11 Best Negotiation Books to Read in 2021

Home » Books » Negotiation BooksUpdated: November 23, 2021

You found our list of top negotiation books.

Negotiation books are guides that teach compromise and persuasion skills. These works cover topics such as empathizing with the opponent, appealing to the other party’s interests, and regulating emotions. The purpose of these books is to help negotiations go more smoothly and help professionals achieve more favorable deals.

These works are a subset of business books and sales books and are similar to conflict resolution books.

This list contains:

  • business negotiation books
  • negotiation techniques books
  • negotiation skills books
  • negotiation strategy books

Here we go!

List of negotiation books

From classics to new releases, here is a list of books about negotiation to improve powers of persuasion.

1. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton

getting to yes cover

Getting to Yes is a guide to compromising without over-compromising. The book shows professionals how to broker deals without giving away too much ground. The authors draw on data from the Harvard Negotiation Project to prescribe best practices for reaching agreements. Readers can learn how to overcome hurdles such as power disadvantages, hard bargainers, and cheaters. The book offers nuggets of wisdom such as “separate the people from the problem,” and “focus on interests, not positions.” Using tested, science-backed methods, Getting to Yes offers a masterclass in effective persuasion. This book is often regarded as a classic, and is a must-read for any deal-maker.

Notable Quote: “People listen better if they feel that you have understood them. They tend to think that those who understand them are intelligent and sympathetic people whose own opinions may be worth listening to. So if you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs.”

Read Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.

2. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Never Split the Difference

Never Split the Difference is one of the greatest negotiation techniques books. This book was written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, and reveals the methods used by agents during standoffs. The authors explore these tactics in depth and suggest ways that professionals can apply these approaches to typical business situations or personal interactions. For example, establishing a baseline level of trust, using tactical empathy, leveraging the power of questions, and getting the opponent’s consent to persuade. The book presents high-stakes strategies that can get noticeable, realtime results in much lower-stakes situations. Never Split the Difference is highly specific in its instructions and gives readers actionable tips to use while negotiating.

Notable Quote: “He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

Read Never Split the Difference. 

3. Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything by Alexandra Carter

asking for more cover

Ask for More is a crash course in masterful mediation. As the title suggests, the book identifies ten types of questions that can help negotiators gain buy-in and reach favorable agreements. Alexandra Carter draws on her expertise as a Columbia law professor and career negotiator, and also brings in anecdotes and case studies to illustrate the recommended methods. The book shows readers how to identify the central problem and contributing factors, pinpoint needs and interests, read emotions and reactions, and direct discussions in a way that inspires openness and willingness to listen. Ask for More takes a two-pronged approach that encourages negotiators to know and manage themselves as well as the other party.

Notable Quote: “It’s true that most people in negotiation don’t ask enough questions. But even when they do, their questions tend to move them further away, not closer to their goal.”

Read Ask for More.

4. Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations by William Ury

Getting past no cover

Getting Past No is one of the most helpful negotiation skills books. The guide shows readers how to face rejection and talk through hesitancy or outright opposition. William Ury is a co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and has authored many bestselling books in the genre. In this book, he teaches readers how to transform combatants into collaborators. The text gives advice on staying calm in the midst of disagreement, diffusing tension and de-escalating anger, reframing rejected points, and educating the opponent. Getting Past No works backwards from the worst-case scenario and shows negotiators how to turn obstacles into wins.

Notable Quote: “You need to suspend your reaction when you feel like striking back, to listen when you feel like talking back, to ask questions when you feel like telling your opponent the answers, to bridge your differences when you feel like pushing for your way, and to educate when you feel like escalating.”

Read Getting Past No.

5. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Negotiation: HBR’s 10 Must Reads Series by Harvard Business Review

hbr 10 must reads on negotiation cover

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Negotiation is an anthology from the Harvard Business Review that gathers the best essays ever published in the magazine on the topic of negotiating. Contents include works like “Breakthrough Bargaining,” “How to Make the Other Side Play Fair,” “When to Walk Away from a Deal,” and “Control the Negotiation Before it Begins.” The authors and subjects of these essays are from various industries, and the book contains advice on negotiating in a variety of circumstances including job interviews, international deals, and high-stakes situations. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Negotiation provides a strong overview of the subject and gives readers a firm foundation of baseline knowledge to build upon.

Notable Quote: “In any negotiation, each side ultimately must choose between two options: accepting a deal or taking its best no-deal option– that is, the course of action it would take if the deal were not possible. As a negotiator, you seek to advance the full set of your interests by persuading the other side to say yes– and mean it– to a proposal that meets your interests better than your best no-deal option does.”

Read HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Negotiation.

6. Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts by Daniel Shapiro

Negotiating the Negotiable cover

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable is one of the most helpful books on negotiation and conflict resolution. The book presents tactics for finding common ground and compromise in high-pressure, fraught situations. The author points out common roadblocks to peaceful negotiations and helps participants become more mindful of automatic responses to conflict. The book relays strategies for remaining composed, overcoming offense, avoiding low-blows and identity attacks, and respecting the other party’s values despite disagreement. Negotiating the Nonnegotiable explains the common reasons arguments get heated and how participants can avoid falling into the trap of letting emotions dominate the discussion. The book shows readers how to talk about sensitive subjects in a productive manner and find mutual understanding amongst opposing viewpoints.

