No matter where my career and business ventures take me, I know that I’m always going to need to keep my ability to negotiate in tune. Whether I take meetings with potential clients, talk to a colleague, or work with my team, there are many moments when I need to be able to be confidently persuasive.
Finding new ways to elevate my negotiation tactics, though, can often feel like I’m just trying the same thing in three different ways.
My interest in the choosing the best negotiation books began when I had deals fall through; I was convinced that having a grasp of better techniques would have saved some of the deals. To this day, I’m not sure if learning more from the best books on negotiation would have made a difference at that time, though, or it was just plain lack of experience.
All I know is that my confidence in my negotiation skills has increased dramatically since I began this journey to learn more. Now I understand that negotiation is part of everyday life and business and I accept it as such.
In particular, reading books helped me to learn how to deal with some tricky situations in ways that I didn’t realize were possible:
- Negotiating with people that I don’t particularly like or have a strong emotional reaction to
- How to plan for a negotiation
- Discovering empathy: how to respect the other party’s desires in the negotiation, not just what I want
- Understanding win-win situations
Negotiation of some variety is necessary for nearly every step for a business, and you, too, can learn how to master these skills. The best negotiation books outlined below have been recommended by valued members of The CEO Library community. These are books that have helped people get things done, and they can help you, too.
Best Negotiation Books
A former FBI hostage negotiator distills the heuristics of how to defuse tense negotiations with unstable humans, and proposes that they’re the same for every other form of negotiations. Not a bad premise, and I found several of the techniques compelling and resonant of what I’ve read about human biases and flaws from other sources. But the FBI bravado is grating. It’s basically “hey, I just learned this stuff, and I whattadoknow, I become so bad ass that I could beat every Harvard trained negotiator with my sick mind hacks”. Okay dude. Nassim Taleb would be proud though ?.
Charlie Munger recommends this title in the book "Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger".
Vice Chairman/Berkshire Hathaway
Brian Gunia is an expert on negotiating, and he does something unusual here: he offers insights about bargaining that are both novel and useful.
Jim Camp offers easy-to-apply strategies to help make you a more effective negotiator. You’ll learn techniques that you can use immediately to improve your negotiating skills by reading this book.
Founder, CEO/Morningstar, Inc
It helped me close many deals by creating a win-win solution out of every negotiation so that all parties involved are happy at the end.
Co-founder & Chief Everything Officer/Kustard
I’m re-reading “Difficult Conversations”. It’s written by the “Harvard Negotiation Project” guys that also wrote “Getting to Yes” and “Thanks for the Feedback”. It allowed me to navigate super important conversations by shifting from a “who’s right” stance to a learning stance. Giving it another spin after two years from the first read as I'm working on my assertiveness.
A few months ago, I was drinking a Noah’s Mill whiskey (cute) with my good buddy Brian Balfour and talking about life... During the conversation, we got on the topic of books that changed our lives. I want to share them with you. I judge a book's success if a year later I'm still using at least 1 thing from the book.