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Negotiating in the Real World

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Negotiating in the Real World

Getting the Deal You Want

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Whether you are negotiating custody of a cocker spaniel, or the outcome of a major industrial dispute, you must know your stakeholders, know your adversaries, and know yourself.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Victor Gotbaum relates his personal experiences as a negotiator for New York City’s District Council 37 union to demonstrate how negotiating strategies are developed on the fly according to each unique situation. Gotbaum dismisses books that offer a single, set-in-stone formula for handling negotiations. Every negotiation is different and requires an understanding of its precise situation. This book shows negotiators how to prepare by examining specific factors that are critical to every negotiation. Gotbaum illustrates his points with personal examples, sometimes to the degree that portions of the book read like a listing of his victories rather than as advice. Novice negotiators will find valuable assistance in this book, but it is better suited for negotiators with more experience. getAbstract recommends this book to intermediate and expert negotiators who know the relevance of Gotbaum’s anecdotes and may appreciate his counsel even more.


Evaluate Your Negotiating Ability

No single formula or strategy fits every negotiation. Books that describe in detail how to act in certain situations are useless and can cripple you as a negotiator. Be yourself during negotiations. React according to your feelings and devise your own formula.

The key to success is knowing and understanding your own prejudices, strengths and weaknesses. Take an objective view of yourself, weighing personal characteristics that will have the most impact on negotiations. Those include:

  • Authority - Of all your attributes as a negotiator, authority is the most important. Your level of authority stems from your intelligence, reputation, personality or position.
  • Power - The amount of power you possess while negotiating is closely tied to your authority. Holding all the cards gives you a definite advantage. In negotiations, the way you deal with your power or your adversary’s power is just as important as possessing it.
  • Principle - Believing the correctness of your arguments gives you negotiating strength.
  • Intellectual ability - Your intellectual ability is very important. Hire it or acquire it if you don...

About the Author

Victor Gotbaum  is the director of the National Center for Collective Bargaining at Baruch College. He is the founder and former director of the Center for Labor-Management Policy Studies at the City University of New York. He continues to work as a consultant in labor-management relations

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