3-D NegotiationPowerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals


David Lax & James Sebenius

A path-breaking introduction to the "three dimensions" of complex negotiated deal-making: table tactics, deal design, and the crucial but often overlooked dimension of setup


Stuck in a “win-win” versus “win-lose” debate, most negotiation books focus on face-to-face tactics. Yet table tactics are only the first dimension of Lax and Sebenius’s path breaking “3-D” approach, developed from their decades of doing deals and analyzing great deal-makers. Deal-makers operating in the second dimension—deal design—systematically unlock economic and non-economic value by creatively structuring agreements.

But what sets the 3-D approach apart is its third dimension: setup. Before showing up at a bargaining session, 3-D negotiators ensure that the right parties have been approached, in the right sequence, to address the right interests, under the right expectations, and facing the right consequences of walking away if there is no deal. This new arsenal of moves away from the table often exerts the greatest impact on the negotiated outcome.

Packed with practical steps and cases, 3-D Negotiation demonstrates how superior setup moves plus insightful deal designs can enable you to reach remarkable agreements at the table, unattainable by standard tactics.


“Lax and Sebenius capture what I’ve seen great deal makers take years to perfect.” – Stephen Friedman, former Chairman and Senior Partner, Goldman Sachs & Co., and Chair, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

“Every so often, a book comes along that sheds entirely new light on an old subject…[Lax and Sebenius’] chapters on the art and science of deal design go well beyond anything yet written on just how to create value on a lasting basis, including both the letter and spirit of the deal. And there is simply nothing like their systematic development of the art and science of moves away from the table to set up the most promising possible situation for face-to-face tactics. Twenty years ago, Lax and Sebenius coined the phrase ‘creating and claiming value’ and change the negotiation field by making its implications the cornerstone of their first book. I predict that 3-D Negotiation will do it again.” – Howard Raiffa, F.P. Ramsey Professor (Emeritus) of Managerial Economics, Harvard Business School and John F. Kennedy School of Government


3-D Negotiation is a brilliant and rigorous exposition of key bargaining techniques from two masters of negotiation…I have used their advice to great success in the complex health care environment.” – Paul F. Levy, President and CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

“Lax and Sebenius have a powerful new way of thinking about negotiating. 3-D Negotiation is having a profound impact on how we approach deal making at Shell.” – Malcom Brinded, Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Royal Dutch/ Shell

“With its highly original focus on away-from-the-table ‘setup’ moves and sophisticated prescriptions on value-creating deal designs, 3-D Negotiation provides an innovative analytical framework that will prove indispensable for those seeking practical negotiation advice.” – Robert H. Mnookin, Williston Professor of Law and Chair, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.