getting to yes

we're all business this week at caketime. i just posted about saving and now i'm going to tell you about the single most important influence on my professional life so far. i'm not a high-powered anything, but i have found that this book has enabled me to deal with almost any situation in a way that provides the best outcome for all parties involved. when i first started reading it, i read it over and over, probably reading it a total of six times before i put it down. i felt a little like franny in salinger's franny and zooey, practically assured that the re-reading would, by some magic, change my life. i can't tell if it's because i read it so much or because itis just that good, but almost immediately it changed the way i dealt with other people.

outwardly, this is a book about negotiation tactics. usually we think of negotiations as attempting to find a medium between two positions, apparently this is called "positional bargaining". for example when you ask for a raise and request a far higher number because you assume your employer will meet you somewhere in the middle. "getting to yes" not only disqualifies this tactic, but replaces it with something they call "principled negotiation." in a principled negotiation, you express your common and differing interests to find the best common ground. it doesn't really sound revolutionary, right? truly novel and brilliant ideas are usually a little boring. i think that's why i read the book six times- i was confused as how something so simple (treat your enemy like your friend, essentially) could have such a profound impact on day to day life.

i've now taken all the lessons from "getting to yes" to heart and it has helped me get out of so many pickles. i even use some of the tactics on grace, and she will often start laughing because i've also explained the book to her, so she knows exactly where i'm getting it from.

funnily, the follow-up book to "getting to yes" is called "difficult conversations." i think i need that one too!

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
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