Notable Quote: “You cannot resolve such conflicts unless you address them at the root– which stretches beneath rationality, beneath even emotions, to the heart of who you are: your identity.”

Read Negotiating the Nonnegotiable.

7. Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People by G. Richard Shell

Bargaining for advantage cover

Bargaining for Advantage is one of the top negotiation strategy books. This guide lays out best practices for conducting negotiations and shows participants how to maintain control over the proceedings. The book offers helpful tools such as a “Negotiation IQ” test that pinpoints strengths and areas in need of improvement, a bargaining style assessment and tips on finding your negotiation style, and the six foundations of successful negotiation. The second section takes readers through each stage of the negotiation process and gives tips on dealing with possible turns and developments. The author also gives insights into elements such as cultural differences’ effect on conversations and methods for conducting virtual negotiations. Bargaining for Advantage is a handbook for staying in control of the dialogue and advocating for your best interests effectively.

Notable Quote: “First, all deals that close are win-win deals. The two sides would not agree to a proposal unless they thought agreement was better for them than no deal.”

Read Bargaining for Advantage.

8. Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman

Negotiation genius cover

Negotiation Genius is one of the best negotiation skills books. This guide teaches readers techniques for overcoming common bargaining obstacles such as stubborn discussion partners, irrational or egotistical opponents, intimidation and aggressive tactics, or efforts to hide facts. The book explores the psychology that drives compromise and gives concrete examples of negotiation in practice in the real world. The authors are professors of the Harvard Business School and tap into this expertise to offer relevant case studies and insights. Negotiation Genius is a deep dive into the world of making agreements and offers a handy toolkit for carrying out negotiations with skill and tact.

Notable Quote: “Wise negotiators create a comprehensive list of what they are assuming and what they do not know prior to negotiation.”

Read Negotiation Genius.

9. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills by George J. Siedel

Negotiating for success cover

Negotiating for Success is a persuasion playbook. The book presents methods and techniques for getting the other party onboard and achieving a favorable compromise. This guide includes tools such as a decision tree for finding alternative outcomes, psychological hacks for earning trust and consideration, ethical guidelines and standards, defenses against underhanded approaches, and metrics to assess possible solutions. Negotiating for Success is a comprehensive resource that covers the full scope of the subject and gives readers practical means of putting these methods into practice.

Notable Quote: “We bring this sense of competition into negotiations by assuming that they are competitions for slices in a fixed pie in which one side wins and the other side loses. As Bazerman and Moore note, the fixed pie assumption is a fundamental bias that distorts negotiators’ behavior.”

Read Negotiating for Success.

10. INKED: The Ultimate Guide to Powerful Closing and Sales Negotiation Tactics that Unlock YES and Seal the Deal by Jeb Blount

INKED cover

INKED is a how-to guide for sales negotiations. Jeb Blount identifies common mistakes salespeople make when trying to compromise with clients and outlines strategies to closing better deals. The book insists that the key to negotiating in sales settings is emotional discipline, and gives rules and a framework for arranging agreements. Chapters touch on topics such as presenting the strongest possible case, overcoming objections, establishing a power position, and using various forms of leverage. INKED presents an arsenal of techniques sales professionals can draw upon to guide and prevail in industry negotiations.

Notable Quote: “Effective negotiating begins and ends with emotional discipline….Fear, insecurity, anger, attachment, eagerness, desperation, and more all conspire to undermine the salesperson’s ability to think clearly and maintain their cool.”

Read INKED and check out more sales books.

11. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation by Bob Burg

The art of persuasion cover

Many business negotiation books stress gaining the upper hand and getting the better deal. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation is a guide to making deals without strong-arming the other party. Bob Burg explains ways to negotiate in a manner that benefits both sides and makes opponents feel comfortable and satisfied with the agreed-upon terms. The guide suggests ways to make others feel important and how to approach difficult people. The book includes stories and examples that show these theories in practice. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation treats negotiation as an art that requires empathy, subtlety, and skill, and outlines techniques that help aspiring practitioners master the craft.

Notable Quote: “If, in the process of persuading a person to your side of an issue, they feel as good about it as you do, then you have not bullied, coerced or manipulated. You see, genuine winners are those people who can get what they want from from others in such a way that’s of genuine and lasting benefit to everyone involved.”

Read The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation.

Final Thoughts

Negotiation involves skill and technique. While some people naturally excel at the art, others could benefit from further explanation and coaching. However, even the most persuasive people may need backup in some situations, and books on negotiation can help. These guides teach readers how to empathize with the opponent, present the case in a persuasive manner, preserve relationships, and reach a compromise that benefits both parties. These books are full of observations, tips, strategies, and skill-building advice that can make negotiators more confident, capable, and successful.

For more reading, check out these books on organizational behavior and these advertising books.

FAQ: Negotiation books

Here are common questions about negotiation books. 

What are negotiation books?

Negotiation books are guides to persuading other professionals to agree on an idea or a compromise. These books teach readers the strategies and skills needed to sway stakeholders and make deals.

What are some good negotiation books for beginners?

Some good negotiation books for beginners include Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton, Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills by George J. Seidel, and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Negotiation.

What books help to improve negotiation skills?

Books that help to improve negotiation skills include Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz, Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell, and Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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