Are you looking for the best negotiation books?
You have come to the right place!
Whether you have just left money on the table, felt like someone took advantage of you or you simply don’t want to overpay for stuff, these books will certainly help you save (and make) money.
Indeed, this list of best negotiation books might just have the best ROI on any book you’ll ever buy!
- #11. Pitch Anything
- #10. The Art of The Deal
- #9. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
- #8. Never Split The Difference
- #7. Difficult Conversations
- #6. The Shadow Negotiation
- #5. Getting Past No
- #4. Game Theory Bargaining and Auction Strategies
- #3. Getting to Yes
- #2. Secrets of Power Negotiations
- #1. Negotiation Genius
#11. Pitch Anything
Oren Klaff focuses on negotiations to raise money.
Especially, he focuses on pitching your entrepreneurial ideas to VCs.
I enjoyed it a lot because it focuses on the social power dynamics of negotiation.
Just make sure you don’t overdo it because “powerful is good” but “overpowering” is more likely to be shown the door than given the money -and Klaff’s advice sometimes can lean too much on the overpowering- side.
#10. The Art of The Deal
Albeit the name, the success of the author, and the best-seller status of The Art of The Deal would have you believe this is all about negotiating, there is actually little when it comes to the technicalities of negotiations.
However, you will learn a lot about how sharks and power-hungry men think.
You need that knowledge for when you will be sitting at the negotiating table with someone like Trump.
#9. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
Albeit not strictly about negotiation, Covey’s best-seller deserves a place in any best negotiation book lists for one of its seven habits.
And that habit is:
Plenty of studies have shown that negotiating with a win-win mindset and being ready to make concessions lead to better outcomes and results.
#8. Never Split The Difference
Now here’s a guy who knows how to market and, cna we say it? How to hype his brand.
So you can learn from him not just from what he writes, but from he does.
Some might say that Voss’ experience as an FBI hostage negotiator has actually little relevance to most life negotiations that his readers need.
But he spun and marketed his background as an advantage, the message being that “since I’ve been in challenging negotiations, then I know all about business negotiations as well”.
Well, I’m personally not convinced that’s the case.
BUT, that being said, Voss is a smart guy, and he is not just marketing, but also good content.
And at least part of what he learned in hostage negotiations can also be generalizable to both business negotiations and to our lives.
The main takeaway?
That the secret to negotiating with the most aggressive and dangerous negotiators is to listen and empathize, says Voss.
Needless to say, that doesn’t mean to give in or be soft, but it does mean that lending an ear, sympathizing with their plight, and trying to offer a legally-acceptable compromise wins the day.
I find that approach to be most useful with emotional and, particularly, with angry negotiators.
#7. Difficult Conversations
Another great book to negotiating when emotions run high.
Here again one of the biggest takeaways is to first listen and understand what our negotiating partner is so worked up about.
As the authors say, you can’t move the conversation in a positive direction until the aggravated party feels heard and understood.
#6. The Shadow Negotiation
Albeit it’s marketed at women and for women, this is useful to anyone.
Deborah Kolb is a sharp mind that sees and understands frames, negotiation power moves, as well as deeper power dynamics.
Most of all, I liked that it contains a lot of examples, which also makes it a good text for beginners.
#5. Getting Past No
Possibly the best book I have read to negotiating difficult situations.
Here are the two biggest takeaways:
- Always (re)frame the negotiation as an attempt at finding a win-win
- Help people save face and it will be easier for them to make concessions
If you noticed some parallels from How to Win Friends and Influence People, you are right.
After all, understanding people in one setting (friendships) helps you in all other domains as well because people are people (dating, intimate relationships, negotiations etc. etc.)
Power University shows you a couple of examples where helping people save face helped me win the negotiation.
#4. Game Theory Bargaining and Auction Strategies
By G Berz
This is very technical, as expected from a book on game theory.
Sure, auction theory is mostly based on the homo economicus and postulates that players are rational while we know that’s not the case (Thaler, 2015).
Yet, I still learned a lot from this negotiation books.
No other book, for example, opened my eyes on the best technique to sell your house.
Now, thanks to Berz, I know that I will be using a Dutch auction style to sell my house one day.
#3. Getting to Yes
By Fisher & Ury
Summary | Amazon
Getting to Yes is a classic and one of the biggest negotiation best seller books.
And for good reasons.
Two of its main negotiation takeaways are:
- Developing alternatives (BATNA method)
- Focus on interests and not positions
There is one more key concept, which I recommend that you make your new mantra for negotiations:
Be hard on problems and soft on people
#2. Secrets of Power Negotiations
What’s special about our N.1 best negotiation books?
It’s that it’s raw, crude, amoral… Just what you need to teach you what the real sharks and wolves do.
This isn’t about “seek win-win”, Dawson tells you how the as*holes and the power negotiators actually behave.
And you need that tough love to protect yourself -and to attack back-.
You will learn techniques and power moves such “good cop/bad cop”, “higher authority”, “the flinch” and all other power moves that the biggest sharks out there use.
I have listed some of these same techniques (and more) on this post here:
Personally, I can’t believe what an under-appreciated and underrated book this pearl on negotiation power moves actually is.
#1. Negotiation Genius
By D Malhotra
Summary | Audiobook
Simply the best overview of negotiation I have read.
Deepak Malhotra well represents the philosophy of this website as well: seek win-win in a way that maximizes value and enlarges the pie for all, but don’t be naive about it.
Such as, learn about power dynamics, learn about manipulations, and be prepared for the obvious fact of life that not all negotiations or negotiators are good for win-win deals.