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

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

by Robert Mnookin


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ONE OF THE COUNTRY'S MOST EMINENT PRACTITIONERS of the art and science of negotiation offers practical advice for the most challenging conflicts — when you are facing an adversary you don't trust, who may harm you, or who you may even feel is evil.

The head of Harvard's famed Program on Negotiation, Robert Mnookin provides tools for confronting devils of all kinds — in business, politics, and family life. Bargaining with the Devil guides the reader on how to make wise decisions about whether to negotiate or fight. Mnookin explains what it means to make a "wise decision" and identifies the emotional, strategic, and political traps to avoid.

Drawing from a remarkable range of real-life stories, Mnookin offers his thoughtful guidance in disputes of all sorts where the temptation is to demonize:

The CEO of a small high-tech company learns that his joint-venture partner, a big foreign corporation, has been secretly cheating him under a license agreement; IBM discovers that Fujitsu, its largest competitor, has copied its software; the San Francisco Symphony is torn apart by poisoned labor-management relations; divorcing spouses, each feeling wounded and betrayed, disagree about custody and support; three siblings are in conflict about what to do with a jointly inherited vacation property.

Mnookin also examines decisions made in conflicts with evil regimes, where lives and liberty were at stake. He analyzes Winston Churchill's fateful choice in May 1940 — Britain's darkest hour — to reject negotiations with Adolf Hitler and to carry on the fight. He compares Nelson Mandela's decision to initiate negotiations with the South Africa apartheid governmentthat had imprisoned him for life with the imprisoned Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky's decision not to negotiate with the KGB for his freedom. And Mnookin evaluates with sensitivity the Hungarian Jew Rudolf Kasztner's still controversial decision to negotiate with Adolf Eichmann in the hope of saving lives.

This lively, informative, indispensable book identifies the tools one needs to make wise decisions about life's most challenging conflicts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416583332
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/12/2011
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 143,437
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law, the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and the Director of the Harvard Negotiation Research Project. A renowned teacher and lecturer, Professor Mnookin has taught numerous workshops for corporations, governmental agencies and law firms throughout the world and trained many executives and professions in negotiation and mediation skills. Professor Mnookin has written or edited nine books and numerous scholarly articles. His books include Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes (with Scott Peppet and Andrew Tulumello) and Negotiating on Behalf of Others.

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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Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
GShuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked that this book explored dealing with opponents who you have a negative visceral response to. It seemed that the stories (which were very interesting) were longer than the few ideas presented here. While it fell short of delivering on the title it is still worth reading.
schraubd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is not scholarly. Its anecdotes are fun to read, and in terms of manipulating businesspeople to try to negotiate more often when their instincts say duke it out, it probably is decently effective. And that's a laudatory aim, so I give Mnookin credit for that, though I'd of course have preferred it if he had accomplished this goal via actual arguments rather than rhetorical sleights of hand.The book is very uncritical and non-reflective towards negotiation as a concept (it doesn't give solid examples of when it is bad to negotiate, and the example he gives with respect to Churchill is astoundingly self-fulfilling). Moreover, at times is astoundingly self-promoting. To the extent one is looking for a "serious" discussion of the issues Mnookin purports to raise, you're in the wrong place. It definitely falls less in the "important contributions to negotiating theory" box, and more in the "busy executive self-help box". Which, of course, is a useful box -- but one that I think is beneath Mnookin's considerable talents.
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ElmSO More than 1 year ago
Skip it. I'm sure you can find better.