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I Know Nothing About Negotiations — But These Books Helped Me

I used to be terrified to negotiate pay, leaving thousands on the table. Reading these five books changed that.
by Daniel Thomas | Jan 15 2024
I Know Nothing About Negotiations — But These Books Helped Me

I’m a freelancer, so I need to discuss my rates with new clients all the time. There’s a lot of opportunity to negotiate better rates, but I sucked at talking about money.

I’d often accept a rate without question just to avoid an awkward conversion, even though I knew I was potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table. 

I spoke to friends about how they negotiated their salaries and pay rises, and it turned out that no one’s that good at negotiating. 

This had to change. 

At the start of 2023, I decided to learn everything I could about successful negotiation and see how much more money I could negotiate across the year. As well as earning $25k more, just by negotiating, I used these newfound skills to negotiate better projects and deals both in my career and personal life.

The 5 Books to Read Before You Negotiate Anything 

So how does someone who hates talking about money learn to negotiate? By turning to the experts. I wanted to read books by master negotiators to discover the tactics they use. 

I also wanted to hit the ground running, so I turned to Blinkist. Blinkist is an app that brings together key insights from nonfiction books and presents them as 15-minute reads and listens. The library is huge — 7,000 titles across 27 categories

I found a curated collection called the Best Books on Negotiation to get me started. 

Here’s what I learned from a few of the titles. 

1. You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen 

First up, mindset. You Can Negotiate Anything explains that negotiating a better deal isn’t a win-lose situation where only one side can win. 

Author Herb Cohen — who’s taught negotiation skills to the FBI and CIA — says you should see negotiations as win-win by identifying everyone’s needs and finding a solution that both sides are happy with. 

“To successfully interact with any individual in any setup, all you have to do is determine his or her needs, then fulfill them.”
Herb Cohen

2. Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

Negotiating money can feel like you’re pulling a number out of nowhere. Getting to Yes says you should base your negotiations on objective criteria

For example, when negotiating a house sale, you’d base your asking price on the size of the house, its features, and the prices of similar properties in the area. 

3. Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson

I rediscovered a hack in Secrets of Power Negotiating that I — and many others — always forget: bracketing. Bracketing is when you ask for a better deal than you want, making it easier to negotiate to a result you’re happy with.

For example, if you want to buy a used car for $10k, but the asking price is $15k, you wouldn’t offer $10k right away. Try offering $5k and negotiating to meet in the middle…bang on $10k.

4. The Art of Negotiation by Michael Wheeler 

Don’t be afraid to highlight what the other person would miss out on if they don’t take your deal.

The Art of Negotiation shares that people are more likely to agree with you if you focus on what they could lose rather than on what they would gain. 

5. Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell

I felt a little overwhelmed at the idea of negotiating, but Bargaining for Advantage shares an important message: stay authentic and play to your strengths

You don’t need to act like a bullish businessperson if that’s not who you really are.

If you’re a detail-oriented listener, use that as your negotiating superpower. If you’re good at using humor to get people to warm to you, crack some jokes when striking up a deal. 

“To be good, you must learn to be yourself at the bargaining table.”
G. Richard Shell

I learned from these books — and quite a few more — on Blinkist. Putting my newfound skills, mindset, and confidence into practice, I negotiated every new project I got in 2023, earning more on better terms.

Here’s how I used the app to level up my negotiating skills.

Get Insights From Negotiating Masters in 15 Minutes   

Blinkist shares key insights from nonfiction books in bite-sized explainers. You can learn new hacks and techniques from experts in the field in about 15 minutes

There are plenty of books on negotiation, and you can branch out and learn about other topics like investing, leadership, and entrepreneurship. 

The library’s always growing too — 70 new books are added every month. 


I Know Nothing About Negotiations — But These Books Helped Me
Learn from 6,500 books in Blinkist’s library.


Discover Negotiation Tactics On the Go

Learning how to negotiate was a huge focus for me this year, but I still had to make the time for it. You can read or listen to Blinkist’s explainers, so I got through these books while at the gym, cooking, and running errands.

“Blinkist is a lens to kick off thinking, a surveying tool. I can, for example, quickly review a few of the best books on negotiation.”
Adam Gries, Founder of OKpanda

29 Million Users Are Using Blinkist to Upgrade Their Lives 

It turns out I’m not the only one using Blinkist to level up. The app has 29 million users from around the world, it’s been praised by the likes of The Guardian and The New York Times, and it’s won awards from Google and the United Nations

And the stats don’t lie — 91% of Blinkist users say they’ve created better habits and 87% say they’ve made positive changes thanks to the app. 

I Know Nothing About Negotiations — But These Books Helped Me

One of the World’s Best Apps for Learning New Skills 

Apple named Blinkist one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning and, honestly, I can see why. After learning how to negotiate, I turned to Blinkist to learn other skills in less time, such as public speaking and critical thinking. 

Users have given Blinkist 94,000 5-star ratings, and many of them use the app to learn new things: 

“If you want to expand your knowledge and get inspiration but are juggling too much, there is always time for Blinkist.”
5-star review.
“People wonder why I’m so knowledgeable…it’s because I listen to Blinks all the time! You can gather all the main concepts from loads of different books by amazing authors very quickly and easily.”
5-star review

Want to discover more in the Best Books on Negotiation collection, or learn a whole other skill? Download Blinkist to make it happen.

Start your free 7-day trial

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