HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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The Soul of A New Machine

Tracy Kidder

4.6 on Amazon

177 HN comments

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series)

Christopher Alexander , Sara Ishikawa , et al.

4.7 on Amazon

176 HN comments

Meditations: A New Translation

Marcus Aurelius and Gregory Hays

4.8 on Amazon

172 HN comments

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

Clayton M. Christensen, L.J. Ganser, et al.

4.5 on Amazon

168 HN comments

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

4.6 on Amazon

166 HN comments

Infinite Jest: Part I With a Foreword by Dave Eggers

Sean Pratt, David Foster Wallace, et al.

4.3 on Amazon

166 HN comments

The Elements of Style: Annotated Edition

William Strunk Jr. and James McGill

4.7 on Amazon

155 HN comments

Outliers: The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell

4.7 on Amazon

152 HN comments

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

William B. Irvine

4.6 on Amazon

151 HN comments

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Neil Postman and Andrew Postman

4.6 on Amazon

151 HN comments

Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein, Christopher Hurt, et al.

4.4 on Amazon

151 HN comments

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Joe Ochman, et al.

4.5 on Amazon

150 HN comments

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg, Mike Chamberlain, et al.

4.6 on Amazon

149 HN comments

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Jonathan Haidt and Gildan Media, LLC

4.6 on Amazon

144 HN comments

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Roger Fisher , William L. Ury, et al.

4.6 on Amazon

143 HN comments

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ghaffonFeb 14, 2021

Been years since I've read it but Getting to Yes is a nice slim volume that seems still to be hugely popular.

tuckerconnellyonDec 12, 2018

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is an excellent book on negotiation, the antithesis of Getting to Yes. Written by FBI negotiator. Says you want to get to _no_ as quickly as possible. Recommend.

jeffshekonSep 30, 2018

Ironically, this book brings up how it disagrees with the most upvoted comment's book "Getting To Yes".

This book (Never Split the Difference) was also pretty helpful to me, but it's easy to forget to apply in scenarios.

JacobDotVIonJune 7, 2019

This is a fantastic book to read - esp. if you've already read "Getting to Yes" and need a bit of a re-education.

WalterBrightonJan 5, 2017

Negotiations don't always work, that's for sure. But it is a learned skill, and one can get better at it. There's a good book on it, "Getting To Yes".

sidcoolonMay 10, 2018

I can recommend two books, Crucial Conversations, and Getting to Yes.

barefootonDec 30, 2012

If you enjoyed this podcast I can recommend the book "Getting to Yes":


It's a little bit dated but an excellent introduction to negotiation and overlaps with a number of the topics discussed in the show.

giantg2onJuly 27, 2021

It will take a lot more than books to help my career.

I've read Getting to Yes, The Coaching Habit, and Never Split the Difference. They seemed to have decent information.

applecoreonNov 23, 2014

That's just negotiation—read Bargaining for Advantage (or Getting to Yes) if this is even remotely surprising to you.

_piusonNov 4, 2009

Fisher and Ury's "Getting to Yes" is the most authoritative text on negotiation and very accessible.


DoreenMicheleonOct 19, 2018

Research based recommended reading:

Getting to yes.

The mind and heart of the negotiator.

Both were required texts for my college class on negotiating and conflict management.

Also, understand your BATNA and get as much data as possible. Good information facilitates a win/win scenario.

macmaconDec 4, 2020

I would respectfully recommend that you read "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Effective negotiation is often about expressing interests, not specific actions or ultimative positions.

AlexCoventryonJune 21, 2016

Getting to Yes is a far, far better book than How to Win Friends, with a much more nuanced and broadly useful perspective.

mk89onJune 29, 2016

As already suggested by FuNe, there are some books which can help (like the one he proposed, or maybe "Getting to Yes", which I have not yet read, though).

Out of curiosity, how many times do you use these words: no, don't, always, most of the time, 99% of the time, absolutely, they, sigh, boring.

rgrahamonMar 3, 2014

Read 'Getting to Yes' and 'Bargaining to Advantage' for more specifics about this discussion. I think everyone should read them. It doesn't hurt to include 'Influence.'

LeonBonMay 13, 2019

So many of the problems are “people problems” so in addition to the excellent technical suggestions in this thread I’d add books like “Thanks for the Feedback”, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “Getting to Yes

yborisonSep 24, 2020

An excellent book on the subject is Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Had specific advice with examples. I think it's been helping me all my life. It is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project.


earinoonFeb 6, 2019

I have a masters degree in Negotiation & Conflict Resolution. There's two books that give you negotiation superpowers:

1. Getting to Yes
2. Getting Past No

Those two books by themselves are enough to truly learn how to become an adept principled negotiator.

taylorbuleyonMar 23, 2012

If you're looking to read up on negotiation, "Getting to Yes" (mentioned by Jacques) is good but a bit warm/fuzzy.

For a first book, try Wharton prof Richard Shell's Bargaining for Advantage: http://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Advantage-Negotiation-Strat...

jakartaonNov 4, 2009

Getting to Yes is a pretty classic negotiation book:


MzonMay 1, 2012

If you haven't seen it already, grab a copy of "Getting to yes". It's a quick read and research based.

Best of luck.

davidcrowonOct 30, 2012

I'd like to see "Getting to Yes" or "Getting Past No" in addition. I think both of these books are great at helping founders understand that negotiations are not zero-sum games.

habndsonSep 27, 2019

as someone who also appreciates the subtle arts of haggling, you might enjoy the book Getting to Yes. It's more about negotiation than haggling but very interesting and practically useful.

wgjonNov 4, 2009

Highly recommended, and no one has mentioned yet:

Getting To Yes

And anything by Cialdini:

MzonNov 18, 2009

And when you are ready for something more in depth but also research-based, go with The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator:

Getting to Yes and Mind and Heart were the two required texts for a class I had on negotiation. Both are excellent books.

afarrellonAug 29, 2017

The book Thanks for the Feedback, by the authors of Getting to Yes and Difficult Conversations focuses on this question https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DMCV0XE/

DoreenMicheleonMay 26, 2019

Never Split the Difference is amazing for negotiation.

I don't know that one, but here are a couple of research-based negotiating books:

Getting to yes

The mind and heart of the negotiator.

They were required texts for my college class on Negotiating and Conflict Management. I was already good at certain kinds of negotiating, but it helped put a finer point on my abilities.

pjmorrisonAug 9, 2020

Not the GP, but it's a book, 'Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In'
by Roger Fisher , William L. Ury, et al.

I read it ~30 years ago, the only thing I remember is that you always want to understand your "Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement" (BATNA), e.g. knowing that you can walk away from a car dealer's deal, if you don't like the terms.

jamiequintonAug 8, 2008

the negotiation in the example isn't good, but looking back on his purchase in retrospect he admits that and identifies the reasons he ended up purchasing the rug.

on a side note, "Getting to Yes" is also another good book on negotiation.

MzonSep 10, 2016

If you have not read it yet, pick up a copy of *Getting to Yes." It is research based and a quick read.

After reading it, try to determine some of the parameters that really matter here. What are the sticking points? Then do some brainstorming.

After you brainstorm, then try to come to an agreement.

dugongonDec 26, 2018

This is helpful. I haven't read "Getting to Yes."

I should add, that neither conversation was particularly acrimonious. Just frustrating because no reason for switching to a flat rate, beyond that that was how they were doing it now, was given.

MzonMar 22, 2014

"Getting to Yes" is researched based and, yes, a quick read. It was one of the required texts for a college class I had on "Negotiating and Conflict and Management." The other was "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator." It is also research based but much meatier. I highly recommend both.

splittingTimesonNov 30, 2019

From another thread I saw the recommendation for "Getting to Yes, and... The art of business improv"[1]. It just arrived yesterday. This blog post looks eerily similar.


[1] https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/0804795800/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?key...

moshiasrionFeb 2, 2020

Apart from the book by Voss you can also read these two they are good books but in the end it all comes to presence of mind and practice.

To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink
Getting To Yes by Roger Fisher & William Ury.

hugodahlonSep 29, 2018

Sounds a lot like the work done by William Ury, whose works can be found online (TED talks, Yoytube copies of some talks, his book "Getting to Yes"). That is, listening, and HEARING what the other person is saying, not "priming" your argument, and staying away from the literal "You're wrong!"

nivionNov 15, 2007

The best book on negotiation is Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell from Wharton. I would reading Getting to Yes first to get the basics though.



rthomas6onJune 19, 2014

This reminds me of the book "Getting to Yes".

