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Negotiation Genius

Is negotiation an art or a science? It is popularly considered an art, but Harvard Business School professors Deepak Malhotra and Max. H. Bazerman disagree with this view.

Arnab Mitra        Print Edition: Nov 4, 2007

Deepak Malhotra & Max. H. Bazerman
Bantam Books
Pp: 343
Price: $26 (Rs 1,040)

Is negotiation an art or a science? It is popularly considered an art, but Harvard Business School professors Deepak Malhotra and Max. H. Bazerman disagree with this view and offer a systematic and effective approach that they claim can help every individual become a better negotiator— even a “negotiation genius”.

The book carefully breaks down the different components of negotiations and analyses each constituent part threadbare. After all, a negotiation genius is only a person who sees opportunities where others see no further room for discussion, someone who can negotiate successfully from a position of weakness, a person who can overcome and defuse threats and do all this ethically.

Each of the book’s 14 chapters (it is divided into three parts) discusses a discrete aspect of negotiations, including real life issues like how to deal with lies, threats and egos, how to handle blind spots and most importantly, when not to negotiate.

Can the book turn you into a negotiation genius? We don’t know, but it is a fact that courses on negotiations, which were practically non-existent a quarter of a century ago, are now among the most popular in the world’s best B-schools and law universities. Now, that’s food for thought.

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