Best Negotiation Books: A Negotiation Reading List

Our list of negotiation books by Program on Negotiation (PON) experts spans a variety of negotiation topics and perspectives. They all offer novel theories, real-world stories, and negotiation strategies that work.

By — on / Negotiation Training

negotiation books

Whether you’re facing negotiations with colleagues, customers, or family members, the following negotiation books from experts at PON offer new perspectives on common negotiating dilemmas. Among the best books on negotiation, they’ll help you reach better deals, form stronger relationships, and effectively address conflict.

Negotiation books that will get you to “yes” in any personal or business negotiation

Better, Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness, by Max H. Bazerman. In negotiation and beyond, we often unwittingly make inefficient and even unethical decisions. Bazerman, a Harvard Business School professor, offers guidance from philosophy and psychology to prompt better decisions—without the need for undue sacrifice.

Entrepreneurial Negotiation: Understanding and Managing the Relationships That Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success, by Samuel Dinnar and Lawrence Susskind. Most startups fail, and negotiation missteps are often to blame. MIT lecturer Dinnar and MIT professor Susskind spotlight eight common mistakes that entrepreneurs make and show how to prevent them.

Getting to Yes with Yourself—and Other Worthy Opponents, by William Ury. In their groundbreaking book on negotiation, the Harvard Negotiation Project and PON experts offer a step-by-step approach to reaching agreements that benefit all parties. In particular, they highlight the value of focusing on interests rather than positions and separating the people from the problem.

Claim your FREE copy: Negotiation Skills

Build powerful negotiation skills and become a better dealmaker and leader. Download our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins into Big Gains, by Deborah M. Kolb and Jessica L. Porter. We won’t meet our career goals if we only negotiate during hiring interviews and annual performance reviews. In Negotiating at Work, Simmons College professor emeritus Kolb and consultant Porter show us how we can negotiate for new opportunities and greater flexibility by questioning the status quo.

3D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals, by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius. Single-mindedly absorbed with the face-to-face negotiation process, we often fail to recognize the ample opportunities we have to shape negotiations to our advantage through set-up and deal design, write Lax Sebenius principal Lax and Harvard Business School professor Sebenius in 3D Negotiation.

The First Move: A Negotiator’s Companion, by Alain Lempereur and Aurélien Colson. When a negotiation falls flat, it’s often due to inadequate preparation. In The First Move, Brandeis University professor Lempereur and ESSEC Business School professor Colson offer concrete strategies for moving beyond instinct, with a special emphasis on relationship building.

Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (Without Money or Muscle), by Deepak Malhotra. When your back is against the wall, you need a special set of negotiating techniques. Harvard Business School professor Malhotra outlines three proven approaches you can use to navigate real-life crises on the job and at home.

Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond, by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman. In Negotiation Genius, Harvard Business School professors Malhotra and Bazerman share the skills we all need to excel in negotiation, including how to identify negotiation opportunities in challenging circumstances and negotiate successfully from a weak bargaining position.

Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight, by Robert Mnookin. When we find a potential counterpart morally repugnant, we might avoid negotiating with him or her altogether, but that isn’t always the best choice. Former Program on Negotiation chair and Harvard Law School professor Mnookin offers advice on how to make wise decisions about when to negotiate and when to fight with our toughest adversaries.

Real Leaders Negotiate! Gaining, Using, and Keeping the Power to Lead Through Negotiation, by Jeswald W. Salacuse. Organizational leadership requires constant negotiation—and leaders need negotiation advice tailored to their unique responsibilities. In Real Leaders Negotiate!, Tufts University professor Salacuse presents negotiating strategies for advancing to leadership positions, thriving in your role, and preserving your power. 

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts, by Daniel Shapiro. To find more effective methods for resolving conflict, follow Harvard International Negotiation Program founder and director Shapiro’s step-by-step approach. Negotiating the Nonnegotiable describes the deep-seated emotional forces that sabotage our relationships and explains how to overcome them.

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. Absorbing and accepting feedback is a key negotiating skill, yet few of us are very good at it. The Harvard Negotiation Project’s Stone and Heen explain how to learn from even poorly delivered feedback—even as we long to be accepted just as we are.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. When negotiations get heated, we often withdraw or lash out. In their influential book on negotiation, Harvard Negotiation Project experts Stone, Patton, and Heen offer strategies for opening up the difficult conversations required to get relationships—and negotiations—back on track.

Dealmaking: The New Strategy of Negotiauctions, by Guhan Subramanian. Most negotiation advice focuses on our interactions with those across the table. But what about our competitors—how can we effectively deal with them? To help us succeed in a range of complex negotiations, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School professor Subramanian presents best practices from negotiations and auctions.

Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation, by Lawrence Susskind. Negotiators often believe they face a choice between being tough and being fair, but that doesn’t have to be the case, according to MIT professor Susskind. Good for You, Great for Me shows us how to work with the other party to find creative trades—and then claim the bulk of the value for ourselves.

Getting to Yes with Yourself—and Other Worthy Opponents, by William Ury. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we often hold ourselves back in negotiation with self-sabotaging behavior. Program on Negotiation cofounder Ury’s book Getting to Yes with Yourself—in essence, a prequel to his bestseller Getting to Yes (co-written with Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton)—shows us how to overcome the internal obstacles to strong relationships and agreements.

The Book of Real-World Negotiations: Successful Strategies from Business, Government, and Daily Life, by Joshua N. Weiss. When practicing negotiation principles and strategies, it helps to learn about how others have implemented them successfully. In The Book of Real-World Negotiations, Weiss, a senior fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project, presents 25 compelling real-world negotiations in which negotiators overcame significant obstacles and unlocked agreement. 

The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World, by Michael Wheeler. Even when armed with sound negotiation advice, we may still find ourselves struggling to cope with the surprises that pop up at the bargaining table. In The Art of Negotiation, Harvard Business School professor Wheeler describes how to adapt by supplementing our careful plans with lessons on creativity and flexibility from jazz, sports, theater, and other realms.

The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See, by Max H. Bazerman. Have you ever had a negotiation fall apart because you missed a critical piece of information that you should have noticed? Harvard Business School professor Bazerman describes how to overcome the common tendency to focus too narrowly on the problem before us in negotiations and beyond.

Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making, by Jeswald W. Salacuse. Looking for a how-to guide for negotiating your way through daily life? Tufts University professor Salacuse walks readers through the negotiation process step by step, offering a broad range of negotiating strategies you can use across cultures, in multi-party negotiation, at the office, and with loved ones.

Do you recommend any other negotiation books? Add your suggestions in the comments below.

Claim your FREE copy: Negotiation Skills

Build powerful negotiation skills and become a better dealmaker and leader. Download our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated. 

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