If you take a principled stand in negotiations and truly want what is fair, you can separate the issue at hand from the people. In doing so, you can be polite and nice, while not getting steamrolled in negotiation. You can look at negotiations like working together to get to agreement on what is fair and best for both parties, instead of fighting against one another to get as much as you can. It also allows you to say "no" in a non-personal way, because you're only doing what makes sense for your side.

jdietrichonMay 27, 2018

I suspect you're referring to this essay by Scott Alexander:


In the context of negotiation, the book Getting To Yes describes a similar concept:


rscaleonApr 10, 2013

If you only get one book on negotiation, get Getting to Yes. If you get two books, get Bargaining for Advantage as well.

Bargaining for advantage differs from Getting to Yes in that it's more of a tactical guide, and BFA's advice works not only in collaborative situations, but also in adversarial zero-sum negotiations.

I truly understood the value of negotiation when I walked out of a happy vendor's boardroom having just cut my expenses by over $60,000 using a couple emails, a phone call, and a two-hour meeting.

hammockonMay 12, 2021

One is an ultimatum/threat, and the other is simply expressing facts/position as part of a negotiation (it also reserves your right to act however you choose, and does not immediately put the relationship in jeopardy). The former is not advisable, ever.

I recommend everyone read Getting to Yes.

giantg2onJuly 20, 2020

You can read 'The Coaching Habit' to help you in your relationship with subordinates.

'Getting to Yes' and 'Exactly What to Say' could be helpful books when you have to negotiate with your superiors or peers.

furyg3onAug 29, 2010

For a really good primer in basic negotiations, take a look at Fisher & Ury's Getting to Yes (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-With...).

It's a quick read but very useful, and these guys are respected in the field of negotiation.

nivionApr 1, 2009

Some people (like me) have a problem asking for things. "Hesitation" is why Steve Blank suggests considering hiring a "sales closer" when you get to the customer validation stage (the stage where you are asking for the customer's money).

Regarding negotiation, low-balling and high-balling don't make sense in all situations. Especially if you are in a situation where the relationship between the negotiating opponents after the transaction is important.

The best book for negotiation is "Bargaining for Advantage" http://bit.ly/HZwdW. "Getting to Yes" is also great: http://bit.ly/oHSCL.

Avoid any negotiation book with "Power" in the title. =)

officemonkeyonJuly 16, 2012

They are totally complimentary. 7 Habits concentrates on "What to do" and GTD concentrates on "How to do it."

There are two other excellent "self-help" books that should be part of everyone's bookshelf. They are:

* "Getting to Yes" which I think is the greatest book on negotiation. "How to deal"
* "Sources of Power" by Gary Kline talks about how people make decisions. "How to decide"

Give me these four books, and a firm place to stand, and I will move the world.

zhte415onNov 22, 2016

If it is a single-issue negotiation (i.e. know your own bottom line and there is no BATNA https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_alternative_to_a_negotiat... other than this one choice), therefore you're not afraid to lose (i.e. there are lots of potential suitors), then bargain like a maniac. The only thing they have to hold you by is a time-limited offer, but by doing this they've revealed part of their own non-bottom line (i.e. fear of losing is part of their BATNA), so explore this.

Have recommended before and recommend again the book 'Getting to Yes', and Harvard's very open research and sharing in this area: http://www.pon.harvard.edu/

Getting too serious? Not at all. Harvard's role-plays that can be purchased very cheaply ($1-3 per copy) are great teamwork activities.

They tend to focus on numerical amounts denominated in dollars, but these financial numbers can be easily substituted for time, number of people, anything that's a number. Practicing new concepts with things you're immediately familiar with tends to lead to remembered solutions. Instead save the comparison and application to the postmortem.

pawelmionFeb 14, 2021

For me 'Getting to yes' was too idealistic. It is a classic and good starter but did find it that usable for me.
I was impressed though by radical approach of Chris Voss on 'Never Split the Difference'. Author is a former hostage negotiator, so there are also a lot intriguing stories included w high makes it a great read.

wenconDec 11, 2019

How does one learn more about these topics outside of googling -- which I just did? (i.e. salience models and building coalitions)

I have to do this daily -- and I'm learning as I go -- but I'm finding books like Getting to Yes (with BATNA and all that) to be a little too theoretical.

ChuckMcMonMar 10, 2012

"And most of us start with zero training."

I take from this that my life is atypical since both I and my three daughters took up negotiation training at about the age of 3 and worked hard to improve our skills from then on :-)

I liked the article, its true life is negotiation be it with your spouse, your partners, your kids, or even the taxi driver. I think a good take away is that if you have never considered all the negotiating you do, you might think about picking up a couple of books on it.

I can recommend "Getting to Yes" http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-With... as a great place to start.

tzsdataonMay 12, 2021

I second the Getting to Yes recommendation. It's the best book I've found on negotiating that is actually applicable in the real world.

bcbrownonJuly 27, 2018

Look at the books published by the Harvard Negotiation Project:

Getting to Yes in 1981. Getting It DONE: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge was published in 1998, Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most in 1999, and Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as you Negotiate was published in 2006


hdivideronDec 22, 2016

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury.

Once you realize virtually every conversation with a human is also a negotiation, the need to study it becomes clear.

TeMPOraLonMay 26, 2017

> Your partner needs to be reasonably intelligent and reasonable for this to work.

Most people are capable of being reasonable and behaving intelligently; they may just not be used to it. I figured this out some time ago. The way I do it if someone doesn't behave reasonably is to politely make it clear that working together on a problem is the only way they can get something from me.

"Getting to Yes" is a good book, I second the recommendation.

wintermutestwinonApr 2, 2020

Great post. Your reading list is excellent and I'd add Getting to Yes.
I think there are some key elements you left out: (1) the concept of emotional safety and the value of brainstorming (Crucial Conversations), (2) seeing the problem as separate from the people (Getting Past No / Getting to Yes), (3) Negotiating interests, not positions (Getting to Yes).

Here are the links to the reading list (and I added Getting to Yes):






benihanaonJan 21, 2015

Getting To Yes, if you haven't read it, might be a good read for you. It's specifically about negotiating, but in general, the theme of the book is mutually beneficial arrangements are vastly superior to one sided arrangements.

I've been in similar situations to the one you described and I wish I had some of the knowledge and skills I have now. I could have helped the dude out and negotiated for some more money while doing it.


BrentOzaronMay 19, 2019

Freelancer here, went through something similar in Chicago a couple of times. This line in particular stood out:

> Others make tenants pay the whole year’s rent up front

I had resistance from a landlord who didn’t want to take a freelancer as a tenant, so I asked, “How many months up front would you want me to pay for you to feel comfortable, and then how can you make me feel comfortable that you’d take care of complaints and not just give me the finger because you already had all my money? I’m fine with whatever compromise you think is fair as long as we’re both protected.”

Just that conversation alone was enough. She said, “if you’re this fair with me, you’re probably this fair with your customers, and we’ll be fine.” The end, no deposit required.

I’m not saying that’ll always work - but just remember that negotiation isn’t binary. Find out what the person on the other side wants, and let them offer you a compromise they think both sides would accept. And if you’re a freelancer, pick up the book Getting To Yes.

officemonkeyonAug 8, 2015

"Getting to Yes" is probably the shortest, most useful book I've ever read. If you have to negotiate anything, this book will help.

I read it 22 years ago and it pays off regularly.

microtheriononMay 22, 2018

"Getting to Yes" and "Getting Past No".

"A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander.

"The No Asshole Rule".

"How to Lie with Statistics".

abandonlibertyonMay 25, 2017

Accommodation and compromise are zero sum. You're leaving a lot on the table if that's the extent of your paradigm.

Here's a sample model: http://righttojoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Assertive-v...

Collaboration is value-generating. It takes more effort and yields more return. Rather than 'pushing back' you work together to understand what is important to each party and find ways to meet those needs. This must be built on an equal foundation - your needle in the middle - for most effective good-faith negotiation. Your partner needs to be reasonably intelligent and reasonable for this to work.

You need to teach people what's important to you, rather than expecting them to read your mind.

Highly recommend the negotiation book 'Getting to Yes' for a thorough treatment of these concepts.

giantg2onAug 11, 2020

Getting to Yes; Exactly What to Say; The Coaching Habit

These are a few that I read and found useful. I'm not a CTO, just an intermediate developer.

apinsteinonMar 24, 2012

I still disagree :)

Who said anything about simplification? I think "the design methodology of simplification" is a) not what the article is about IMO, and b) orthogonal to the idea of the power of not trying to do everything that crosses your desk.

The anti-pattern is that in many circles it's essentially a best practice to do everything. Sales guys sell everything, even if it's not in the wheelhouse of the company. Software guys add features that they should probably have the courage to say no to. Musicians over-do their music (ie trying to show off). So that's the anti-pattern; people realize that sometimes saying no is better than the alleged best practice of always finding a way to say yes.

