Getting to Yes, 2nd Edition, by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce
Patton (Hardcover, 1992)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Reviewing a book 15 years after its publication might
seem a bit pointless. But that depends on the book. In this case, we're
talking about a book that has near cult status in the business
community. Over the past 15 years, this book has been referred to and
revered in thousands--if not millions--of articles, seminars, college
course, and training programs. In fact, as of the date of this review
over 100 published books cite Getting to Yes.
If you're in business and haven't read this book, you
are operating with less than full power. But the book has value well
beyond the business world. If you've ever had a disagreement end in a
way that left you or the other party feeling cheated or manipulated,
that ending probably came about because you were either bargaining about
position or confusing the people with the problem. Either strategy
guarantees at least one loser. Unfortunately, most disagreements follow
one or both of these losing strategies.
With discipline and practice, you can apply the
knowledge in this book so that you:
- Preserve relationships without giving in (go
along to get along).
- Can satisfy the interests of both parties.
- Ensure both parties are motivated to uphold
their end of the bargain.
- Feel good about the agreement reached and the
people who reached it.
The strategies have nothing to do with tricking
other people or playing games. The strategies have everything to do with
respecting other people and refusing to play games.
In the publishing world, "thud factor" is a major
consideration. Many readers expect filler, in the form of anecdotes and
stories (as if they want the author to assume they are too daft to
understand assertions made directly in plain English). Getting to Yes is
200 pages long, with the last 50 pages or so being basically a review
and a "Cliff Notes" of the first 150. So, you have the book followed by
a summary of the book. What you don't have is 150 pages stretched to 300
pages with stories that a busy executive would rather skip. The concise
writing is a huge plus to many people, but some reviewers see it as a
minus. So, you may also read reviews saying that other books are
"better" because they are thicker.
I have two proposed solutions to that:
- Read the first 150 pages of Getting to Yes
twice. This will equal 300 pages.
- Read the book, then practice it. Take 150
pages of notes regarding your experiences. You now have the stories
and filler you wanted.
The authors wrote this book not to entertain, but
to educate. It gets to the point. There is no obfuscation, meandering,
or distraction. That same communication style is required in a
negotiation. The occasional anecdote may be helpful, but to lead a
negotiation to a successful conclusion you must focus on the real
issues. That is what this book does. And that's why it's a classic in
the classroom and in the boardroom, and in executive suites and
staterooms throughout the world.
Be sure to read
Getting Past No, The
Power of a Positive No, and
Negotiation Genius, as well.