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You Can Negotiate Anything: The World's Best Negotiator Tells You How To Get What You Want

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Herb Cohen believes the world is a giant negotiating table and, like it or not, you're a negotiator. Whether you're dealing with your spouse, boss, department store, bank manager, children, solicitor, or best friend - in every encounter with other people, negotiating is always taking place. And how well you handle those encounters determines whether you prosper happily or Herb Cohen believes the world is a giant negotiating table and, like it or not, you're a negotiator. Whether you're dealing with your spouse, boss, department store, bank manager, children, solicitor, or best friend - in every encounter with other people, negotiating is always taking place. And how well you handle those encounters determines whether you prosper happily or suffer frustration and loss. With his helpful and sensible approach Cohen shows that negotiating is a process you can understand and predict - and most importantly, that it's a practical skill you can learn and improve upon.


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Herb Cohen believes the world is a giant negotiating table and, like it or not, you're a negotiator. Whether you're dealing with your spouse, boss, department store, bank manager, children, solicitor, or best friend - in every encounter with other people, negotiating is always taking place. And how well you handle those encounters determines whether you prosper happily or Herb Cohen believes the world is a giant negotiating table and, like it or not, you're a negotiator. Whether you're dealing with your spouse, boss, department store, bank manager, children, solicitor, or best friend - in every encounter with other people, negotiating is always taking place. And how well you handle those encounters determines whether you prosper happily or suffer frustration and loss. With his helpful and sensible approach Cohen shows that negotiating is a process you can understand and predict - and most importantly, that it's a practical skill you can learn and improve upon.

30 review for You Can Negotiate Anything: The World's Best Negotiator Tells You How To Get What You Want

  1. 5 out of 5

    Zahwil

    Books with titles like this one often promise more than they deliver. It's hard to find the good needles among the haystack of books of this kind that fill up the business and self-help sections of bookstores. However, this short book is refreshingly concise, and offers a lot of valuable wisdom for negotiations. Some of my take-aways are these: 1. legitimacy (the written word, lawyers/law department, policies, rules, even laws), while appearing inflexible, can still often be negotiated. We should Books with titles like this one often promise more than they deliver. It's hard to find the good needles among the haystack of books of this kind that fill up the business and self-help sections of bookstores. However, this short book is refreshingly concise, and offers a lot of valuable wisdom for negotiations. Some of my take-aways are these: 1. legitimacy (the written word, lawyers/law department, policies, rules, even laws), while appearing inflexible, can still often be negotiated. We should remember that all rules were themselves the product of negotiations. When you yourself negotiate, try and use legitimacy to your advantage. 2. reasons and arguments aren't very persuasive unless they resonate with people's goals and desires. You have to tell people why reasons are significant for them in order to be persuasive. 3. Care, but not too much. Life is a game. If you are too emotionally invested in an outcome, you will overpay for it. Think of a house that you fall in love with. 4. Be patient, and recognize that deadlines are seldom "final". Use others' perceived deadlines to your advantage. 5. To negotiate collaboratively, and find a mutual "win", understand people's unique circumstances and interests. What's important to them, and to you, and find solutions that achieve these objectives. Don't get hung up on specific alternatives or a single variable like price. 6. Engage others, ask for their help, and get them to invest their time 7. It's a lot easier for people to say "no" over the phone or email. Know when to have a "face-to-face" meeting - particularly at the early stages when trying to build trust. Don't let yourself be seen as a number or statistic; humanize yourself and be someone with whom others can identify. 8. Don't negotiate with yourself. Make sure that the concessions you make get you something in return. The increments of your (price) concessions reveal more about your maximum willingness to pay than anything to you say; same for your opponent's "rock bottom" price. 9. Talk to the higher-ups in an organization, as they will view issues more broadly and politically (reputation wise) than those below who just apply rules 10. Prepare a written summary of every meeting with a record of each party's obligations

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I recommend reading the book for its countless minor lessons, but the two major lessons for me were: (1) Everything that is produced by negotiation is subject to negotiation. Just because the store puts a sign up doesnt mean you (or they) have to abide by it. The person with whom youre dealing decides whether to do what you wantnot the sign. So dont be afraid to ask. (2) Find the real problem. A lot of times when were negotiating, we think its just a matter of whose number wins, but its really a I recommend reading the book for its countless minor lessons, but the two major lessons for me were: (1) Everything that is produced by negotiation is subject to negotiation. Just because the store puts a sign up doesn’t mean you (or they) have to abide by it. The person with whom you’re dealing decides whether to do what you want—not the sign. So don’t be afraid to ask. (2) Find the real problem. A lot of times when we’re negotiating, we think it’s just a matter of whose number wins, but it’s really a lot more complicated than that. Different people have different needs, and meeting both parties’ needs doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. At 255 pages, it’s not a terribly long book, and it reads pretty quickly. Cohen writes with wit and the lessons you learn make the time invested worth it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Neveen

    Overall, I hated this book. The techniques presented here are contradictory and inconsistent. Some of them are also downright immoral. The author claims to present some unethical techniques so the user can identify, but no utilize them. However, I do not see his point. Simply, when battled with evil, you may want to resort to immorality to balance things out and this is not something I would like to be responsible for. This book sank from 2 stars to 1 star because of the author's offensive Overall, I hated this book. The techniques presented here are contradictory and inconsistent. Some of them are also downright immoral. The author claims to present some unethical techniques so the user can identify, but no utilize them. However, I do not see his point. Simply, when battled with evil, you may want to resort to immorality to balance things out and this is not something I would like to be responsible for. This book sank from 2 stars to 1 star because of the author's offensive content against some people and groups. I definitely do not support this kind of behavior. Also, the author claims to have a way for everything, which is not the case. He may have gotten lucky a few times in his "success stories", but this is not going to happen for an average person in his average life. His ways are not really as magical and things do not end as well in real life as he glamorizes them to.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cissa

    Interesting, though probably rather obvious to people more savvy than I am about such things. The basic point is that usually one can achieve a win-win situation- IF one is trying for that rather than a win-lose. There are definitely some tips for making this happen- and for recognizing when someone else is not cooperative with that. I was pleased to discover that in some ways I'm doing the "right thing" instinctively, though I appreciate the tips.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Francis Dostie

    Excellent instructive book. Teach us different kind of negotiation and how to handle them. Clearly, people who complain about this book haven't read 1/3 of it... After I bought the book I red the comments and I was disappointed about this book might not be as good as I expected. However, critics against it are B.S.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Van Osdel

    I think some of the strategies mentioned in the book are rather useful. I have used some of them to avoid being taken advantage of the other people. Some the examples in the book are rather dated and his strategies on getting out of a speeding ticket you can't really do them anymore. It isn't a prefect book, but it does give some ideas on how to interact with other cultures, lessen the chances you will be taken advantage, and gives you some basic strategies.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nelliey Makena

    Herb Cohen presented his lessons with real life scenarios that were easy to relate to which made his tips a bit more practical. Overall the book left me with some smart tips to nailing Win-Win negotiations, so that both sides go home happy. In addition, he presents the 3 crucial variables to any negotiation, different negotiation styles, their characteristics and a look at both sides of each style, telephone negotiations, making negotiations personal and the benefits of moving up the ladder, in Herb Cohen presented his lessons with real life scenarios that were easy to relate to which made his tips a bit more practical. Overall the book left me with some smart tips to nailing Win-Win negotiations, so that both sides go home happy. In addition, he presents the 3 crucial variables to any negotiation, different negotiation styles, their characteristics and a look at both sides of each style, telephone negotiations, making negotiations personal and the benefits of moving up the ladder, in almost any situation - and its perks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ngoc Le

    I don't have impression about this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hoàng Nhật

    Extremely useful. Mind sharpening tool to master.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Omar Halabieh

