A clear-headed, creative approach to negotiation that is on a par with the canonical texts Getting to Yes and You Can Negotiate Anything…Wheeler’s lucid, engaging voice is a major asset, and sample scripts help drive home his points. Publishers Weekly

Michael Wheeler has written a new business classic. He presents powerful negotiation strategies and techniques for managers in any industry. Henry McGee, former president, HBO Home Entertainment

 Wheeler offers a dynamic approach….A fresh approach offering new ways to improve negotiating skills. Kirkus

Negotiation is not a linear endeavor. It’s full of twists and turns and requires managing relationships, data, intuition, and alternatives in a way that increases the probability of a good outcome. Wheeler knows this subject as well as anyone and shows us how the best negotiators are like great scouts; constantly probing and challenging assumptions to find the value that is beneath the surface. Ben Cherington, General Manager of the Red Sox

 Whether to build partnerships or to overcome differences, the art of negotiation is crucial to today’s nonprofit organizations. Michael Wheeler’s book is an eye-opening guide, replete with data, metaphors and compelling stories, on how to negotiate creatively, imaginatively and effectively. Peter D. Bell, President Emeritus of CARE

Book DescriptionTable of ContentsDownloadsMore PraiseAbout the Author

Diagrams_Friend or foe

A member of the world renowned Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School introduces the powerful next-generation approach to negotiation.

For many years, two approaches to negotiation have prevailed: the ‘win-win’ method exemplified in Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton; and the hard-bargaining style of Herb Cohen’s You Can Negotiate Anything. Now award-winning Harvard Business School Professor Michael Wheeler provides a dynamic alternative to one-size-fits-all strategies that don’t match real world realities.

The Art of Negotiation shows how master negotiators thrive in the face of chaos and uncertainty. They don’t trap themselves with rigid plans. Instead they understand negotiation as a process of exploration that demands on-going learning, adapting, and influencing. Their agility enables them to reach agreement when others would be stalemated.

Michael Wheeler illuminates the improvisational nature of negotiation, drawing on his own research and his work with Program on Negotiation colleagues. He explains how the best practices of diplomats such as George Mitchell, deal-maker Bruce Wasserstein, and Hollywood producer Gerry Weintraub apply to everyday transactions like selling a house, buying a car, or landing a new contract. Wheeler also draws lessons on agility and creativity from fields like jazz, sports, theater, and even military science.

The Art of Negotiation includes preparation tools for setting stretch goals in negotiation, as well establishing when walking away from a deal is better than saying yes. The book also lays out nine principles for crafting resilient strategy, and techniques for maintaining emotional poise in tense situations. Effective negotiators are both calm and alert, patient and proactive.

Wheeler provides a comprehensive view of negotiation, from openings to closings, including critical moments along the way. For experienced practitioners, The Art of Negotiation provides a new and powerful way to analyze and manage the process. For students and others new to negotiation, it offers a clear path for building success and confidence in this all-important arena.

PART ONE: A Sense of Direction

1. Embracing Chaos
2. A Map of the Pyrenees
3. Prospecting
4. Plan B

PART TWO: Improvising

5. Presence of Mind
6. The Swing of Things
7. Situational Awareness

PART THREE: Managing the Process

8. Openings
9. Critical Moments
10. Closing

PART FOUR: Mastery

11. Silk Purses
12. Wicked Learning
13. Fair Enough

Appendix: Twenty-five Reasons to Embrace Chaos



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Professor Wheeler creatively pulls from vastly different professions such as NASCAR drivers, jazz musicians and improv actors, expanding our awareness of negotiations and equipping us with practical, innovative tools to navigate complex negotiations. Erin Egan, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft

Don’t miss! BizEd

The secret to successful negotiation is not just preparation and a good plan, but inspired improvisation. Until now, there has never been a book on this all-important and neglected aspect of negotiation but now, thanks to Mike Wheeler, we have a beautifully written, insightful and practical guide to the jazz of negotiation. The Art of Negotiation is a real gem and an essential contribution to the literature! William Ury, author, Getting Past No and The Power of a Positive No

In the recently published book, The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World, Professor Michael Wheeler of Harvard Business School likens the skill of good negotiators to that of jazz musicians or comedians who improvise. Artists such as these know how to read each other’s moods, respond creatively to unexpected twists and turns and run with a theme. Financial Times

Getting to Yes meets ‘Round Midnight’ in this highly readable exploration of the twists and turns of real world negotiations. In his new book, Michael Wheeler provides terrific practical guidance on dealing with the predictably unpredictable ways negotiations fail to stay on script. Chris Nicastro, Vice President and General Counsel, Bridgestone Americas

The book is a good basic guide to making the best of a negotiation. Booklist

This brilliantly readable book is packed with powerful advice for managing the complexity and uncertainty of real-world negotiations with improvisational mastery. Bruce Patton, coauthor of Getting to Yes and Difficult Conversations

Award-winning Harvard Business School Professor Michael Wheeler has taught negotiation to thousands of MBA students, executives, managers, and public officials from companies and organizations around the world. Wheeler is editor of the Negotiation Journal, published by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and co-chairs the board of the non-profit Consensus Building Institute. He lives in historic Gloucester, Massachusetts, his hometown. Read more about Michael Wheeler’s work and teaching >