative behaviors. Though incorporating integrative behaviors is clearly the best practice, our monetary mind-set leads us to negotiate distributively.

    If we want to become skilled negotiators, we need to adopt a mind-set that lends itself to integrative behavior. As we’ll see, the bartering mind-set does just that. Follow it and all parties involved will get a bigger slice from a bigger pie.

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    What is The Bartering Mindset about?

    The Bartering Mindset (2019) details a method for negotiation that applies the mind-set of bartering economies of the past, in which people traded goods and services to get what they needed, to today’s monetary economy. By breaking down the bartering mind-set into a five-step process, these blinks will help you cultivate a more sophisticated approach to negotiating.

    The Bartering Mindset Review

    The Bartering Mindset (2021) by Brian C. Gunia is a compelling exploration of the power of negotiation and bargaining in our everyday lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with real-life examples and practical strategies, it equips readers with the tools to negotiate effectively and achieve win-win outcomes.
    • By combining research findings, psychological insights, and personal stories, the book offers a comprehensive understanding of the art of bargaining.
    • The author's engaging writing style and relatable anecdotes ensure that the book remains captivating and far from boring, making it an enjoyable journey through the world of negotiation.

    Who should read The Bartering Mindset?

    • Professionals looking for a new approach to negotiation
    • Psychologists and economists
    • Historians and anthropologists interested in an interdisciplinary look into bartering

    About the Author

    Brian C. Gunia is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. His research focuses on how people can help their careers through ethical behavior, effective negotiation and sufficient sleep. His work has been published in journals including Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Applied Psychology.  

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    The Bartering Mindset FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Bartering Mindset?

    The main message of The Bartering Mindset is understanding the art of negotiation and developing a strategic mindset.

    How long does it take to read The Bartering Mindset?

    The reading time for The Bartering Mindset varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Bartering Mindset a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Bartering Mindset is worth reading as it provides valuable insights and practical tips on negotiation strategies and mindset.

    Who is the author of The Bartering Mindset?

    The author of The Bartering Mindset is Brian C. Gunia.

    What to read after The Bartering Mindset?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Bartering Mindset, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Yes Book by Clive Rich
    • Negotiating the Nonnegotiable by Daniel Shapiro
    • The Art of Negotiation by Michael Wheeler
    • How to Have Impossible Conversations by Peter Boghossian and James A. Lindsay
    • The First Rule of Mastery by Michael Gervais
    • The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton
    • No More Mr. Nice Guy! by Robert A. Glover
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell
    • Power And Prediction by Ajay Agrawal