I will admit I certainly could've worded things better, but I was writing from my phone and that tends to decrease my willingness to craft better comments.

That said, the book "Getting to Yes" which is the inspiration for the article's title isn't at all about always saying yes. It's about principled negotiation. It is an amazing book; there's a reason it's standard fare in the MBA world. I would argue that someone practicing principled negotiation would say no in the situation of the article as well; in that sense the articles title is kinda just a cheesy headline (but still nice, it made me click on it).

drzaiusapelordonAug 8, 2016

Its not bad. I think Carnegie, like many men of his generation, had an overly rosy look of society and the book buys pretty deeply into middle-class Christain-Judeo ethics. It definitely fits in more with the win-win idea of striking a deal than the zero-sum scorched earth tactics that because popular later and emphasises relationships, perhaps to the point where a modern person would find it to be butt-kissing.

I'm not exactly sure what the GP meant, but my take is that if you find the book to be revealing it probably means you were buying into middle-class Christian-Judeo ethics anyway, or are good at faking them. If both parties believe in a win-win solution, then they'll probably find it. So its self-fulfilling in a way. The problem is that is highly competitive environments win-win negotiation is a non-starter and these kind of strategies won't work.

Its something of a relic in my opinion. Maybe it made sense in terms of a door-to-door salesmen like Carnegie was, but I can't imagine it being particularly useful today, especially for those looking to run a tech startup. I'd look at books like "Getting to Yes" or various startup specific books instead as a better use of your time.

_zskdonNov 20, 2018

I've responded to this sort if inquiry before, so forgive the copy-pasta:

>> You sound like you have anxiety problems. What have you done to address your anti-social tendencies? Are you going to a therapist? Do you expect a fairy to fly into your house and magic them away? What job do you think exists where you don't need these skills?

>> Having a therapist does not mean you are crazy, and you don't NEED to be crazy to have one. It means you have having a neutral person who helps you track and set goals, track your moods, and help you process work relationships and events. Michael Jordan has a coach, brain workers have therapists. ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18277170 )

One thing I want to make clear is that this is not going to go away without actual effort and planning on your part.

I would recommend going to a therapist and having them help you process your social interactions and set goals for improving yourself. Which, overall, is what a therapist does. Way more than the cliche "Now let's talk about your father..."

A lot of good information in here, as well. Read some books, it's good for you! It makes you smarter! People have taken time to write them for the last thousand years for a reason!

You can spare the time away from social media to read a book, I promise. And the sense of achievement you get from finishing a book feels great.

- "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is a must-read.

- "Getting to Yes" is another excellent book about workplace conflict resolution.

- There are a ton of books about emotional intelligence. Find one that sounds interesting to you and read it.

I'll also recommend "Deep Work" and "Smarter, Faster, Better" for more general workplace productivity management, but feel free to sleep on those if you feel like it.

giantg2onJune 15, 2020

My company doesn't give us softskill books. There are e-trainings we can take on Pluarlsight, Lynda, and internally. It's usually about diversity and communication.

Books that I have read on my own are 'The Coaching Habit', 'Getting to Yes', and 'Exactly What to Say'. They might be helpful to you. They didn't help me since my career is in a downward spiral.

hooandeonOct 22, 2013

  How to compose a successful critical commentary:

1. Attempt to re-express your target's position so clearly, vividly and fairly that
your target says: "Thanks, I wish I'd thought of putting it that way."
2. List any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general
or widespread agreement).
3. Mention anything you have learned from your target.
4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

I wish that hackernews could be like this. It would be like laying down troll poison. Even the most hardcore jerks don't like when the only response they get is to be killed by kindness.

I read the book "Getting To Yes" by Roger Patton. It's highly recommend and considered to be the manual on negotiation. And the main point of advice from it was: Be Nice. Argument and negotiation aren't supposed to be about who is louder or more aggressive. Calmly laying out points that are backed up by facts works better every time.

Online arguments tend to be low stakes affairs. I can understand why so many hn discussions devolve into personal attacks and accusations. I can only hope that people behave differently in person. The best way to win an argument is to turn it into a niceness contest where everybody walks away feeling better for the experience.

steveeq1onApr 9, 2015

Interesting. I hate books that teach you how to negotiate like a scumbag (ie most trial attorneys and car salesmen) so this is a refreshing change of pace. I will put this on my to-read list. A book in similar vein is "Getting to Yes". which influenced me greatly in how to handle disputes. It was recommended by Charlie Munger, in his book "Poor Charlie's Almanack" (antoher great book).

Also, check out "Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger". Both that and Poor Charlie's Almanack are two books that describe the Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger way of thinking. In fact, I found out about "Getting to Yes" through those two books. Read them, these three books changed my outlook on life in a big way.

A summary of these books is here: http://sivers.org/book/SeekingWisdom

BeetleBonMar 16, 2017

Increasingly, folks are gaming Google's search.

Take this book:


If I search for '"Never Split The Difference" review', I want to find, well, people's reviews. Note that the book has several ratings on Amazon - it is a popular book.

Yet I found only perhaps 1 "honest" review in the first 2 pages of Google's results. Everything else I find reads like a promotion for the book.

Looking at Fakespot, there is some evidence of light tampering with Amazon's reviews on the book.

The reason I Googled it? I've read a few chapters and am appalled at the book. It essentially is trying to boost its popularity by trashing what is taught in well respected negotiation programs at top universities. But while repeatedly trashing that education throughout the book, he continually advocates strategies that are also taught by the same programs he is trashing.

Given that he continually bashes the most famous book on the topic (Getting To Yes), I wanted to see if anyone has done an honest comparison between the two - pointing out the author's somewhat dishonest stance. And I can't find it in the early Google hits. I see it only in the 1 or 2 star reviews on Amazon.

jamesfordivonApr 11, 2013

Check out the good book "Getting Past No" (the follow-up to "Getting to Yes") - this is called having your BATNA - Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement and will help your position even if you don't have to bring it up, just having it in your mind could boost your confidence and help you ask for what you want

danialtzonAug 8, 2015

I was lucky that during my research time I got to know Dawkin's work. And the journey started there:

1. "Cats' Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People" by Steven Vogel. If you were fascinated by the wings of birds or little waves behind the plants in water read this. Fascinating book!

2. "The meme machine" by Susan Blackmore. Starting off where Dawkin's book ended.

3. "Three steps to yes" by Gene Bedell, beside Getting to Yes already mentioned here.

newman314onMar 7, 2013

My go to books for negotiating:

* Getting Past No

* Getting To Yes

MzonJune 13, 2017

Let me suggest you read some good negotiating books. "Getting to Yes" is research-based and a quick read. "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator" is also research-based, but meatier.

There was an episode of some kid's show where there were two women who saw the future. The one who saw only bad outcomes was very happy because any time things went better than that, it was a pleasant surprise. The one who saw only good outcomes was miserable. She was constantly disappointed by life. It never lived up to her expectations.

So, I basically try to be the person who sees the bad outcomes in advance and then gets to be pleasantly surprised when it goes better than that. That isn't entirely accurate. I don't mean that I assume that all people are dreadful, but I do assume that people will tend to act in their own self interest, even if that means hurting me.

But I do try allow for the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. There are ways you can ruin the whole thing by hanging your crap on other people and signaling to them what rat bastards you assume them to be. So, don't go around TELLING everyone you expect them to be awful, but do be aware it is a possible outcome and account for it, to the best of your ability.

Also, trust is earned. People need to prove their trustworthiness. That is nothing you should give away too cheaply. You can observe how they act and make some inferences about how they are likely to act in the future based on past behavior. You can also "test" people by entrusting smaller things to them and see what they do with that before putting larger things on the table. It needs to be something genuine. You need to have some real skin in the game. But make sure to limit how much of your hide they can take if it goes south, until their actions show you they will protect your hide, even under difficult circumstances.

MzonOct 27, 2017

Get a copy of the book "Getting to Yes." It's a quick read and should help you figure out how to approach him.

My guess is that since he is "salesy," he is the kind of person who values social capital and he thinks the way to get your respect is to prove he is good at code. One of the takeaways from negotiating studies is that value lies in your differences. If you were both good at the same thing, you wouldn't really need him as a cofounder.

So, maybe get better at praising him for the things he is good at and making him feel like you are awed by the things he can do that you can't.

Also, you need to make sure he understands the product better. His lack of understanding of the product is a serious issue, even if you can get him to stay out of the code base.

