Whether you are selling a house, closing a business deal, settling a divorce, arbitrating a labor dispute, or trying to hammer out an international treaty, Howard Raiffa’s new book will measurably improve your negotiating skills.
Although it is a sophisticated self-help book—directed to the lawyer, labor arbitrator, business executive, college dean, diplomat—it is not cynical or Machiavellian: Raiffa emphasizes problems and situations where, with the kinds of skills he aims to develop, disputants can achieve results that are beneficial to all parties concerned. Indeed, he argues that the popular “zero-sum” way of thinking, according to which one side must lose if the other wins, often makes both sides worse off than they would be when bargaining for joint mutual gains.
Using a vast array of specific cases and clear, helpful diagrams, Raiffa not only elucidates the step-by-step processes of negotiation but also translates this deeper understanding into practical guidelines for negotiators and “intervenors.” He examines the mechanics of negotiation in imaginative fashion, drawing on his extensive background in game theory and decision analysis, on his quarter-century of teaching nonspecialists in schools of business and public policy, on his personal experiences as director of an international institute dealing with East/West problems, and on the results of simulated negotiation exercises with hundreds of participants.
There are popular books on the art of winning and scholarly books on the science of negotiation, but this is the first book to bridge the two currents. Shrewd, accessible, and engagingly written, it shows how a little analysis sprinkled with a touch of art can work to the advantage of any negotiator.
The Art and Science of Negotiation is a quantum leap forward in the state of the art… [Raiffa] employs a classroom wizard’s mastery over the hypothetical question to analyze in lively case studies and problems the essential characteristics of various forms of interactive competitive bargaining.
[A] fascinating book… Its expositional style is also refreshing, achieving a perfect balance between academic respectability and general readability… Theory and practice are carefully intertwined throughout the book; the theory ranges from simple search models to complicated n-person zero-sum games; the practice ranges from simple hypothetical examples to complicated real-world many-country negotiations, several of which are enriched by Raiffa’s own personal involvement and experience.
A vigorous, pragmatic treatise on resolving disputes in the realm of human affairs with all of the rigor [Raiffa] has always displayed… Tightly written, eminently readable, and containing many usable examples, it is bound to be a valuable resource book for years to come.
The book provides a thought-provoking and useful introduction to the complexities of negotiation and mediation…[and] fills an important niche in the literature. I expect numerous opportunities to recommend it to those seeking advice.
Raiffa deftly weaves together case-style vignettes of negotiating situations with a few analytical threads drawn from the theory of games, decision making under uncertainty, and fair division. Written with clarity and verve while avoiding technicalities, it strikes a nice balance between analysis and anecdote.
I think that nearly anyone who has experience in negotiation and management will he surprised and pleased by the amount of insight which Raiffa’s chapters will give him into the structure of problems with which he is familiar but which he understands less well than he thinks.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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