Most helpful critical review
I don't mean to sound extremist...
on February 23, 2003
I'm sure if you take a look at the other reviewers, you'll wonder why I am such the dissenter of opinion, however, my opinion is unwaivering on this read. I am currently an MBA student and therefore read more than my share (I think I'm getting crosseyed from all of the reading!)
Anyway, my point is that there are numerous texts on negotiation skills, creating and relaying value, cross-cultural issues in negotiations and any number of personal and environmental factors involved in any given negotiation.
However, I believe the author does a very poor job in this book in providing [cost of book] worth of substance. Points that are made early on in the book are drudgingly rehashed over and over again, as if the author is trying to fill pages like I admittedly used to do with 7th grade class reports. Except that I used to paraphrase the Encyclopedia...which had some interesting points. This author has a knack for the obvious and fails to point out any valuable case studies. Most of the "grey-window box" cases presented, sparse as they may be, relate parochial stories of how a husband and wife "negotiated" the picking up of clothing on the floor by understanding the underlying wife's concern...not to trip on the pile of clothes. Again, a fairly weak example to use in business dealings. I mean, c'mon, the name of the book is "Negotiating Skills for Managers" I can understand an occasional side-bar on ways to apply these (skills?) to other aspects of your life, but the ratio of little stories to actual examples of business dealings or cross-cultural negotiations is about 100:0. The author NEVER cites a substanial business negotiating example.
One grey-box cites this scenario;
"More recently, my wife and I had dinner (without reservations) at a Japanese restaurant in our town. We patiently waited for a table. Once seated, the food came very slowly; obviously the kitchen was overburdened. Our waitress did not wait for us to ask; she brought us an extra carafe of hot sake on the house." (Page 160)
It's a nice story about a restaurant aware of their poor service and attempt to make up for it with some free sake. Good for that restaurant...that IS smart service. BUT, where was the negotiating? <Who> negotiated <What> in this scenario?
"One of the tricks negotiators sometimes try to use is the good cop/bad routine in which one of your counterparts purposefully plays the tough guy while his teammate utilizes charm on you..." It continues, "Be careful not to accuse the other team of bad manners. Instead, say something like, 'I feel as if I am being good cop/bad copped in this negotiation and it is not bringing me any closer to agreement"
What kind of negotiations are we referring to here? Used car sales? You MUST be joking. In all of my professional business dealings either domestic or abroad, I have never run into such juvenile tactics, except for one teenager selling used Ford cars. (if you stretch to call this a professional business dealing)
To be fair, there are some real points in this book, albeit mostly common sense. (for example, keeping emotions in check when negotiating and approaching it from a win/win situation, not a war or competition to see who can come out ahead.) However, these points could be covered in a five-page document, double-spaced, minus the little grey-boxes, and turned in to the 7th-grade teacher, who would probably give it a 'B.'
Please! If you REALLY still want to read this book, save your money and send me an email. I'll be happy to send you my copy for free!