Do try to approach this diplomatically, but also recognize that this is a make or break moment. Either the two of you will hash this out and your ability to communicate and your trust in each other will grow, making the company better in every way, or it will break you two up. And it is better to lose him early so you can go find someone else than to keep this limping along out of fear that any confrontation will be a dealbreaker.

Cofounders need to be able to hash things out in a serious way. This is one of the reasons it gets compared a lot to marriage. If you can't "fight it out" so to speak and come up with a real solution, the two of you do not have what it takes to grow a company together. (You should try hard to not be too fighty about this, but you also need to make sure you aren't erring on the side of being too much of a conflict avoider. That is actually worse.)

afarrellonJune 29, 2016

I highly recommend this reading this book. If you read it 5 years ago, I highly recommend re-reading it--the insights you have when you get reminded of things will surprise you.

I also recommend the book Difficult Conversations by the same folks who wrote Getting to Yes. It lays out a good model for better predicting what impact the things you say might have on other people.

MzonNov 4, 2009

I had a class called "Negotiation and Conflict Management". The two required texts for it were "Getting to Yes" and "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator". My recollection is that these are the only two books on the topic (or were at the time) that are based on research. "Getting to Yes" is short and an easy read. "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator" is a much meatier book. I recommend it often.

DoreenMicheleonMay 16, 2020

I think you need to make it clear that you are a maker and your limitations are more in the realm of physics -- what can work and what won't work.

Business people tend to be more social-oriented, people-oriented. And one of the pitfalls of that is that most such people think if you just make the right friends, find the right words, push the right emotional buttons, you can make magic.

And sometimes that's true. But sometimes what they want is a case of "Something cannot be both heavy and light at the same time. I can be light and large -- like a cloud -- but it can't be both heavy and light. Pick one."

I do a lot of studying of social things and I hate people who are manipulative. A lot of people with serious social skills are manipulative.

In short, many of them lie when it's convenient because they don't want to deal with negative emotions or whatever.

So I would have them watch the Jim Carrey movie "Liar, Liar." and challenge them to use their social skills to tell the actual truth in a more acceptable manner instead of fudging.

I would also recommend negotiating books. Hard skills when it comes to dealing with people helps make it possible to be both honest and diplomatic.

The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator is research based and very meaty.

Getting to Yes is also research based, but a quick, easy read.

rgrahamonSep 8, 2014

Practice when you have a chance.

Read 'Getting to Yes' and 'Bargaining for Advantage.' Use the principles when making any large purchase or changing jobs.

Most retail cashiers can also give 10% discounts without approval. Find opportunities to negotiate.

Buy things on craigslist and be patient.

If you read the books, you'll also see more everyday situations and compromises as chances to use negotiating skills. There's no reason it needs to be money.

If you're in software you can also read patio11's valuable thoughts: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

occzonApr 10, 2021

I've read both a few of the negotiation books (Getting to yes, Getting past no) and Five Dysfunctions and I don't know that I'd recommend them, to be honest.

My beef with Five Dysfunctions is primarily the book recommending MBTI. MBTI has the predictive value of horoscopes, more or less. Really hard to take anything said seriously at that point.

The negotiation-series has some value, and has helped me succeed in some negotiations, but I'd honestly recommend Never split the difference as a substitute. Having read that book instead would probably have saved me more than a few poor outcomes in negotiations.

Finally I'd like to recommend Peopleware - surely one of - if not the definitively - best book I've read for professional purposes.

vowellessonDec 28, 2019

* Elements of Statistical Learning - Hastie, Tibshisrani

* (Lot's of machine learning books to list: PRML, All of Stats, Deep Learning, etc.)

* Active Portfolio Management - Kahn, Grinold

* Thinking, fast and slow - Kahneman

* Protein Power (the Eades') / Why we get fat (Taubes)

* Why we sleep (Walker)

* Deep Work / So Good They Can't Ignore You (Newport)

* Flowers for Algernon (Keyes)

* Getting to Yes (Fisher)

DoreenMicheleonJuly 27, 2018

Getting a seed round is a form of negotiating. If you know very little about negotiating, it would be a good idea to read up before you do anything so high stakes.

Two good books that are research based:

Getting to Yes

The mind and heart of the negotiator

The first is a quick and easy read. The second is much meatier. They were both required texts for a college class I had on the subject.

MzonDec 9, 2010

I have zero experience with this. But I learned a lot about communicating effectively under pressure while very ill and being jerked around by doctors. If I got all emotional, it was just another excuse to dismiss my very real concerns that I might die if they didn't treat me. I had to keep a very cool head at a time when that was enormously challenging due to pain, fear, how sick I was, etc. I found that doing a few minutes of "meditating" just beforehand -- breathe deeply, clear your mind of prejudices, that sort of thing -- was one of the most effective things I could do.

I would also recommend you pick up a copy of "Getting to Yes" if you aren't familiar with it. It is a quick read and research-based. A meatier book is "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator". http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Heart-Negotiator-Leigh-Thompson/d... But it might be a bit late for that. (EDIT: Both were required texts in a class I had on "Negotiation and Conflict Management".)

Good luck.

spodekonFeb 11, 2018

"Getting To Yes" https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Wit...

I've given away more copies of that book than any other. Improves all relationships.

"Elements of Style" aka Strunk and White. https://www.amazon.com/Elements-Style-Fourth-William-Strunk/...

I'd prefer they not only read Elements of Style, but work on it.

SkyMarshalonJuly 26, 2010

Read Fischer & Ury's Getting to Yes if you have time. Great little book on negotiating. One of their main pieces of advice is, before entering any negotiation, work out your BATNA - Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.

A BATNA is not the lowest price you're willing to accept in a negotiation, but rather what you would do if the negotiation never occurred in the first place. Bootstrap your product, try to gain traction, profit? Raise angel/VC money, work towards an exit strategy? Apply to YC?

Once you have that figured out, you can enter into a negotiation with a much better idea of the value of your product to you. If there is overlap with that and what the other company is willing to offer for it, then you can make a win/win deal.

It also helps to have some idea of the value of your product to the other company, as you do.

Good luck, and congrats.

wpietrionNov 23, 2017

Franz de Waal's "Chimpanzee Politics". It's nominally about the social relationships of a chimp colony in a Dutch zoo. But it made me see the extent to which humans are just another great ape, and a lot of human dynamics are really primate dynamics, especially around social power.

Johnstone's "Impro". It's about improvisational theater, and mainly meant for people learning improv. But the section on status transactions helped me see a lot about how we express those primate dominance dynamics. There's also great material on the nature of creativity.

"Getting to Yes" is a great book about business negotiation, but is lessons about shifting discussions from zero-sum to positive-sum are things I use a lot.

Braitenberg's "Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology" is a way of thinking about psychology (and our inference of mind) by examining imaginary robots.

"The Toyota Way" and other books on Lean Manufacturing are about running extremely effective manufacturing operations. But they have deeply changed how I think about systems of making software and running businesses. Other great books in this category include "Toyota Kata" and "Principles of Product Development Flow".

"Crossing the Chasm" is about how tech products get adopted. But its mindset around segmenting audiences and building credibility taught me a lot about any sort of social change.

"Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" is nominally about abuse in romantic relationships. But its insights about power and control have been useful to me way beyond that. E.g., so much behavior in large corporations is inexplicable if you look at it in business terms, and perfectly sensible if you think about if from the perspective of, "What would a person with abusive tendencies gain from this situation?"

Also, hearty +1s for books "Design of Everyday Things", "Finite and Infinite Games", and "Punished by Rewards".

sidcoolonMay 4, 2018

I am reading (rather listening) the book "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton.

shooonDec 5, 2015

> You know if you are paid enough by learning what other offers you can get.


Instead of pouring an excess of effort your energy into your job, perhaps above and beyond what you agreed to do as per your employment contract, pour your effort and energy into investigating and cultivating your other job prospects. See if other companies are willing to make you a decent offer. It may take a fair bit of time to find a company that really wants you, that you'd be willing to work for, and will make you a strong offer. You are in a good position to look for other options when you are not rushed and are not desperate - i.e. - when you are already employed. Once you have one or more offers on the table, then you are in an excellent position to either take the offer, or begin negotiating with your current employer for a raise to a level that is competitive with the offer.

If you go to your employer and say "give me a 20% raise" - or even "give me a 20% raise because <reasons why you are valuable>" without having first cultivated a strong alternative option, and they refuse, what are you going to do? Keep working for them at the same rate of pay?

A few resources that I found useful are:

  * the idea of a BATNA - Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement
* the ever popular Patrick McKenzie's salary negotiation advice
* the book: "getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in" by Fisher, Ury and Patton.

