Book Review: Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
by Roger Fisher and William Ury
Penguin, 1981

This might be the oldest book that I’ve reviewed here on the blog–the original edition published in 1981. Yes. Thirty years ago. But this one truly is a classic. Remember that I come from the conflict resolution field. I got my master’s degree nearly twenty years ago, so I have done a LOT of reading and thinking in the conflict resolution field. And sometimes I forget that not everyone else has done the same.

So I am usually surprised by how “new” some of the ideas in Getting to Yes seem to a lot of people. Like the idea that it is revolutionary to stop arguing about “positions” in a conflict (I want the window open…no I want it closed) and instead focus the conversation more on the underlying interests (I want some fresh air…okay, but I don’t want a draft), because that leads to the classic win-win solution (open a window in another room). This stuff is second nature to me, but I get that a lot of people need to be reminded.

So pick up this book and read it. It’s short and an easy read and it will give you some real basic foundations for having better conflict conversations.