Getting to Yes

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   Jun 16, 2012   ⋅   East Palo Alto, CA

This book is useful for people weak at negotiating skills. This book would be great for the engineers working on team projects, since sometimes having a lot of very detail oriented hackers in the room isn't great for making ... any steps towards actual problem resolution.

“Getting to Yes–Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”

This is something which I think Robert Watson of FreeBSD “Hall Of Fame” is the master of. I remember what attracted me to FreeBSD was mostly written by Robert. Even stuff which wasn’t technical seemed to make so much sense..

So the thing in arguments is to not try to convince each about each other’s point of view, which typically is pointless, but to find common goal and work your way to achieve it. This is explained as “not bargaining about positions”.

The way to do it is to separate the actual problem from the people presenting their point of view. Basically: criticizing method or solution is good. Criticizing person who came up with it is very bad.

I think this is like Japanese rule of letting people save face: you’re not supposed to offend anybody, since the fact that people are wrong isn’t their fault. Well, kinda. Sometimes it is, but you basically have to break this wall caused by preferences, stubbornness, character etc.

Looks like one of the main points is to starting from finding things which 2 people agree about. Than, by making your way through them, figuring out where the agreement “finishes”. Think about rephrasing stuff that somebody else is explaining to you. Reaching agreement can start from the similar fashion.

BATNA concept is interesting and was something new to me. For each argument you know you may run into, prepare a list of things which are “Best Alternative To a Negotiated Argument”. It’s like least common denominator of your level of happiness after you lose.a

Very often I meet cases which got explained in “Negotiation Jujitsu”. With a hardware engineers, where development of solutions and products is very slow, it’s very likely you’ll have to use that a lot, if you request something “new” and untested. Basically you have to bring lots of lots of arguments, which can “sell your idea” for itself to somebody. Or better: to somebody’s boss.

As for the 200-page position, this book had surprisingly large amount of good advises.

I confess: I sometimes don’t follow and say right away what I think..

“Coping with difficult people”

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About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me