On a personal note, I'm finding it far more valuable to become better at business-y things than technical things at this stage in my own career, after spending years thinking about programming, mathematics, and technical things. I regret not doing this earlier.

raverbashingonOct 6, 2014

Listen to this guy. Also read "Getting to Yes", the dealmaking 101 book

And OF COURSE Lawyer up, with a good startup lawyer.

Another tip. If there's money on the table TAKE IT. $BIGCORP wants to buy it for $SUM which will leave you with 6 or even maybe 7 digits in your pocket? Evaluate the deal with your lawyer, then sign on the line.

liquidcoolonMay 29, 2015

As a manager, I want people to be happy with their compensation. But an inquiry is not an offer, and furthermore it's for a job you're not interested in. To get leverage, as byoung2 writes, you need an offer from a job you'd actually take (your BATNA). Or you need to be able to quantify your value to the company. That is a skill that pays off.

I recommend patio11's negotiation guide: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

Also, the book Getting To Yes, which will be at your local library. It's all about win/win negotiation.

Finally, don't forget to do a holistic compensation comparison, unless you're a non-benefited contractor. People frequently forget that average hours per week, one of the biggest differentiators, will not be in your offer letter (unless it talks of paid overtime).

LordarminiusonMay 5, 2018

1.Everything Is Negotiable by Gavin Kennedy

2.Getting to Yes

petercooperonMay 19, 2021

Buyer: I think I could come up to maybe $7500 but that’s about it. .. then later: Buyer: Ok at $10,500 we have a deal.

I've sold a few projects in my time, but this conversation makes me think I should really look at having an agent represent me in future. The whole "I can only offer $7500" but then that turned into a $10500 sale just goes over my head - the communications skills needed are next level, and I've read Getting to Yes and such books :-) Maybe having someone less emotionally attached to a project could work in negotiations to increase the price to far more than cover their fee?

dkerstenonJune 8, 2019

I haven't actually read Getting to Yes, so I could be wrong, but from what I gather (ie what I've heard about it), it very much focuses on persuasion through logic, facts, etc assuming that both parties are rational and a rational argument will persuade, while Never Split the Difference states that this doesn't work because humans are inherently irrational and react emotionally, so you need to be in tune with your counter-parties emotional state (which often simply comes down to that they want to feel like their concerns are being listened to and understood).

You don't want the typical sales pitch that you might hear from a telemarketer or "slick sales person" -- you come away from those drained and annoyed -- instead you want to be listened to and understood.

Never Split the Difference spends some time talking about why more traditional sales practices don't work very well, hence re-education. You want to break the habits that are (apparently) thought in Getting to Yes and instead work on you listening skills, empathy and techniques for learning about your counter-parties emotional state, fears and desires. There's a chapter called something like "getting to no" because once the person has told you no, you can work with them to find out what they actually want and if you can give it to them. Its also very clear that you shouldn't be doing much of the talking, you should let the other person talk while you listen and poke them with tactical statements and questions to get them to focus in on the important details. This is rather different from more traditional sales "pitches" where you talk at them most of the time.

motohagiographyonMay 4, 2018

I have most of an abandoned book written on it. Abandoned because I will finish it when I can show it actually works.

As a foundation, "Getting to Yes," is key, but as another commenter mentioned, it has been considered outdated because it assumes rational parties. This isn't a limit, as you need to play scales before you can play jazz, but there are no "scale recitals."

"Rational," has a few concepts wrapped up in it. Main limit on the basic theories (I would say) is that it focuses on discussing a transaction with a finite outcome, positioning one another in relation to a commitment event. A raise, a consulting rate, price of a car, etc.

Reality is that society has changed, and deals are really more about achieving a temporary political equilibrium. You could say they always were, but strong personal connections and relationships in business aren't as much of a factor as public reputation/image has become. In a graph sense, many "weak ties," are more valuable than a few strong ones.

IMHO, traditional negotiation assumed valuing "strong tie" networks. Negotiation in a "weak tie," network has very different dynamics than a "strong tie," network.

A very useful traditional reference is The Economist Guide: https://www.amazon.com/Economist-Negotiation-Z-Guide-ebook/d...

It is an encyclopedia/dictionary approach to get the concepts and an overview of what people on the other side of the table likely already understand.

Weak tie negotiation uses some of the same traditional techniques, but requires more advanced concepts from some other authors. Maybe I should finish that book.

BeetleBonDec 4, 2020

Books I liked:

- Bargaining For Advantage (https://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Advantage-Negotiation-Stra...)

- Negotiation Genius (https://www.amazon.com/Negotiation-Genius-Obstacles-Brillian...)

- Getting To Yes (https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Wit...)

- The Coursera course from the University of Michigan (and not the Yale one).

- Getting Past No (https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Past-Negotiating-Difficult-Si...)

- Difficult Conversations/Crucial Conversations/Nonviolent Communications

The last bullet (arguably the last two bullets) are about conversation skills, but that is an essential part of negotiations.

I won't claim to be good at this stuff. It takes a lot of effort and practice to change habits you've formed your whole life. But still, I've improved somewhat. What I do think I've become much better at is identifying why someone's efforts succeeded (or in this case, failed).

I would also recommend Influence by Cialdini. It is not a negotiation book at all, but will make much of the material in those books more meaningful if you've read this book.

Books/courses I discourage:

- Never Split The Difference

- The Lynda course (there may be more than one now, but the one I took years ago was bad).

corysamaonMar 14, 2015

Anyone here who has not read "The Power of a Positive No" really should get to it. It's about how to say No constantly without being an ass. It's practically tailored around devs negotiating with customers.

I the whole world read Ury's "Getting to Yes" trilogy, the whole world would be a much nicer place to be.

dfrankeonMar 11, 2008

I've heard a few people recommend "Getting To Yes", but I haven't read it myself.

officemonkeyonJuly 17, 2012

"Getting to Yes" is basically "How to Deal."
"Sources of Power" is "How to Decide."

My lack of formatting skill makes it look like there are four books instead of two.

spodekonApr 10, 2013

Getting to Yes is the book on negotiation. I'm surprised someone didn't mention it already, but I'll get the karma points instead. If you haven't read it, it will likely become one of the more important books on business and give-and-take interactions you read. We all negotiate every day, on things like prices and salaries, but also what movie to go to or what restaurant to eat at. This book helps in all these areas.

It transformed negotiation from me from something I didn't like to a human and essential part of business.

- A few words I wrote on the book -- http://joshuaspodek.com/top-models-strategies-negotiating

- Wikipedia page -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_to_yes

- Amazon -- http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dap...

Here are the main strategic points, for reference

1. Separate the people from the problem.

2. Focus on interests, not positions.

3. Invent options for mutual gain.

4. Insist on using objective criteria.

5. Know your BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement)

6. Always try to improve your BATNA.

MzonFeb 5, 2011


  Negotiation/Conflict Management 
InSt 435 (5) or
Mgmt 430 (5)

It's online, so when I took it, there were no in-state/out-of-state fee differences. When I took it (a long time ago), the two main texts for the class were "Getting to Yes" and "The mind and heart of the negotiator". http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Heart-Negotiator-Leigh-Thompson/d...

I highly recommend the second book especially. Towards the end of class, there is a group negotiation exercise. I thought it was quite good.

borepoponMay 19, 2021

Normally, yes, and as was mentioned higher in the thread this initial figure is referred to as an "anchor," meaning that it has the psychological effect of implying that anything higher than that number is somehow a real concession on the buyer's part, when the reality is that the opening number could have just been higher. It's rather like when a store says "this is normally $500 but now it's on sale for only $250" instead of just pricing something at $250 in the first place. Getting to Yes, also mentioned above, is a useful book on negotiation.

cmwelshonDec 19, 2013

Getting to Yes by Fisher, Ury, and Patton

Everything in life is negotiable.

drunkpotatoonMay 18, 2020

It seems that half your question is about experience, and half is indirectly asking for advice. So, experience:

My experience is the opposite. Since having kids, I have been ruthless about changing jobs as needed, standing up for what I need, and getting a lot more money on each career move. I was much more lax on these matters before, and would spend countless hours on pointless drivel. I still spend hours on drivel, but I count every hour! As others have noted, having kids makes you question the value of your time and forces you to be much more efficient.

Advice: Value yourself more than your managers value you, present yourself with confidence backed by experience and knowledge, and your career prospects are wide open.

Also, I mean this in all seriousness, read "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Its advice contributed the most money directly to my bank account of any book I have ever read, followed by "The Richest Man in Babylon," another good book. (Getting to Yes to increase my income, Babylon to decrease my spending and increase my savings.)

