Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight

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In an age of terror, our national leaders face such critical decisions every day. Should we negotiate with the Taliban? Iran? North Korea?

In private disputes you too may face such adversaries: a business partner who has cheated you, a sibling grabbing part of your inheritance, a greedy divorcing spouse.

Across a wide range of difficult conflicts, Mnookin explains how to make wise decisions. He identifies the ...

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Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight

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Overview

In an age of terror, our national leaders face such critical decisions every day. Should we negotiate with the Taliban? Iran? North Korea?

In private disputes you too may face such adversaries: a business partner who has cheated you, a sibling grabbing part of your inheritance, a greedy divorcing spouse.

Across a wide range of difficult conflicts, Mnookin explains how to make wise decisions. He identifies the traps to avoid—emotional, strategic, and political—and the elements that are critical for success.

Mnookin’s real life case studies cover a remarkable range. Some involve political leaders: Churchill’s refusal in 1940 to negotiate with Hitler; Nelson Mandela’s choice to initiate negotiations with the government of South Africa. Others involve individuals facing evil regimes: the Soviet KGB or Hitler’s SS. Half the cases involve business or family disputes where Mnookin played an active role. In all of them, emotions ran high and demonization ran rampant: two giant computer companies fighting over software rights, the San Francisco Symphony torn by strike, a CEO who feels betrayed by a joint venture partner, and some family disputes that reached crisis points.

In this lively, informative, practical book, Robert Mnookin provides the reader with the tools we need to bargain with the devils in everyday life as well as evaluate the decisions of our national leaders.

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  • Bargaining with the Devil
    Bargaining with the Devil  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mnookin, head of Harvard's Program on Negotiation, combines business, history, philosophy and psychology to present a complete set of tools for confronting "Devils," defined as any individual perceived as a harmful adversary. Examining eight conflicts, including Winston Churchill's decision to reject negotiations with Adolf Hitler, Nelson Mandela's decision to initiate discussions with South Africa's apartheid government, IBM's discovery that its largest competitor copied its software, poisoned labor-management issues in the San Francisco Symphony, and examples from his professional experience, Mnookin (Beyond Winning) provides a straightforward account of the deliberative options when facing a "Faustian tension between pragmatism and principle." Along with cogent analysis, Mnookin suggests four general guidelines for determining the best course of action: systematically compare the cost-benefit ratios of negotiating or fighting, collect advice from others, tip the scales in favor of negotiation before fully committing, and don't allow moral intuition to override pragmatic assessment. While Mnookin admits his suggestions are "hardly the last word," they will help decision-makers focus their thoughts in challenging situations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416583325
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.54 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I Understanding the Challenge 9

1 Avoiding Common Traps 11

2 Bargaining and Its Alternatives: Costs, Benefits, and Beyond 22

3 Recognition, Legitimacy, and Morality 34

Part II Global Devils 51

4 Rudolf Kasztner: Bargaining with the Nazis 53

5 Winston Churchill: May 1940-Should Churchill Negotiate? 83

6 Nelson Mandela: Apartheid in South Africa 106

Part III Business Devils 137

7 Giant Software Wars: IBM vs. Fujitsu 139

8 Disharmony in the Symphony 177

Part IV Family Devils 209

9 A Devilish Divorce 211

10 Sibling Warfare 232

Conclusion: Lessons Learned 261

Acknowledgments 269

Notes 273

Index 307

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    The author is clearly an expert in his area and has some good things to say. However, he spends too much time on ancient history and politics. His writing is dry and he lacks a sense of humor.

    Skip it. I'm sure you can find better.

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