Mnookin begins Bargaining with the Devil with the important and timely question of whether you should negotiate with parties you view as evil and uncompromising, and ends with the simple and commonsensical answer: "Not always, but more often than you feel like it."
For examples of negotiating with "evil," Mnookin divides the book into "global devils," "business devils," and "family devils." In the section on global devils, Mnookin explains why he thinks Rudolf Kasztner was right to negotiate with Adolf Eichmann, why Winston Churchill was right not to negotiate with Hitler, and why Nelson Mandela was right to negotiate with the apartheid regime in South Africa. In the other two sections, Mnookin draws on his experience as a mediator and relates more difficult but successful mediations involving IBM v. Fujitsu, the San Francisco symphony, and family law disputes.
While Mnookin's political examples are well-researched and interesting in revealing the details of the...
Have you ever fought with someone you thought was evil? Ever felt betrayed by a friend, a family member, a business partner? In these situations, emotions are fundamentally intertwined with any decision to negotiate; in fact, the very act of negotiation may attack one's identity. Moral righteousness is a powerful thing, and notions of right and wrong/good and evil can drive people to forgo negotiation even when it would be in their best interests. This is the struggle that is explored through the seven real-world scenarios in the book. Mnookin analyzes the difficult decisions in each chapter, delving into the possible alternatives to negotiation, providing creative solutions, and assessing the decisions made by the parties. The scenarios range from the harrowing ordeal of negotiating with Nazis to save Jewish lives, to the bitterness of a divorce settlement - all with the common thread of scrutinizing the seemingly impossible task of knowing when to engage and when to refuse (my...
This book is a lot of fun! It's quite ambitious, trying to be a number of things at the same time, and I think it largely succeeded. I expected a combination of philosophical treatise, a la Book of Job or Faustus, and negotiation handbook. Mnookin didn't disappoint on either front, although that's not ultimately what the book's about. It does raise, and sometimes answer, fascinating questions of moral and political philosophy, exploring whether negotiation ever degenerates into "pandering to evil" and the conflicting obligations of a leader to his constituents and his conscience (think Profiles in Courage). And while not a how-to negotiation guide, it provides a fascinating window into the work of a master negotiator, chronicling some of the author's most impressive interventions. Bargaining with the Devil also has a bit of a self-help flavor to it, laying out the many intellectual and psychological traps that thwart many of our efforts to negotiate thorny situations at...
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