Notable Negotiation Books for 2020

Looking to deepen your understanding of negotiation and reach better outcomes in the new year? The eight recent negotiation books on our “must read” list for 2020 offer strategies and insights from leading experts.

By — on / Negotiation Skills

negotiation books

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to strengthen your skills needed for negotiation, the following recent negotiation books—and one journal special issue—will help you do just that with their host of perspectives and strategies. These negotiation books will also entertain and educate you along the way with insights on topics such as political dealmaking, cross-cultural communication, entrepreneurship, psychology, and even party planning.

8 Notable Negotiation Books to Read in 2020

  • Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level, by James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas Burns, and Robert H. Mnookin. Offering the first comprehensive look at the former secretary of state’s overall approach to negotiation, Kissinger the Negotiator, authored by three Harvard professors, describes political negotiation strategies that businesspeople can adapt to their own negotiations, such as how to manage multiparty deals through careful sequencing, coalition building, and handling of potential deal blockers.


  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Age of Trump, edited by Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld. In this special issue of the Program on Negotiation’s Negotiation Journal, leading negotiation and conflict resolution scholars dissect U.S. president Donald Trump’s transactional approach to negotiation and describe the shortcomings of his approach in international trade negotiations and other realms. The experts also predict the likely long-term ramifications of the Trump administration’s negotiating strategy on the United States and the world.



  • Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture that Brings out the Best in People, by Donna Hicks. Dignity violations are often found at the heart of interpersonal conflicts, according to Hicks, an associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. In Leading with Dignity, Hicks describes how we can begin to repair our most deep-seated conflicts through a better understanding of the concept of dignity.


  • Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life, by Francesca Gino. In Rebel Talent, Harvard Business School professor Gino argues that a healthy dose of rebellion can deepen our engagement at work and beyond, and help us meet our most important goals in life. Some of the core principles of rebel talent can improve our outcomes in negotiations with others, while also helping us negotiate more effectively with ourselves as we seek to meet deep-seated needs through more fulfilling work.


  • Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World, by Michele Gelfand. When people from different cultures negotiate, the potential for misunderstandings is often high, and destructive conflict is too often the result. In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, University of Maryland psychologist Michele Gelfand explains how a simple yet powerful new cultural framework—tightness-looseness theory—can help us make sense of our cross-cultural differences, break down cultural barriers, and achieve more at the bargaining table.


  • The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, by Priya Parker. In The Art of Gathering, Thrive Labs founder Priya Parker, a professional facilitator with a background in conflict resolution, argues that most of us tend to just go through the motions when planning events, whether a dinner party, a conference, or a negotiation. The result, too often, is a dull, forgettable experience. Parker offers novel advice on how we can make our negotiations and other group events more meaningful, memorable, and rewarding.


  • The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, by Dolly Chugh. For The Person You Mean to Be, New York University social psychologist Dolly Chugh drew on her research on unconscious bias to write the quintessential guide to standing up for our beliefs. In particular, the book offers useful tips on how to respond effectively when a counterpart says or does something biased during a negotiation.

Are there any other negotiation books you would add to our list of must-reads for 2020? Be sure to read this year’s Must-Read Negotiation Books for 2019, too. 

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