    As the title indicates, this book is about negotiation, which the author defines as: "What is negotiation? It is the use of information and power to affect behavior within a "web of tension." If you think about this broad definition, you'll realize that you do, in fact, negotiate all the time both on your job and in your personal life." Herb then summarizes the three pillars of negotiation, the main premise of the book: "In every negotiation in which you're involvedin every negotiation in which As the title indicates, this book is about negotiation, which the author defines as: "What is negotiation? It is the use of information and power to affect behavior within a "web of tension." If you think about this broad definition, you'll realize that you do, in fact, negotiate all the time both on your job and in your personal life." Herb then summarizes the three pillars of negotiation, the main premise of the book: "In every negotiation in which you're involved—in every negotiation in which I'm involved—in fact, in every negotiation in the world (from a diplomatic geopolitical negotiation to the purchase of a home)—three crucial elements are always present: 1. Information. The other side seems to know more about you and your needs than you know about them and their needs. 2. Time. The other side doesn't seem to be under the same kind of organizational pressure, tune constraints, and restrictive deadlines you feel you're under. 3. Power. The other side always seems to have more power and authority than you think you have." Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful: 1- "Within reason, you can get whatever you want if you're aware of our options, if you test your assumptions, if you take shrewdly calculated risks based on solid information, and if you believe you have power. " 2- "You have more power sources at your fingertips than you realize! 1. The power of competition...2. The power of legitimacy. Legitimacy can be questioned and challenged. Use the power of legitimacy when it's advantageous for you to do so and challenge that power when ifs advantageous for you to do so...3. The power of risk taking You must be willing to take risks while negotiating. Risk taking involves mixing courage with common sense...4. The power of commitment...By syndicating your risk you put yourself in a position to exploit the favorable opportunity because the risk is only moderate for you...5. The power of expertise...Establish your background and credentials early in he confrontation. If you do, your statements may not even t challenged. In other words, cash in on the fact that in complicated negotiations, participants often lack specialized knowledge of certain aspects of the matter being discussed...6. The power of the knowledge of "needs" for: for: 1. The specific issues and demands, which are stated openly. 2. The real needs of the other side, which are rarely verbalized...7. The power of investment...My point is this: If you have something difficult to negotiate—an emotional issue, or a concrete item that can be stated numerically, such as price, cost, interest rate, or salary-cope with it at the end of a negotiation, after the other side has made a hefty expenditure of energy and a substantial time investment...8. The power of rewarding or punishing...If I'm aware of your perceptions and needs, and if I know you think I have power over you, I can control your behavior...9. The power of identification...You will maximize your negotiating ability if you get others to identify with you...10. The power of morality...11. The power of precedent...12. The power of persistence...Persistence is to power what carbon is to steel. By gnawing through a dike long enough even a rat can drown a nation. Most people aren't persistent enough when negotiating...13. The power of persuasive capacity...even if you present me with overwhelming evidence that I understand, should the conclusion depress me, I will remain unconvinced. Your facts and logic may be unassailable, but their acceptance will not meet my existing needs and desires...14. The power of attitude...Try to regard all encounters and situations, including your job, as a game, as the world of illusion. Pull back a little and enjoy it all." 3- "1. Since most concession behavior and settlements will occur at or even beyond the deadline, be patient. True strength often calls for the ability to sustain the tension without flight or fight. Learn to keep your automatic defense responses under control. Remain calm but keep alert for the favorable moment to act. As a general rule, patience pays. It may be that the thing 5 do, when you do not know what to do, is to do nothing. 2. In an adversary negotiation your best strategy is not to reveal your real deadline to the other side. Always keep in mind that since deadlines are the product of a negotiation they are more flexible than most people realize. the benefits and detriments that will ensue as you approach, or go beyond, the brink.3. The "other side," cool and serene as they may appear. always have a deadline. Most often, the tranquility they display outwardly masks a great deal of stress and pressure. 4. Precipitous action should be taken only when ifs guaranteed to be to your advantage. Generally speaking you cannot achieve the best outcome quickly; you can achieve it only slowly and perseveringly. Very often as you approach the deadline a shift of power will occur, presenting a creative solution or even a turnaround by the other side. The people may not change, but with the passage of tune, circumstances do." 4- "Watch the increments of concession behavior, since they send a strong message about the real limits of authority." 5- "A negotiation is more than an exchange of material obj« It is a way of acting and behaving that can develop understanding, belief, acceptance, respect, and trust. It is the manner of your approach, the tone of your voice, the attitude you convey, the methods you use, and the concern you exhibit for the other side's feelings and needs. All these things comprise the process of negotiation. Hence, the way you go about trying to obtain your objective may in and of itself meet some of the other party's needs." 6- "Let me now elaborate on how the negotiating process and reconciling opponent's needs can be used to bring about collaborative Win-Wm outcomes: I. Using the process to meet needs 2. Harmonizing or reconciling needs...In general, the reason we are at odds on an issue may stem from three areas of difference: 1. Experience 2. Information 3. Role...3. Role...Successful collaborative negotiation lies in finding out what the other side really wants and showing them a way to get it, while you get what you want." 7- "Accomplishing mutual satisfaction using the collaborative Win-Win style involves emphasis on three important activities: 1. Building trust 2. Gaining commitment 3. Managing opposition." 8- "How can you ensure that you do not make visceral opponents? My two rules are stated in terse negative terms: 1. Never forget the power of your attitude 2. Never judge the actions and motives of others." 9- "Much like a great chess master, a winning negotiator needs to know every possible strategy from the opening gambit to the end-game play. Then he can enter the event with confidence that he is prepared for every possible eventuality that might occur. Nonetheless, he strives for the best outcome that can give everyone what he wants. And he knows that compromise may be acceptable, but it's not mutually satisfying. It is a back-up, a concluding strategy that he may ultimately have to use to avoid the consequence of a deadlock." 10- "Characteristics of Phone Negotiations: 1. More misunderstanding 2. Easier to say no 3. Much quicker 4. More competitive 5. Greater risk 6. Advantage—caller...The following are some suggestions that can be effortlessly customized to help you achieve success: 1. Be the caller/ not the callee 2. Plan and prepare 3. A graceful exit 4. Discipline yourself to listen 5. Write the memorandum of agreement." 11- "To maximize your impact as a negotiator— no matter whom you are dealing with—you must personalize both yourself and the situation...Try not to negotiate on behalf of an institution or organization, no matter how large or small. Negotiate on behalf of yourself, representing the institution."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tshirtman