MzonJuly 20, 2017

I have had a class in Negotiation and Conflict Management. If you haven't had any training in negotiation, at least get a copy of the book "Getting to Yes." It is short and research-based.

It takes time to broker a deal. (Of course, that doesn't mean every single person is being straight up honest with you every single time they communicate.)

This article kind of admits to being perhaps unnecessarily snarky. ("Note: I’m normally not this cynical, but this article was fun to write ") I don't have experience trying to woo VCs for an investment. But closing a big deal tends to be time consuming due to the slow process of gradual exposure of pertinent info on both sides.

So, I am reluctant to take this article too seriously.

peterbonJan 23, 2012

"Getting to Yes" by Fisher, et al. and "Bargaining for Advantage" by Shell are considered classics in the field.

MzonNov 5, 2017

I got a lot out of some very practical books, like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Getting to Yes, The Tipping Point and The Peter Principle. I read a lot of good fiction in my youth, including books mentioned here, like Siddhartha, works by Heinlein and the Amber series.

There are a couple of books that had a big impact on me whose titles I long ago forgot. Periodically searching has not uncovered them.

One was a history of the deep south. Another was a book about about raising money for non profits.

I grew up in the deep south. Reading a history of it helped me understand my life and my country better. The second book had some pithy passages. One of my takeaways was "Don't say no for them." In other words, don't fail to ask because you assume the answer is no.

There were some other pithy, wise bits in the book that boil down to "If you really care about this project and the people it impacts, you need to get over being a thin skinned crybaby and keep at it in spite of repeatedly dealing with rejection, etc." I think the story was repeatedly told that someone would come to her all upset about something and she would say something like "I will put on my best therapist hat and tell you to get over it."

It was a surprising attitude to run into. The author was very practical. She also talked about the fact that she kept doing what she did because when things went well, there was no better feeling. I have done a lot of volunteer work in my life and there is a whole lot of touchy feely stuff that goes along with such work. This book was a breath of fresh air.

shayanonDec 4, 2007

Unfortunately I can't read fiction too much, I feel like what I read must directly help me with what I do, so I feel a lot better reading either technical stuff or business related (I love business). Since we are excluding technical, most of the following are business related, or helps you in dealing with people and solving problems)

Netscape Time - Jim Clark (very educational for those interested in startups, good piece of Internet history, interesting insights to the culture of the first Internet companies)

How To Win Friends And Influence People - Dale Carnegie (found it through YC recommendations, THANK YOU. one of the best educational books I have ever read, it will teach you how to make friends, be a good leader, get along at home, encourage people, make them follow you and so much more...)

Founders at Work - Jessica Livingston (I found it relevant to what I am doing, good lessons, and interesting insights)

Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher, William L. Ury (teaches you how to negotiate and how to get the best out of each situation for yourself and the other part, will be useful both at work and personal life, a bit dry)

Winning - Jack Welch (great advices on leadership, might be more useful to someone that is running a big company)

Leadership Is an Art - Max Depree (great leadership advices, it will give you the right mindset of how to be a great leader)


Animal Farm (George Orwell), Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), Interpreting Your Dreams(Freud)

blunteonNov 21, 2016

After more than two decades as a developer, I have just now begun to realize all the other valuable skills, outside of technology, that I have not developed. And consequently, I've been very hungry for this additional education.

I understand you're looking for IT education, but I would recommend audio books (or language courses). If you haven't done any of these, give some a try:

* If you don't know a second language, try the Pimsleur courses.

* How To Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

* Getting to Yes, by Bruce Patton, Roger Fisher, and William Ury

* How We Choose to be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People, by Greg Hicks and Rick Foster

* Managing Oneself (Harvard Business Review Classics), by Peter Drucker

It's easy to learn the technical things with hands-on time and night time efforts, but sometimes the tech is so much fun that some of us just simply ignore topics that have longer term value and frankly can enable us to really make the most of our technical abilities.

afarrellonMay 12, 2016

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khaneman: It is not a book on leadership really, but on decision-making. It is backed by reproducible nobel-prize winning research and builds a ver clear mental model. My only quibble is that the author should call "system 1" "the intuitive mind" and "system 2" "the deliberative mind" for the sake of better affordance.

Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen: This is by the same group behind Getting to Yes. It presents a clear mental model for how to better predict the way your words will be perceived and how to avoid misperceiving what other people are trying to say.

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni: The first part of this presents a clear model the prerequisites for a team to be effective. The Second part presents a model of how to get agreement on mission and strategy. If you prefer a more allegorical/narrative style, the author has several books that teach different pieces of this book.

Each of these is available on Audible, if you find it easier to listen while commuting.

mknockeronJune 21, 2016

I fully agree. When working on a team, you have to think about the future not only the current moment. If every time you have a disagreement it results in a win-lose situation I can guarantee you the mood among the your team will go down quite rapidly. I would suggest 'Getting to yes' by Bruce Patton, Roger Fisher, and William Ury on this matter of negotiation.

calibraxisonMay 7, 2014

Good points, but wish the author pointed to the enormous, readable lit. (Few people I know have read things like "Getting to Yes.".)

People often are ideologically blind to fundamental antagonisms in various relationships. (For example, market interactions is a big one.) I've had entirely good deals with people who've tried to (if you'll excuse my language) fuck me over, by silently changing little things in PDF contracts, benefiting on the X% of people not paranoid enough to run diffs.

Some argue, "How can you make a good deal with someone who just tried screwing you over?" Frankly, most deals are that way. Landlords try to; you buy products from companies who routinely lie to you (and even try to make you feel miserable about yourself); etc. And if you're a bit privileged, you may be lucky enough to be able to hit back hard at some of these people.

VuongNonJuly 23, 2012

With the amount of information you provided, I will not assume to know the exact answer, however, I do have a few questions that can perhaps point you toward the right direction:

1) Have you brought this specific issue up in a meeting where everyone is present? Not alluding to it, but specifically bringing it up (for instance): "I feel that there's a serious issue that may impede our team's success, here's where I think the issue is..."

2) You described the loud/big talkers (LBTs) as very confident in their idea and others might buy it--are you the only one who feel that way? Have you talk to the other team members individually?

3) Have you talked to the LBTs individually?

4) Why do you think the LBTs are always interrupting you? Are you being precise when you talk? Do you bring data that backs up what you say? Do you talk very slowly?

5) Do you ever get good results with a 15-people brainstorming session?

6) Do you feel like you have to be with this group? Is moving on an option?

There are 2 books I really like:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck and
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury and Bruce Patton

Perhaps you might find the reading to be helpful to you as well.

Good luck and be happy,


jhaandonFeb 3, 2016

"The authors argue that the major problem in many negotiations is that people assume positions that are either Hard or Soft. They suggest that, rather than being either hard on the people and the problem, or soft on people and problem, it is possible to be soft on the people and hard on the problem. They call this approach Principled negotiation or Negotiation on its merits." Getting to Yes - Roger Fisher, William Ury

And my personal motto as a system tester: "It's my job to show that stuff is still broken and tell in it such a way that my head won't be chopped off and people stilltalk to me."

NonEUCitizenonNov 18, 2009

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
ISBN-10: 0140157352
ISBN-13: 978-0140157352

ebiesteronSep 12, 2011

The question is, do you want to move up?

If someone wants to move up within the organization, this is a quick reading list.

Getting to Yes -- If you only have a chance to read one, read this. It is about how to effectively collaborate toward a solution, and it works in functional work environments. It will be around in a big enough used bookstore.

How to Win Friends and Influence People -- Another oldie but goodie. It's a quick skim, and it's in every used bookstore. It has influenced interpersonal communication in the corporate world for nearly a century, and most people are taking their cues from this book.

The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business -- It's a condensation of many of the terms in business, and a reflection of the current corporate zeitgeist.

Then, read two top selling business books a year. They're usually quick reads, and you want to speak the same language as the people reading these books.

How does this help? By speaking the same language as the people making decisions, you are perceived as "one of them." This gives a common bond, and they perceive you as more likely to "understand business." By participating in collaborative conflict management, you are perceived to be a "team player." You can make the same good decisions without a confrontational work environment if all parties are speaking the same language.

And all of these will help you run your own company, because you will be talking to other businessmen who are reading these books. They will trust you more if they perceive you as "one of them," and you will be able to describe how your product produces a return on investment in their language.

RyanGWU82onApr 12, 2007

1. Offer money. Seriously, if you need someone to design your web application or do your accounting, don't be too cheap about it. Freelancers are professionals and need income like everybody else. You may not be able to offer market rates, so do what you can in-house, and make reasonable offers for the things you need to outsource.

