William Ury

William Ury

Co-founder, Program on Negotiation

Founder, Abraham Path Initiative

Senior Fellow, Harvard Negotiation Project

Co-founder, Climate Parliament

William Ury is one of the world’s leading experts on negotiation and mediation. As the co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, he is a driving force behind many new negotiation theories and practices. Ury is the co-author with Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton of Getting to Yes, a 15-million-copy bestseller translated into more than 35 languages, and the author of several other books including the award-winning Getting to Yes with Yourself.

Over the last four decades, Ury has served as a negotiation advisor and mediator in conflicts ranging from the Cold War to ethnic and civil wars in the Middle East, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, and most recently in Colombia, where he serves as a senior advisor to President Juan Manuel Santos. In addition to teaching negotiation and mediation to tens of thousands of executives, Ury is the founder of the Abraham Path Initiative, which seeks to bring people together across cultures by opening a long-distance walking route in the Middle East that retraces the footsteps of Abraham and his family. In recognition of his work, he has received the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker Award, the Whitney North Seymour Award from the American Arbitration Association, and the Distinguished Service Medal from the Russian Parliament.


B.A., Yale University

Ph.D., Harvard University

Research interests

Negotiation, dispute resolution, mediation

Selected publications

  • With Roger Fisher and Bruce Patton. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In. Penguin Books, 2011.
  • Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations. Bantam, 1993.
  • The Power of a Positive No: Save the Deal Save the Relationship—and Still Say No. Bantam, 2007.
  • The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop. Penguin Books, 2000.
  • Getting to Yes with Yourself: (and Other Worthy Opponents). HarperOne, 2015.



15 Responses to “William Ury”

  • William, thank you very much for the wonderful lecture today on the Path to Possible. I am looking forward to reading your new book. I have learning from you ever since I read your book Getting to Yes in 1992 when I was at UCLA. Your philosophy on win-win negotiation has been a big part of my life and helped me very much in my negotiations with the Greek system, MeCha and the Women’s Resource Center which resulted in a win-win agreement (and helped me earn the Outstanding Senior Award). Thank you for your words of wisdom and for helping make the world a more peaceful place.

    I just finished my Executive Program through HBS GMP 35 program and created a HBS Reading Club with 92 members. Would you ever be interested in speaking to the group for about an hour one day about your new book? I know that you are probably very busy so we could always schedule something for later this year or next year. Professor Arthur Brooks agreed to speak about his book in the fall. Thank you very much.

    • Pon Staff .

      We are so glad you enjoyed the PONx program. We have passed along your request to William Ury.

  • Catherine L.

    Mr. Ury, I would be very interested in speaking with you about contracting to assist (or recommending someone) our consultants and counsel in medical liability negotitation.

  • Gabriela P.

    Hello, I have a new professional project that resolves the legal conflict from well-being and emotional management. In Spain it is very new. I’m interested in the Harvard negotiation program.
    Are there online courses? I have 15 years of experience working as a judge.

    • Gail O.

      Yes, there are online programs. Please check out our website for a full listing.

  • Hi. Will Prof. Ury be teaching the same one day programme in December 2021?

    • Hi
      That decision has not been finalized yet, although he does usually teach in December

    • Gail O.

      Yes, he will be teaching a one day program on December 10, 2020. It will be announced on the website in late February.

  • Alexander C.

    I have read “Getting to Yes” and “Getting Past No” and found them both to be extremely useful in helping prepare and conduct negotiations. I had taken a course with Prof. Patton. Will Mr. Ury be participating in any course lectures in 2019? I have seen in the past he did a one day course at the end of the Master Negotiator Course. Thank you

    • Hello,
      Mr Ury will be teaching a one day course in Cambridge on December 5, 20129. More information will be available on the PON website in March 2019.

  • 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

  • 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.


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