    The first chapters made me angry, the lesson seemed to be that there was just no great secret to it, to win negociations meant being a lying, manipulative, prick, ready to waste other's people time and resources, to gain leverage on them. The kind of person that ruins everyting that's good. Then things got a little more positive, of course, using such tactics is not sustainable in long term relations, commercial or otherwise, and seeking win-win results is much more interesting, the book discuss The first chapters made me angry, the lesson seemed to be that there was just no great secret to it, to win negociations meant being a lying, manipulative, prick, ready to waste other's people time and resources, to gain leverage on them. The kind of person that ruins everyting that's good. Then things got a little more positive, of course, using such tactics is not sustainable in long term relations, commercial or otherwise, and seeking win-win results is much more interesting, the book discuss ways to avoid being taken advantage of, to share information in a smart and constructive way (disclosing too early is dangerous, but not disclosing can be detrimental as it prevent good deals to be made), but also ways to just get a better relationship with people, as empathy will improve outcomes, of course, this part can be seen as manipulative, but as with everything, it's a matter of mesure. It took me a few weeks to get through the book because i read it while commuting, and it wasn't always the most attractive thing to do, but i still wanted to get through it, while this subject is not really dear to my heart, it seems important to at least know the basics, hopefully i'll get a better shot in situations where i have to think about my side of the equation, rather than letting myself be pushed around.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lasse Olsen

    I bought this book because Herb Cohen (the author) was name dropped on several episodes in Silicon Valley _(ツ)_/. To my pleasant surprise however, the book was really great! It's packed with insightful information on how to be a better negotiator - both privately and in business. I especially liked how he displayed multiple ways of styles, for example "soviet style" vs "win-win", and what the pro's and con's were for both. Some of the examples you have to see what matches your lifestyle though. I bought this book because Herb Cohen (the author) was name dropped on several episodes in Silicon Valley ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. To my pleasant surprise however, the book was really great! It's packed with insightful information on how to be a better negotiator - both privately and in business. I especially liked how he displayed multiple ways of styles, for example "soviet style" vs "win-win", and what the pro's and con's were for both. Some of the examples you have to see what matches your lifestyle though. Bargaining over a fridge for example isn't something I'm super interested in myself, but it's interesting to see how he would execute it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Swamy Atul

    My learnings from this book: Everything is negotiable. Avoid Soviet-style negotiators, i.e. those who treat a negotiation as a win-lose war than a win-win. Do not waste time negotiating with lackeys who do not have power to give concessions. Escalate and talk to managers. Behave like you know more than the other side. Hint that you have an option to walk away. Make it hard for the other party to say "No". This can be done by 1) making them invest a lot of time in the discussion, and 2) slowing down My learnings from this book: Everything is negotiable. Avoid Soviet-style negotiators, i.e. those who treat a negotiation as a win-lose war than a win-win. Do not waste time negotiating with lackeys who do not have power to give concessions. Escalate and talk to managers. Behave like you know more than the other side. Hint that you have an option to walk away. Make it hard for the other party to say "No". This can be done by 1) making them invest a lot of time in the discussion, and 2) slowing down while forcing the other party to a deadline.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sandeep Mehta

    There was nothing new in this books, the same that we have been using for a long time and that we have seen in society and are being used by some people. It basically describes the psychology between the two persons, the one who wants to negotiate and the other. And some of the concepts described are not even moral, means if you use them it shows that you are not a man of character. I don't recommend it to others, I also won't read it again.

