Bargaining with the Devil

  • by Robert Mnookin
  • Narrated by Robert Mnookin
  • 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One of the country's most eminent practitioners of the art and science of negotiation offers practical advice for the most challenging conflicts - when you are facing an adversary you don't trust, who may harm you, or who you may even feel is evil.
The head of Harvard's famed Program on Negotiation, Robert Mnookin provides tools for confronting devils of all kinds - in business, politics, and family life. Bargaining with the Devil guides the listener on how to make wise decisions about whether to negotiate or fight. Mnookin explains what it means to make a "wise decision" and identifies the emotional, strategic, and political traps to avoid.
Drawing from a remarkable range of real-life stories, Mnookin offers his thoughtful guidance in disputes of all sorts where the temptation is to demonize: The CEO of a small high-tech company learns that his joint-venture partner, a big foreign corporation, has been secretly cheating him under a license agreement; IBM discovers that Fujitsu, its largest competitor, has copied its software; the San Francisco Symphony is torn apart by poisoned labor-management relations; divorcing spouses, each feeling wounded and betrayed, disagree about custody and support; three siblings are in conflict about what to do with a jointly inherited vacation property.
Mnookin also examines decisions made in conflicts with evil regimes, where lives and liberty were at stake. This lively, informative, indispensable book identifies the tools one needs to make wise decisions about life's most challenging conflicts.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting but does not live up to its title

I liked that this book explored dealing with opponents who you have a negative visceral response to. It seemed that the stories (which were very interesting) were longer than the few ideas presented here. While it fell short of delivering on the title it is still worth reading.
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- Glenn

Important Topic, but I Now Hate Case Studies

The book asks the fundamental question, when you should bargain with someone who is evil, either someone who is not bargaining in good faith or someone who might escape justice through negotiation. His answer is more often than you and I probably do but clearly not always. Sometimes you have to dig in and fight. It???s just that we tend to do that too much.

I???ve recently notices people taking pot-shots at the case study method. A Harvard graduate writing about Wall Street devotes several pages to condemnation of the case study method. In another instance an author demonizes Clayton Christenson (a personal hero) for his public defense of the case study method. I wondered what was going on, and where were the editors. But after reading this book I???m ready to make a small political donation to the anti-case-study league.

I found it painful to listen to 30 pages of story, for example about some couple getting divorced, for the 3 pages of payoff at the end where the author somewhat weakly attempts a synthesis. Perhaps its age; by I have plenty of stories to throw against the authors ideas, and I don???t usually rebel against any idea I can???t pretend is my own.
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- Kenneth "Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-02-2010
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio