Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving in Summary

The SQUEEZE: The negotiation process doesn’t always have to be adversarial between parties. It is much more strategic for one party to determine the needs of the other party and guide the negotiation to a point where each benefits. Although this strategy sounds simple enough to implement, it isn’t always accepted as the norm. This is precisely the sentiment expressed in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. Fisher, Ury, and Patton suggest the method of “principled negotiation,” which is based on five propositions, as a potential solution to the problem. The authors further suggest that when negotiating, it is important to separate people from the problem in order to determine the legitimate interests of each party. Each side of the negotiation is concerned with their immediate interests. This traditionally poses as an obstacle, making it difficult to achieve balance and success. Because of this obstacle, the negotiator develops a partisan position and not a free flowing of ideas in order to reach consensus. Getting to Yes is a must-read for both novice and seasoned negotiators.

Notable Endorsement: “This is by far the best thing I’ve ever read about negotiation. It is equally relevant for the individual who would like to keep his friends, property, and income and the statesman who would like to keep the peace” –John Kenneth Galbraith

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is “principled negotiation”?
  • What are the 5 propositions of principled negotiation?
  • What is BATNA?
  • What are examples of fixed needs? Flexible needs?
  • What is non-adversarial bargaining?


About the Author: Roger Fisher founded the Conflict Management Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Through CMG, Fisher facilitates negotiations worldwide. Fisher is currently the Samuel Williston Professor of Law and the director of the Harvard Negotiation Project. Fisher published Beyond Reason: Using Emotion as You Negotiate (2005), which outlines five core concerns: autonomy, affiliation, application, status, and role. Fisher believes that these core concerns help to stimulate emotions that are helpful for negotiations. Fisher graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1943 and with a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1948. William Ury co-founded the Harvard Negotiation Project. An award winner of several books on the subject of negotiation, Ury is a senior fellow of the project and is the author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes (2007). Ury also published Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People and Getting to Peace. Ury’s interests include providing an internet-based forum for members of Congress and Parliament through eParliament and developing initiatives to increase cross-cultural tourism. Ury received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate from Harvard University. Bruce M. Patton is a fellow of the project. Patton, with Fisher, pioneered the teaching of negotiation at Harvard Law School, serving as the Thaddeus R. Beal Lecturer on law for 15 years. Patton teaches two workshops on negotiation in the Harvard Negotiation Institute and occasionally law classes. Patton, with four colleagues, founded Vantage Partners, LLC, which is an international consulting firm. Patton received an A.B. from Harvard College (1978) and a juris doctor from Harvard Law School (1984).


Book Vitals:

Publisher: Penguin Books, Revised edition (May 2011)

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