  15. 4 out of 5

    So Feier

    Whats with the negativity around this book? Its brilliant and provides a wide spectrum of advice sometimes deviating from just negotiation techniques, and applies to life in general as well. There are some parts that got me laughing as well! If you read between the lines, there are lessons on life, chicken soup stuff and teach you how to improve your EQ. Definitely love the episode where he runs from the Mexican serape! Enjoyable read! What’s with the negativity around this book? It’s brilliant and provides a wide spectrum of advice sometimes deviating from just negotiation techniques, and applies to life in general as well. There are some parts that got me laughing as well! If you read between the lines, there are lessons on life, chicken soup stuff and teach you how to improve your EQ. Definitely love the episode where he runs from the Mexican serape! Enjoyable read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monica Harvey

    Um I noticed one fairly Islamaphobic sentence in the book when talking about being aware of appealing to people with different values "Shiite Muslims can't comprehend our concepts of forgiveness, cheek turning, and extended olive branches. What they understand is power, opportunism, and revenge." This sentence is ironically in the chapter titled "The Power of Morality". So if you can get past that it has some practical tips.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aditya

    Good read for learning the art of negotiation, The author talks about three elements to keep you ahead of your counterpart viz. Information, Time and Power, the book also covers how one should talk some risk while negotiating and break free from its past experience and challenges to raise your aspirations and expectations. Real life example including the some of the top level war negotiation shows why the negotiation works.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    You Can Negotiate Anything is an interesting guide to negotiations that definitely makes some great points. Namely the concept of legitimacy and moving up the chain of command was particularly insightful and something I'd seldom considered. It is definitely an incomplete guide but the worthy points it makes are absolutely worth reading.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shantanu

    A must read book if you are into marketing or negotiation type of thing. Herb Cohen has written it in such a manner that you won't feel that you are reading a book on some strong and important subject but it rather feels like a story book which makes is much easier and better to read. The book also has some real life example where negotiation is done. Giving it a more real life look.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    This was an audible book. The author also narrated it. His thick northeast accent made for an entertaining listen, but it also reminded me of a slicked back guy pushing pink sheet stocks to senior citizens. His thoughts seemed mostly a rehash of ideas I have seen elsewhere. One major place being Getting to Yes and Getting Past No.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jamil

    Randomly found on a buddys bookshelf. Full of chuckle-worthy anecdotes that recall the spirit of ones old man, uncle or grandpa. Definitely written a while ago based on of the social norms mentioned and terms used. That said gives a broad outline on negotiation and basic tips, ideas and strategies with plenty of examples. Fun and easy to read. Randomly found on a buddy’s bookshelf. Full of chuckle-worthy anecdotes that recall the spirit of one’s old man, uncle or grandpa. Definitely written a while ago based on of the social norms mentioned and terms used. That said gives a broad outline on negotiation and basic tips, ideas and strategies with plenty of examples. Fun and easy to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Artem Dubowiecki

    Unlike "Getting to YES," which is a guidebook based on theory and extensive research, "You Can Negotiate Anything" is the memoir of the immensely experienced negotiator. Throughout 250 pages, Herb convinces that you may play a greater role in your life by talking to people on every occasion when it's beneficial to you. Many examples, engaging conversation-style writing, easy to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Steven Perry

    3.5 stars. Great short read for basics of negotiating. It may seem really basic if you have read other books on the topic but the author moves through topics quickly never staying any one topic too long. If you have interest in the subject and want to "dip your toe" in the water before diving in to much longer, more detailed/involving books....this is a good choice

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    This book looked a bit dated and I have to admit a certain level of skepticism picking it up so many years after it was published. It didn't help that I had a dusty old copy.. Nonetheless I enjoyed this quick read and found the content I found the content to be reasonable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Denis Abramov

    Basic idea here is to make everything sound official, deadlines are a joke and try to understand the people you are negotiating with and their reasons. Nothing novel here but the book was interestingly written in a way that pulls you in.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Entertaining, easy read with negotiating techniques that anyone can use. This book is not just for professional salesmen, it is for everyone since we all have to do some form of negotiating from time to time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mashal Buhamad

    Herb looks down at others. However, he have a story to tell when it come to negotiation. I enjoyed his book and I learned quite a lot. I might lose my job due to this book since I came to know from this book that I'm working with what Herb call soviet.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Judith Huang

    A bit dated now (cf all the references to the soviets and how ruthless they are) but still handy with an unforgettable first chapter about negotiating on the price of a fridge in a fixed price store.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Skinner

    Cohen makes some good points. Many of the examples are too specific and too out-of-date to be useful. The book could have been 1/3rd of the size and contributed added value. Actually, it would have contributed more value because I would have saved a few hours. LOL.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Minh Thang

    The book takes you through basic steps and alternatives in the progress of negotiation. It is quite effective for systemizing your practical experiences in order, and also giving you other approachs for negotiation.

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