Getting To Yes (Book Review & Summary)


A revised edition of this landmark book from the early-eighties. Arguably still a profitable introductory read for contemporary newbie negotiator. Our summary and book assessment follows.

Level: Beginners

Categories: Academics and Historians
Publication Date: 2006-11-28

by using Roger Fisher & William Ury

Getting to Yes – Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In with the aid of Roger Fisher and William Ury was first published in 1981. The name has come to be a conventional study for any newbie inquisitive about mastering negotiation abilties.

While the book remains a totally useful examine, the reader should be conscious that negotiation principle has now not remained static. Many negotiation writers have challenged a few components of Fisher and Ury’s model and approach, as negotiation itself has advanced because of fast adjustments in business.

The 4-point steps which define the Fisher and Ury technique offer a unique and clean approach to conducting negotiations in our rapid-paced and ever-converting business weather. Their method opposes the fixed-pie mentality that also predominates tons of our negotiating lifestyle.

The problem at a glance reveals how we all too often become embroiled in an pointless and embittered tussle over entrenched positions. Many deals have collapsed because the individuals couldn’t see the woodland for the trees. In different phrases, the participants failed to see the larger photo. The individuals centered too much on triumphing in place of making a jointly profitable deal.

The authors have been additionally the primary to coin the acronym BATNA, which stands for “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” This time period essentially describes the want to conceive of creating and developing back-up plans whilst all else fails. Invariably, no longer even our first-class intentions to find agreement will always come to fruition.

Getting to Yes stays the unmarried maximum popularly examine negotiation e-book while we poll our clients entering our income negotiation education and procurement negotiation training guides.

The Method In A Nutshell

The first levels mentioned through the authors encourage us to split the human beings from the trouble. This is done by means of focusing on pastimes and now not on our mutual positions. We are then encouraged to invent alternatives for mutual advantage. Finally, we ought to insist on using objective criteria in being realistic in setting up standards.

  1. Separate the People from the Problem

We cant deal with a hassle when human beings misunderstand each other and emotions run rampant. As commercial enterprise people or leaders, we likely like to view ourselves as logical and levelheaded in relation to solving knotty troubles, disputes, and hassle-fixing. However, we are all influenced by using our upbringing, lifestyle, and definitely by means of being emotional human beings.

We all perceive our world in a different way. As such, we regularly take different, if no longer opposing, viewpoints while managing a trouble or dispute with every other man or woman. In so doing, we often supply little or any regard to the alternative man or woman’s perspective. This is a slim approach to hassle-solving and is mostly a recipe for battle and catastrophe.

Fisher and Ury suggest that every person involved in negotiation or dispute decision has separate varieties of pursuits. The first is the great, which entails our personal respective interests. The second interest entails the interpersonal relationship among the 2 negotiating aspects. The foremost trouble occurs when the relationship turns into entwined with the problem being addressed. In positional negotiation, the trouble becomes private as the two separate interests grow to be emotionally enmeshed with each other.

The humans trouble is seen as stemming from one or greater of 3 primary classes, being:


By stepping back and analyzing the trouble region wherein we have grow to be sidetracked, we can deal with the struggle from a greater realistic perspective. We also can establish a clearer know-how of the positions of each aspects. We accomplish this feat via focusing on the underlying interests in place of the emotional burrs causing the irritation in our interaction.

  1. Focus on Interests, Not Positions

The trouble right here can be summed up by pronouncing that we tend to emerge as fixated on our respective positions. We try and find agreement on a selected function, which hardly ever works. The positions regularly directly bring about conflict between each other’s emotional basis, which forms the muse for our respective positions.

Rather, what we need to understand and decide are the real hobbies forming the basis of the positions of each aspects. These essential issues are our real hobbies that may be both conflicting and well matched. The query we usually ask is What do you need? The greater important query that we fail to invite rather is Why do you want this?

There is a purpose in the back of each position. Without understanding the actual motivating motive or reason, it then turns into nearly not possible to pick out or recognize the trouble that certainly wishes to be addressed.

Fisher and Ury realized that our maximum effective interests relate to primary fundamental human needs. These needs include our:

Economic nicely-being
Sense of belonging
and manage over one’s lifestyles
The authors point out that those fundamental desires do now not simply relate to people. Instead, these wishes need to also be prolonged to any institution worried within the negotiation process. These businesses could be company entities, agencies, or even nations.

We have to renowned no longer simplest our pursuits however, possibly even extra importantly, the opposite side’s pursuits as nicely. Through lively and involved conversation and verbal exchange, each aspects can benefit a better information of each different’s pastimes. Only while we’ve properly recognized the overall scope of the trouble can, or certainly ought to, we even begin to study solutions.

Mutual Options for Mutual Gain

Fisher and Ury point out that despite the fact that people achieve diagnosing the problem, there’s still an inclination to take the view that our solution alone is the best response. It isn’t always a herbal tendency to be innovative in growing alternatives to efficiently solve the dispute. The authors nation that there are four boundaries that we should first triumph over:

Premature judgment
Searching for the unmarried answer
The assumption of the fixed pie
Thinking that fixing their hassle is their problem
Fisher and Ury propose that we need to first invent our alternatives. We should then determine at the fine mutual route of motion after each aspects have brainstormed the hassle collectively. We can multiply options via transferring among unique factors of the individual troubles and the overall hassle itself. Most disputes usually tend to have more than one additives that may be addressed by means of:

Defining the problem
Analyzing the reasons into categories
Considering possible strategies and the usage of broad thinking to solve the troubles
and by searching at what particular steps will be taken
The reason of the above exercising need to be to take an method of mutual benefit by means of organising your shared hobbies. For example, one common shared hobby might be the future of our relationship with the alternative facet. The authors maintain that it is viable to locate settlement through confrontation. This is via suggesting numerous options which are ideal to us and asking the alternative side to reply in kind. The key to convincing the alternative aspect to agree is to make the alternative facet’s selection an easy one to make.

Insist on Using Objective Criteria

In the final segment, Fisher and Ury again stress that we have to avoid the pitfall of moving into a battle of wills. Instead, the authors say that we need to negotiate on the basis of the usage of goal criteria. Objective standards can be:

Market price
Replacement price
Industry requirements
or any applicable precept that is a true mirrored image of what’s honest and reasonable.
Remember, don’t be shy approximately seeking out the advice of experts.

The authors say there are 3 fundamental factors to bear in mind:

Frame each difficulty as a mutual search for objective standards.
Be both affordable and open to reason as to which requirements must be used and the way they need to be implemented.
Never bend to pressure, handiest to principle.
Even earlier than considering the phrases to an agreement, it’s far frequently higher to first agree on the specific objective criteria or requirements that ought to be applied. Simply placed, if we use the standards that the other aspect proposed, we now can use it as a lever to influence the opposite side extra effectively.

Regardless of the way effectively we’d try to enforce those 4-step concepts, the opposite side might not be open to being reasonable. In that case, we should weigh up our alternatives. We must decide whether we are able to take delivery of their function or stroll away and motel to our fine opportunity. Finally, don’t allow yourself be slowed down totally with the aid of company coverage or system. There’s an exception to most rules, and almost the entirety is negotiable.


We all want to barter the pleasant feasible deal. However, we have to keep in mind there may be regularly extra at stake than our personal interests and egos. We can clear up extra problems if we recognize the underlying hobbies. In addition, we will create long lasting relationships if we don’t permit ourselves work at move purposes in locating mutually innovative and useful solutions.

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