Power of a Positive No (The)How to Say No and Still Get to Yes

From the coauthor of Getting to YES, a simple yet powerful three-step method for saying No firmly and effectively, without destroying relationships

What to Buy?


No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No — to people at work, at home, and in our communities — because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us.

But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by angering and alienating people. That’s why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn.

This book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the rightYes, the one that truly serves your interests.

Based on William Ury’s celebrated Program on Negotiation executive seminar, How to Say No…and Still Get to Yes, The Power of a Positive No offers concrete advice and practical examples for saying No in virtually any situation. Whether you need to say No to your customer or your coworker, your employee or your CEO, your child or your spouse, you will find in this book the secret to saying No clearly, respectfully, and effectively.

In today’s world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed. A Positive No has the power to profoundly transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to what counts — our own needs, values, and priorities. Understood this way, No is the new Yes, and the Positive No may be one of the most valuable skills you can learn.


PRAISE FOR: The Power of a Positive No

“Ury teaches us how to say No — with grace and effect — so that we might create an even better Yes.” – Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

“Every woman needs a copy of this book….I promise that learning to delivery a positive no can change your life — it changed mine dramatically in a single week.”
Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Inner Peace for Busy People and Inner Peace for Busy Women

“A boon to all of us.” – President Jimmy Carter

“Tremendous contribution!” – Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit

“If I’d…used this book for the last twenty-five years, I would have doubtless avoided innumerable heartaches and headaches and tattered personal and professional relationships….This all-important book stands alone on a subject that underpins, like no other, individual and organizational effectiveness.” – Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence

A world-renowned negotiator, mediator, and bestselling author, William Ury directs the Global Negotiation Project at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. A co-founder of the Program on Negotiation, Dr. Ury has mediated situations ranging from corporate mergers to wildcat strikes in a Kentucky coal mine, from family feuds to ethnic wars in Russia and the former Yugoslavia. He has served as a consultant to many of America’s biggest corporations as well as to the Pentagon and the White House. Ury was actively involved in the creation of nuclear risk reduction centers in Washington and Moscow, serving as a consultant to the Crisis Management Center at the White House. Working with former President Jimmy Carter, he helped found the International Negotiation Network, which seeks to end civil wars around the world.

Dr. Ury’s research focuses on the global dynamics of transforming destructive conflicts into constructive processes. Through his Third Side initiative, Dr. Ury has examined the role that the surrounding community can play in preventing, resolving, and containing destructive conflict. Dr. Ury’s interests also include dispute systems design and prevention of or response to ethnic conflict. One of his most recent projects is the global e-Parliament, a problem-solving forum connecting the world’s democratically-elected legislators with civil society to engage in a joint search for effective solutions to global problems. Dr. Ury also leads the Abraham Path Initiative, which seeks to create a permanent path of tourism and pilgrimage in the Middle East, retracing the footsteps of Abraham, the unifying figure of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Dr. Ury’s books, Getting to Yes (with Roger Fisher) and Getting Past No have sold more than five million copies. Dr. Ury has also published The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop (Penguin, 2000). The author’s profits from the sale of these books are used for peace education. Ury and his work have been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, and on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America.”

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 are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

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

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

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 781-966-2751 (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 781-966-2751 (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, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as 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. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish 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 “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; 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 “Participant Copies.” 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.