2. Beg for favors from family and friends. With people you know well, you can get away with asking for favors for little or no remittance. It becomes a team effort. Of course, your friends' goodwill is a limited resource. Spend it wisely. If a graphic designer friend makes a logo for your company, and you lose interest two weeks later, she won't be as willing to help on your next project.

3. Be persuasive. There are great ways to get people to help you out, and you can learn to pitch your request so that it sounds better than "just based on promises." ;-) I'm not an expert on this, but two books that get rave reviews are "The Psychology of Persuasion" and "Getting to Yes". You can persuade people to help you out if you know how to ask. Make it a win-win situation.

I don't suggest offering equity to contractors right off the bat. A friend who will work for equity will probably also work for free, with just a few tokens of your appreciation. And if you're asking someone to do so much work that they need some compensation, maybe they should be a co-founder?

Nor do I suggest getting services on loan. ("We'll pay you once we're funded.") Investors want you to use their capital to do new work and achieve new milestones, not pay off old debt. Employees get impatient when they're owed money. And if you never get funding, it pretty much impedes any ongoing relationship with these people.

Hope this helps -- good luck!

macmaconMar 12, 2008

"Information Rules" by Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian
"Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton

kitcaronApr 16, 2011

The simple answer is a domain name is very similar to most other pieces of property. Everyone will eventually sell, if you pay a high enough price, because at a certain point the owners quality of life will actually start to decrease by not accepting your offer (due to the opportunity cost of not having the exorbitant amount of funds you are offering). The question is, are you willing to pay that much?

So short answer is pick up "Getting to YES" from Amazon, a book on negotiations, cold call the owner listed on the WHOIS record, and start negotiating. Hopefully they are reasonable, and you get a deal closed. The holding costs of domains are so low though that the downside from their perspective of not getting a deal done is pretty low, so keep that in mind while negotiating. Best of luck -

its_so_ononJan 22, 2012

Nope, still extra-curricular, just like the food is still theirs to make available or take away as they see fit. This is a shady tactic you and the employer can both use. I wouldn't though.

let me elaborate. if someone looks me in the eye and says, "Don't forget that we never work weekends, how much is that worth?" then they are not my friend. That's a given, it's part of a 40-hour job not to work weekends. To put a price on it and have me concede part of my salary means they don't have my interests at heart.

Now, you might say that negotiators don't have to have the other guy's interests at heart. Then maybe you can read Getting to Yes ("the Harvard principle") or even the old How To Win Friends and Influence People.

the toughest negotiators usually end up having no one to talk with but mud with a stick in it. If all you want for an employee is a mud with a stick in it, by all means, harp on about how elephants do not trample around your premises, there are no monsoons in the area, and other employees don't use the outhouse or squat outside to potentially poop on them.

But if you want a quality employee, an actual human, then the negotiation that works on mud with a stick in it will not be very compelling. Or honest. Pretty soon you won't be negotiating with another human again.

MzonDec 11, 2012

I think part of your mistake was in declining two other offers. I don't see where you have explained why you did that, knowing you had a visa issue. You created a situation where you were desperate. It did not have to be so. Without knowing all the particulars, I will suggest that you should have emailed them prior to declining the other offers and said "I need a firm start date and formal/official hire letter by X time (say 48 hours). If that is not possible, due to my visa situation, I will have no choice but to accept one of these other offers."

If staying in the U.S. was the most important thing, you should have made sure your choices aligned with that. If getting a particular "dream" job was more critical and you were willing to gamble with being deported if it fell through, that gamble is on you if it does not work out. If there is some other reason you made this unfortunate series of choices, you need to use this as a learning opportunity. (I am guessing you felt some sense of loyalty to them though you did not have a formal offer and then felt they "owed" you loyalty in return for the personal sacrifice you made out of loyalty to them. If so, it was a misplaced and unrealistic sentiment.)

I will suggest you take some of the other advice being offered on how to try to salvage the situation and also pick up a couple of books on negotiating. "Getting to yes" and "The mind and heart of the negotiator" are both good. The first is a quick read, so you might want to start there if you haven't seen it before as it might help you now, with your current situation. The second is meatier and more of a long term investment.

Best of luck.

ekiddonSep 12, 2011

One of the most amazing programmers I've ever worked with was Vadim Zeitlin, a core contributor to the wxWidgets project and resident of Paris. We hired him to port Quake 2 to run on top of the wxWidgets, and it took him 3.5 days. His work helped save a multi-million dollar project. Now, his daily rate wasn't cheap, but we were delighted to pay it.

If you want to earn more than average, here are some suggestions:

1) Contribute heavily to an open source project, preferably one used by people with lots of money. This demonstrates your talent and drive more clearly than a few interview questions.

2) Learn how to market your skills and how to negotiate. For the former, study patio11's career. For the latter, try reading "Getting to Yes" from the Harvard Negotiation Project.

ssharponApr 10, 2013

I think the thing most people struggle with is #2. Prior to reading Getting to Yes and taking a seminar on Negotiations, it was certainly the thing I most failed to realize. People seem to be so concerned about "losing" during negotiations that they dig themselves far too deep into their positions, while failing to really realize what they actually need, let alone what the other party needs. I'm actually shocked at how much my real-world bargaining outcomes have improved since having these concepts introduced to me.

And the book is very short, to boot, so it's quick to read and doesn't contain much fluff.

It's worth noting that the book tries to touch on negotiations where the other party is purely adversarial, and many negotiation situations are still approached this way by very experienced negotiators, but it isn't enough of a focus to really give particularly strong advice in this area. Still, some of the major principles still apply and by still focusing on your interests and understanding your position (BATNA, bottom line, etc.) will put you in a much stronger place when dealing with tough situations.

motohagiographyonJuly 9, 2020

I didn't encounter much in the way of quantitative stuff other than DeMesquita's "Logic of Political Survival," and related papers and code, which is what people should understand after they have read the foundational books like Getting To Yes, Influence, Never Split the Difference, the guidebook to negotiations A-Z from The Economist, etc.

People who haven't read laterally in it tend to only have one or two tools that have worked for them up to their level. Haggling, bargaining, and auction models aren't really negotiation. Reality is, it's the process of price discovery, often with people who are looking for rules they can break and points of leverage.

ahoyhereonAug 19, 2010

The "business" books RWR advised against are fluffy, not-business-at-all books like Gladwell -- and Seth Godin's, which are partially fluff, and partially excellent sources of case studies.

The guy quoted in RWR slammed case study books because they are soft-touch "how to build great companies" - but that's only SOME of them. The - you guessed it - fluffy ones.

"Don't read books that are nothing but fluff" is just not a battle cry people click on, so instead they say "don't read business books!"

Read Positioning, Spin Marketing, Pricing with Confidence, Getting to Yes, Rules for Revolutionaries, Purple Cow, etc., etc.

If you read, say, Purple Cow, or Positioning, or Pricing with Confidence, and don't come away with actionable ideas, you either have an empty head or were just running your eyes over the words and not thinking.

And read lots of biographies. They're practical storytelling - learn from me, kid - pinned down on paper.

MzonApr 13, 2010

Work on yourself. Influence has to come from something genuine: real competence, real respect for other people, etc. All that other stuff is merely manipulation and manipulation tends to come back to bite you at some point.

You might start with a book like "The 7 habits of highly effective people", which isn't at all about influencing others but is, instead, about getting things done.

For negotiation skills, which is entirely different from "persuasion" but can give you real power to influence outcomes, the only two I know of which are research-based are "Getting to Yes" and "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator". Both of these were required texts for my class on "Negotiation and Conflict Management".

MzonJuly 22, 2010

Awareness of how people operate and subtle indicators of what they are likely to do, combined with, in essence, an assumption of innocence in the way I respond. (Not that I think a single sentence can possibly really explain it.) That doesn't mean trouble never visits. That does mean that I have managed to get far better than average outcomes for some situations that promised to be very ugly if handled the way most people would have handled it. (See my remarks about my amicable divorce, above, as an example.)

If you are actually hoping to learn how to do some of the same, two good books are "Getting to Yes" and "The heart and mind of the negotiator" (or mind and heart -- I never can quite remember which). Both were required texts for a class I took on negotiation and conflict management.

ghaffonMar 22, 2014

The last item on the list:

>Understand the needs of the other person

Is a really important part of negotiation. Nothing to do with Jobs specifically. Don't assume that needs and desires are symmetrical in a negotiation. Sometimes they basically are. But when they aren't, it opens the possibility for win-win scenarios.

And oldies but goodie (and short) book, "Getting to Yes" talks about this. Well worth the read. (And, when I say short, I really do mean very short.)

dmlevionMar 31, 2011

If you have time read the very small book "Getting to Yes". It teaches you how to negotiate. I took negotiotaing while getting my MBA and this was our text.

