7 essential reads on negotiation

Selin Kesebir, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, offers her seven top books


Want to improve your negotiation skills? Selin Kesebir, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School, offers her seven top books.

1. Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond

by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman

This is the first book I recommend to anyone who wishes to learn how to negotiate more effectively or refresh their negotiation basics. It covers the mental habits and behavioural strategies you need for successful negotiation, in an engaging manner and with lots of lively examples.

2. Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes

by Robert Mnookin

Robert Mnookin is the Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and a giant in the field of negotiations and dispute resolution. This book provides a good overview of negotiation principles distilled from many years of experience. It highlights the importance of creating value in negotiations and the pitfalls of seeing them as zero-sum.

3. Getting Past No: Negotiating With Difficult People

by Roger Fisher and William Ury

This is my favourite book on how to deal with thorny situations and difficult people. What should you do if your opponent does not come to the table? Or if she’s at the table but not moving an inch? What if she is using hardball tactics on you or has much more power than you do? It is a concise book, densely packed with concrete ideas. If you would like to read further in this genre of overturning seemingly hopeless negotiations, Deepak Malhotra’s recent book “Negotiating the Impossible” is another great one.

4. Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator

by Gary Noesner

Gary Noesner was an FBI hostage negotiator for twenty-three years, and the bureau's chief negotiator for the last ten. He has led some of the most important hostage negotiations of his time and in the book he gives first-hand accounts of some of these life-or-death situations. The book reads like a great thriller and imparts a key lesson about negotiating successfully, namely the importance of staying in control of one's emotions and listening carefully, even in the most pressing situations.

5. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

This is a great parenting book that deserves its place here for two reasons. First, negotiating with children can be very demanding and draining and this book offers some very practical tips. Beyond that, the book gives us principles and strategies to use when we truly want the best for the other party and strongly care about the relationship.

6. The Essentials of Job Negotiations: Proven Strategies for Getting What You Want

by Terri R. Kurtzberg and Charles E. Naquin

Negotiating a job offer – whether you are trying to get the best offer from an employer or looking to hire employees for your start-up or your team – can be hard. This is a good book to go to, full of evidence-backed advice. It highlights that the most important issue at stake in a job negotiation is your relationship with the other party. You may also read this book to simply revisit basic principles of negotiation applied to a specific context.

7. Great Negotiations: Agreements that Changed the Modern World

by Fredrik Stanton

This book tells the story of eight negotiations that have shaped the world we live in, including Benjamin Franklin obtaining French support for the American Revolution and the diplomats from more than 32 countries coming together at the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I. If you are interested in history and politics, you’ll enjoy reading about these complex negotiations where there was so much at stake and such colourful characters round the table.

Comments (4)

Oi Kin 6 years, 7 months and 20 days ago

Can I know the prices of these seven (7) books?

GregS 6 years, 7 months and 25 days ago

I have run workshops and classes using Beyond Reason by Roger Fisher & Daniel Shapiro in conjunction with some of your recommended texts. It offers insight, tools and cases on how to understand, build and leverage relationships and emotions in negotiation. Also insightful and practical is 3-D Negotiation, originally an HBR article (Nov 2003) and then a book by David Lax and Max Sebenius.

Selin Kesebir 6 years, 10 months and 24 days ago

Thank you Tony. Getting To Yes is a classic in the field of negotiations and I like it very much as well. It was the first book to clearly and forcefully express what we teach today as the fundamentals of negotiating. These are principles such as listening closely, treating the other party fairly, and striving for mutual gain. I haven’t included it here only because its ideas have been so influential that they are already embedded in many other books on the list.

Tony Sp 6 years, 11 months and 22 days ago

Interesting list because it gathers not only business also history, family and FBI negotiations to give a broad perspective, congrats. What do you think about the book 'Getting the yes' by Ury and Fisher Ms. Kesebir? I found it very useful.