William Ury

William UryWilliam L. Ury co-founded Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and is currently a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Negotiation Project. He is the author of The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No & Still Get to Yes (2007) and co-author (with Roger Fisher) of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, an eight-million-copy bestseller translated into over thirty languages. “No other book in the field comes close to its impact on the way practitioners, teachers, researchers, and the public approach negotiation,” comments the National Institute on Dispute Resolution. Ury is also author of the award-winning Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People and Getting To Peace (released in paperback under the title The Third Side.)

Over the last 30 years, Ury has served as a negotiation adviser and mediator in conflicts ranging from corporate mergers to wildcat strikes in a Kentucky coal mine to ethnic wars in the Middle East, the Balkans, and the former Soviet Union. With former president Jimmy Carter, he co-founded the International Negotiation Network, a non-governmental body seeking to end civil wars around the world. During the 1980s, he helped the US and Soviet governments create nuclear crisis centers designed to avert an accidental nuclear war. In that capacity, he served as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House. More recently, Ury has served as a third party in helping to end a civil war in Aceh, Indonesia, and helping to prevent one in Venezuela.

Ury has taught negotiation to tens of thousands of corporate executives, labor leaders, diplomats and military officers around the world. He helps organizations endeavor to reach mutually profitable agreements with customers, suppliers, unions, and joint-venture partners.

Ury is also co-founder of the e-Parliament (e-parl.net), which offers the 25,000 members of congress and parliament around the world an Internet-based forum in which they can learn from one another other about legislative solutions that work and together tackle global problems such as climate change, energy efficiency, and terrorism. His most recent project is the Abraham Path Initiative (abrahampath.org), which seeks to connect the human family step by step by creating a permanent route of cross-cultural tourism in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham, the unifying figure of many faiths and peoples.

Ury is the recipient of the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament. His work has been widely featured in the media from The New York Times to the Financial Times and from ABC to the BBC.

Trained as a social anthropologist, with a B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard, Ury has carried out his research on negotiation not only in the boardroom and at the bargaining table but also among the Bushmen of the Kalahari and the clan warriors of New Guinea.

Courses Taught

Dealing With Difficult People and Difficult Situations – PON Executive Education Seminar

Research Interests: Harvard Negotiation Project, Global Negotiation Initiative, Director

Select Publications:

Ury, W. (2007). The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No & Still Get to Yes. Bantam.

Fisher, R. & Ury, W. (1991).Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. New York, N.Y.: Penguin.

Ury, W. (1993). Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People. New York, N.Y.: Bantam.

Ury, W. (1999). Getting To Peace:Transforming conflict at home, at work, and in the world. New York, N.Y.: Viking. Released in paperback under the title The Third Side.

Link to website:



3 Responses to “William Ury”

  • César O.

    Felicitaciones por su trabajo.
    Donde puedo conseguir los libros de Ury traducidos al español. Me interesa aprender para mejorar el entorno de mi comunidad.

    • Keith L.

      César Orrego, Gracias por su interés! Usted puede comprar una traducción al español de “Getting to Yes” de Amazon.com, por favor haga clic aquí. O pedir “Obtenga el Si/ Getting to Yes: El Arte De Negociar Sin Ceder” en Google o en una librería internacional.

  • Chrisrtopher K.

    Rereading “Getting To Yes” and puzzling over one element. I kept expecting a chapter on an outside negotiator analyzing the objective interests of the “situation” independent of the interests of the parties, with a schema on how to lead the parties from their adversarial stance, beyond even a “win-win” to a place where they are working together for a common objective. because, logically, each negotiator should ‘have in mind’ what that negotiator would say. This might entail giving up “understood” paradigms such as the current definition of ‘profit’ in a corporation, or the idea of “mutually assured destruction” in military adversaries. The end result of a border conflict might be making a DMZ a common enterprise zone. Labored city conflicts might entain objectively and publicly recognizing racist standards built into licensing, hiring, zoning, school financing rather than trying to change those situations while pretending such things didn’t exist.

    The American system of adversarial law, and the business paradigm of winning business as though it is a military campaign puts the focus on on that ego boosting “Yes! I won the game”, rather than the ‘bird’s eye’ perspective of finding optimum situations. This latter paradigm seems to favor a period in every negotiation in which the focus is on each party negotiating with themselves for what the true objective of the final result will be. Thus, for instance, a successful Palestine-Israeli negotiation would require each side seeing independently that the final result is not elimination of the other or detente with an option to resume conflict, but rather being neighbors and close allies. Accepting that objective is the prime goal and where the real work must happen, within the parties themselves and with their allies. It happens before reparations, or borders, or political recognition. It dosn’t require the other party to be present.
    Before one bargains for that antique pot, the dealer’s need for his kid’s tuition and the buyers pot filled attic should be on the table.

    Thanks for the good read and good thought.
    Chris King
    Sherborn, MA


Leave a Reply