My advice to you is to come in high. IF you come in at current salary plus 20%, that doesnt leave much room to get more than 20% (this also depends on your salary). Create what is called a "BATNA". Basically your best alternative. Always keep that in mind. So you come in high and start to slowly work your way down heading towards the point when you walk away from the offer. My guess is that point is below your current salary. Aim high and keep your numbers consistent when you decrease. Goodluck.

nvaderonJune 17, 2016

Might as well ask for the concepts of arithmetic, the necessity of work, or the 24 hour cycle of day and night to be banished. Machiavelli's aim was to catalogue how people actually acted, rather than dictate how they should act. He makes an observation of human nature, and suggests ways of dealing with it.

That's not to say that there may not be better approaches, in some aspects. In my mind I organise Getting to Yes and How to Win Friends as books that are complementary, yet approach the problem from a co-operative perspective.

But we haven't totally vanquished that part of ourselves that the Art of War and the Prince were written to deal with. Even if you banned these books, people would independently derive their principles.

TeMPOraLonOct 24, 2016

I agree with your personal experience, and I also dislike such methods. That said, I'm reminded of what I recently read in "Getting to Yes", which commented on underhand tactics. While not recommending them (and refraining from opinionating on morals), the book pointed out some things to consider; particularly:

- whether or not the other side is someone you'll want to maintain a longer-term relationship with

- how use of such methods affects your reputation as a negotiator

MzonApr 10, 2013

I had a college class on "Negotiation and Conflict Management." Getting to Yes was one of the required texts for that class. It is research-based and short. So adding my voice to the chorus of recommendations. Our other text was The mind and heart of the negotiator. It is a much meatier book and also reasearch-based. I highly recommend it as well.

MzonApr 7, 2016

To me it is interesting that YC puts so much focus on the founders. While you need an idea to start with, the idea can change or the company can pivot. Yet, when there has been discussion of the social angle of doing business at YC, it tends to not be backed up by data and, as such, it often seems to be raked over the coals in HN discussions. So, I would be interested in any data you have that supports some of the more hand wavy sounding social things that YC does.

I am aware that studies are often a case of GIGO and this is an inherently hard space to quantify. But I have taken classes in this area and read works that were research based, such as Getting to Yes, and I am always interested in any solid data that relates to what many people feel is a soft science at best, thus not worth taking seriously.


afarrellonJan 24, 2018

One thing that is very valuable is human feedback from coworkers. However, like most communication, there is a skill to getting and receiving feedback. The book Thanks for the Feedback from the authors of Getting to Yes is a well-written and presents some solid implementable ways to improve how you handle soliciting, interpreting, and healthily responding to feedback.


apinsteinonAug 15, 2009

You can't negotiate with terrorists (ie irrational people).

Seriously, if there's one thing I've learned dealing with d-bags and a-holes over the last decade is that they are what they are. They might eventually change, but it's unlikely that you can get them to.

The trick is figuring out if this guy is irrational or not.

First you need to read the book "Getting To Yes" about Principled Negotation. If that works, then great.

If not, you need to get him to move out, or move out yourself.

philbarronApr 10, 2013

Whilst reading Getting To Yes, I kept thinking, "I don't see how this is going to get me a cheaper car", but it did take a while to sink in. I would say it's probably been more valuable in changing how I speak to people rather than directly giving me skills to knock a price down. However, when you define "negotiating" to include eliciting s/w requirements, speaking with managers/colleagues, defining personal relationships, etc. then I would say it's an invaluable read.

I will try Bargaining For Advantage mentioned elsewhere as well.

jayzeeonMar 1, 2011

Good analysis. I have to agree with Gyardley. If he will not acquiesce to a sale and does not want to participate in future rounds then most likely he wants to do a down round.

That seems to be the only option that explains his behavior unless I am missing something.

So what are the chances that you can line up another buyer? Even at a valuation less than before would be worth considering because it looks like he is out screw you over. You might at least get something out of it even if it was not what you imagined.

If you line this offer up you and the team can give the investor an ultimatum. I think that sometimes directly calling out people's bad behavior can help.

If you can't line up an offer and then working out the math it might be best to quit.

Also I might recommend 'Getting to Yes' as a great book for negotiating. Might be too late this time, but there is always a next time!

shooonMar 14, 2018

I agree. Eg suppose you try to negotiate for a raise with your employer and they refuse to play along. What are you gonna do?

Probably better results to spend all your effort cultivating alternative options- who else would give you a job? How much would they pay you?

It's trickier if your visa is tied to your employer. Stating the obvious: that's not a great position to be in if it makes it much harder for you to switch jobs.

edit: it might also be useful to read about negotiation

e.g. the book "getting to yes"

"The Art of Letting Other People Have Your Way: Negotiating Secrets from Chris Voss" -- https://www.fs.blog/2018/01/chris-voss/

klodolphonOct 16, 2019

I have been using the playbook here for the past half-year or so. It’s made a big difference not in how I communicate, but in how I understand communication problems. There isn’t much to the book. You don’t need to read the whole thing, you can basically find summaries online and use those. The book is padded out because people won’t pay much for short booklets.

Something that I took from this book is to try and do the communication from the listener’s side—extract the four steps from people who are assaulting you with demands.

This meshes surprisingly well with other books on the subject, like Getting to Yes, which is about negotiation.

calibraxisonSep 10, 2015

Yes, it helps to briefly skim the book "Getting to Yes". (For those who can't spare the funds, it's at libgen.) Fear signals a weak bargaining position, and bosses are trained to take advantage of that instinctively. Really, it's their daily job (an aspect they unfortunately often find fun).

One must have backup plans. If you're privileged enough to be a dev, always try to have jobs lined up. (Especially going into a negotiation, where it's an option to follow through on the firing threat.) Show your face at local usergroup meetings if you can. Feel the safety of knowing there's multiple companies who'd hire you the next day.

Bosses often don't give a shit about your productivity per se. They do fear losing perceived "irreplaceable" devs... but you generally have to be one of their first hires, or somehow release some big projects alone which other devs would rather not maintain.

[Edit] Professional mask: see "Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes their Lives" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciplined_Minds

DoreenMicheleonDec 26, 2018

Instead of telling them straight up "No," a better response is to express your concerns. "So, if we do that, how does that impact my hourly rate?" Or counter offer with something that you think covers you.

You should read a negotiating book. "Getting to Yes" is short and research based.

Flat out turning them down without really exploring it is not a best practice.

officemonkeyonJan 28, 2012

Twenty years ago I read "Getting to Yes" (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-With...) before I had to negotiate something I really wanted. The skills I learned in that book has helped me every subsequent job I've ever had.

Much of the periodic blogosphere churning about salary negotiation should be eliminated by just posting links to this book.

I'm shocked that the book is not required reading for EVERYONE in the job market.

MzonSep 17, 2015

You might find books on social psychology helpful.

At one point in his career, my ex was a military recruiter. They get world class sales training. He borrowed my textbook from the social psych class I had taken and I didn't see it again until his tour of duty as a recruiter was over.

I will also recommend "Getting to yes" which is research based and a quick read and "The mind and heart of the negotiator", which is also research based but meatier. I believe there is a free version of the latter available online. These were both required texts for my class on conflict management and negotiation.

jquinbyonApr 4, 2018

Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows

Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury

ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications

ARRL Antenna Book

American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Ed.

Bible/Lectionary, Breviary, and Catechism

If fiction counts, I will probably never delete Flatland or the complete Joseph Conrad from my Kindle.

kenferryonJuly 13, 2015

I'll just add: to estmiate stuff like BATNA, try breaking the problem down and summing up. It's the same as in programming. How do you solve big problems? By breaking them down into littler and littler problems.

Then when you go back to talk to these folks, give them the rationale and the small numbers rather than (just) the big number. If they have issues with your methodology you can likely work it out.

This is largely covered by the book, "Getting to Yes". Short and helpful.

cmwelshonSep 4, 2013

Read the book "Getting to Yes", "a universal guide to the art of negotiating personal and professional disputes". It will repay itself a thousandfold as you walk into any negotiation with confidence, not just salary negotiations.


The most underused trick for salary negotiation is actually realizing that salary is negotiable - simply asking one question could increase your salary thousands of dollars.

yasserkaddouronSep 24, 2017

These blogs post from @patio11 talk about salary negotiation [1] [2]

The book he recommends for negotiation is "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher. [3]

Like you, I would appreciate recommendation for the rest.

[1] http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/

[2] http://www.kalzumeus.com/2011/10/28/dont-call-yourself-a-pro...

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Wit...

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