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Review: Negotiation Genius

When I was asked to check out Negotiation Genius [3], by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman, I wasn’t really sure how that would apply to all of you. Then I realized that everything in life is essentially a negotiation, whether it’s your salary, your job, anything you buy (like a house or a car); everything dealing with money is essentially a negotiation. So, with respect to that, this book is incredibly relevant to anyone interested at all in money and personal finance. Another reason I was interested in getting this book is because it’s published by the Harvard Business School and both Malhotra and Bazerman are leaders in executive education at Harvard Business School, so you know they have the pedigree to put out a book that has meaning and value.

The book is broken up into three parts. Part I is called the Negotiator’s Toolkit and it develops the framework that you can use to “analyze, prepare for, and execute almost any negotiation you might encounter.” The toolkit covers all the principles, strategies and tactics you may need to employ when you actually get to the negotiation table. Now, Part II is called The Psychology of Negotiation and it discusses “cutting-edge” research on negotiation and decision-making psychology. This section wants to take all that theory and be able to put it into terms that make them actionable. Part III, called Negotiating in the Real World, is where the boots hit the ground and collects all the “other” topics that didn’t make it into the neatly created buckets as before.

I haven’t read this cover to cover yet, picking a few pieces here and there that interested me, and it’s a high quality book and one that you’d expect from HBS. The book, like the HBS case studies, use a lot of anecdotal stories (the introduction starts with a story) which is something I really enjoyed. Would I recommend it for someone looking to get an edge at the car dealership? I wouldn’t, it’s a little more hardcore than that. If you deal with lots of negotiations as part of your job, this might be up your alley.