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Updated: 28 Jan 2021

Negotiation (Book Review) – Is This the Best Negotiation Book?



A detailed examination of negotiation theory with plenty of useful advice and application to everyday negotiations.  A good overview but tries to cover too much material.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Categories: Business, Psychology, Academic
Publication Date: 2006-11-29

by Roy J. Lewicki, Joseph A. Littner, John W. Minton, David M. Saunders

A Valuable Information Resource

Negotiation (2nd Edition) is a must-read for both the novice and the professional negotiator. This book is packed with the latest developments in the theory and practice of the negotiation process and conflict management. The authors have drawn upon a rich pool of resources from business schools, education, public policy, psychology, and many other sources. The result is an in-depth product that delves into the subject of negotiation. This book examines the subject matter from numerous angles to create a very detailed tapestry of valuable information.

One of the only complaints that could be leveled at this fine work is that it perhaps tries to examine too much information. The result is that some of the most interesting and relevant topics are glossed over. This means the book lacks some valuable detail, which could leave the reader thirsting for more information. In particular, there perhaps could have been more development in the chapter Communication Processes, and especially in International Negotiation. However, the excellent reference section avails the reader to more information should they find the need to slake their interest further.

Another gripe is that the book relies too heavily on theory, as theory and practical application often diverge in real-world situations.

Nonetheless, there is a multitude of pertinent and relevant information provided by the authors. Readers of Negotiation are sure to find this work of considerable use in their everyday negotiations. The book is clearly defined in its design and presentation, and can be most certainly described as being very readable.

The Book’s Structure

The authors have structured Negotiation into 14 chapters, now including International Negotiation – missing from the first edition. The first two chapters prepare the reader by examining the negotiation process and by describing what conflict management entails. The next two chapters explain the two primary methods utilized in most negotiations as being distributive and integrative negotiations. These chapters succinctly explain the differences in these negotiation styles as well as how they diverge.

The rest of the book takes us into the broad recesses of what comprises the negotiation process. The reader then discovers what encompasses the tactics and strategy of the negotiation interaction. Next follows one of the most important chapters covered: How to prepare for a negotiation. Preparation is one of the most overlooked stages and is often ignored by many negotiators. Then, we examine in detail the causes and reasons for a negotiation breakdown. This chapter is then enhanced by the importance and relevance of communication processes. This chapter is astutely followed by the persuasion process and the detailed examination of the social structure of a negotiation.

The subsequent four chapters consider how to create and use power in negotiations. This is followed by a most interesting chapter that probes into the psychology and influences of personality and negotiation style. Lastly, we discover the importance of both the strengths and weaknesses of third-party intervention, followed by a crucial examination of ethics. The final chapter encompasses a brief but thorough examination of international negotiations. In particular, we come to understand the increasing importance of cultural differences in a cross-border negotiation context.

This is an excellent book for both the beginner and the experienced negotiator. The book includes the latest developments in many fields that are especially pertinent and relevant to the topic of negotiation.

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