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Reading List: Good for You, Great for Me

Unlike many books that promise to teach readers how to negotiate and instead offer only cryptic theories, Good for You, Great for Me delivers practical how-to advice. Lawrence Susskind, the co-founder of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and a professor at MIT, suggests principles and strategies that anyone can use in a negotiation without “undermining trust or ruining relationships.”

He distills these strategies into six “operational moves”—such as expect the unexpected and prepare what-if proposals, help people on the other side sell your best deal to their back table (partners, bosses, etc.), and protect yourself by insulating agreements against predictable surprises. Devoting one chapter to each of the six moves, Susskind surveys the possible permutations and obstacles that may arise and presents solutions. He also details how to handle obstinate or irrational negotiators (try to understand their thinking; don’t respond in an irrational manner; don’t make unilateral concessions to win them over; know when to walk away) and addresses industry-specific issues that may impact negotiations. Along the way, he drops in intriguing data and opinions. For example, according to his research, those who can “live with ambiguity a little longer” usually fare better in negotiations.

Whether you’re negotiating at a conference table or your dinner table, refrain from bargaining until you’ve digested the valuable lessons in this lively, logical book.

 by Lawrence Susskind

June
Public Affairs; $25.99

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