Do you want to up your negotiation game to a new level?
Then check out my list of the best negotiation books you should read in 2023.
1. Negotiating Life: Secrets for Everyday Diplomacy and Deal Making
by Jeswald W. Salacuse
Negotiation is a way of life, not just a set of skills.
Should you always negotiate?
How do leadership and negotiating intersect?
As a CEO, do you have to ‘negotiate’ with employees, or just tell them what to do?
This book delves into these kinds of topics (which are often overlooked, but crucial).
"Negotiating Life” is rich in case studies that show how to apply techniques for:
- building trust
- overcoming biases
- ensuring implementation
- and even: renegotiating deals.
Because sometimes a deal isn’t done just because you’ve signed some papers.
So, get ready to dive into the real world of negotiating.
This book was not only a great read.
Every few weeks I pull it off the shelf to check something.
So, should you always negotiate?
Let’s reframe that question:
Do you think most people skillfully negotiate too often, or not often enough?
2. Entrepreneurial Negotiation: Understanding and Managing the Relationships That Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success
by Samuel Dinnar and Lawrence Susskind
Success in negotiation is not just about getting what you want, but about building and maintaining relationships that serve your long-term interests.
Why do so many startups fail?
One reason: negotiation mistakes.
Susskind and Dinnar clearly understand that struggle.
"Entrepreneurial Negotiation" helps founders with techniques and strategies that lead to success.
It talks about skills for building trust, creating shared value, and managing power imbalance.
It includes case studies related to the challenges startups face every day.
And lots of practical advice and exercises that help entrepreneurs build crucial negotiation skills.
I like that it goes beyond the emphasis on short-term goals and emphasises the importance of developing long-term relationships throughout a negotiation.
A must-read business negotiation book for entrepreneurs, founders and early-stage C-level execs.
3. Getting to Yes
by Roger Fisher and William Ury
If you want the other side to appreciate your interests, begin by demonstrating that you appreciate theirs.
"Getting to Yes" is a negotiator's classic.
It’s full of clear, simple wisdoms like “focus on interests, not positions,” and “separate the people from the problem.”
One thing that makes it stand out is the simple way it’s written:
In a clear, plain style that makes it accessible to anyone (not only experts).
Fisher and Ury developed a simple framework, the "principled negotiation" approach.
It helps us develop better options for mutual gain and includes advice for handling difficult situations and people.
Because it explains psychological effects of different negotiation styles, it also feels like a ‘look behind the curtain’ of top negotiators’ thinking.
4. Inked: The Ultimate Guide to Powerful Closing and Sales Negotiation Tactics that Unlock YES and Seal the Deal
by Jeb Blount
Closing is not about manipulating or pressuring the other person. It's about creating an environment where the other person wants to say yes.
INKED is a no-nonsense how-to guide for sales negotiations.
It’s a modern, focused, well-written step-by-step guide, easy to read.
Jeb Blount not only covers all the important points, he keeps coming back to one key finding:
Great negotiators have great emotional discipline.
We need it for overcoming objections and smart leverage.
Sometimes, you need it to shift the power balance.
Or just to calmly present a strong case.
Nothing comes as close to the quality of this book.
For closing deals, for anyone in B2B, this is the #1.
5. Better, Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness
by Max H. Bazerman
The pursuit of perfection is the enemy of progress.
We all have ideals we wanna live up to, but life gets in the way.
Reading this book helped me focus on making the best possible impact in a complex world.
I stopped striving for perfection.
And started taking a shot at key opportunities for making an impact.
"Better, Not Perfect" is about aiming for "good enough."
It’s a rare gem that takes look at negotiations in the broader context of decision-making and sustainability.
- Learn practical strategies and tools to overcome cognitive and social biases.
- Stop helplessly throwing up your hands.
- Make better decisions and achieve the most ethical and sustainable outcomes.
6. The First Move: A Negotiator’s Companion
by Alain Lempereur and Aurélien Colson
Negotiation is not just a conversation between two parties, but a dance in which both partners shape the rhythm and moves.
This is a real-world book focused on the grit and rawness of negotiations.
It’s filled with authors’ treasure-trove of first-hand experiences.
Lempereur and Colson guide us step by step through:
- how to identify your counterpart’s underlying needs and interests,
- how to set the tone, and
- how to create awesome, mutually beneficial proposals.
It shows that the key to successful negotiation is to make the first move with confidence, strategic thinking, and a clear understanding of the other party's perspective.
You can never read too many books on negotiation.
Make sure this is one of them.
7. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation
by Bob Burg
The ultimate goal of persuasion is not to make people comply with your ideas, but to have them genuinely adopt your ideas as their own.
When I have to tell myself, “patience, Ben,” I think of Bob Burg’s Art of Persuasion.
It helps me get back on track when I lose my way.
In a nutshell:
Burg is the ultimate gentleman negotiator.
He shows the value of better understanding your counterpart.
The value of being willing to take their view on things, for a bit.
Not agreeing, but a deep and empathic switch of perspective.
That’s the silver thread running through this book, and he links it all the way to the post-negotiating effects on implementation.
If you bullied someone into a deal they hated but had to accept, implementation will be hell.
But if you really persuaded someone, really got them enthusiastic about your collaboration, then implementation will be such breeze!
8. Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life
by Francesca Gino
Breaking the rules can lead to better outcomes, but only if it's done in the right way and for the right reasons.
Rebels are cool in Star Wars, but most department heads would rather do without.
No, says Francesca Gino.
She argues that people who challenge the status quo are what keeps a company alive.
So, we should all channel our inner rebel in a productive way.
And that’s not just light talk – “Rebel Talent” serves up research and real-world examples.
Plus, Gino finds the balance.
She critiques the potential downsides of rebellion and asks us to be thoughtful, not impulsive, rebels.
She creates an amazing blueprint for ‘rebel leadership.’
9. Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins into Big Gains
by Deborah M. Kolb and Jessica L. Porter
Negotiating is about creating value, not about winning or losing.
Kolb and Porter go right in at the deep end.
They don’t shy away from all the fun and fascinating dynamics of a workplace.
Rivalry and misunderstandings.
Great stories about female leaders bring it all to life.
Research shows that women who assert themselves face unique challenges, and this book addresses them without beating around the bush.
I love the the concept of "small wins" to build momentum.
(And to achieve significant gains in time.)
If you want to get ahead, and do it the smart way, this is for you.
10. 3D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals
by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
Successful negotiation requires the ability to see and shape the deal as a three-dimensional puzzle, with interlocking pieces that can be rearranged to create value.
Many have called this a must-read.
And I agree.
“3D” gives you what it promises, a "3D negotiation" approach.
It focuses on the three aspects of negotiation:
- and dialogue.
Practical tools and strategies for analyzing deals.
Designing effective negotiation strategies.
Managing the dialogue during the negotiation process.
The scenarios include joint ventures, M&A’s, and international negotiations.
And clearly written so beginners can understand it.
Though it’s not just “easy beginners” stuff.
Many experienced negotiators I know could benefit from it, too.
11. Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (Without Money or Muscle)
by Deepak Malhotra
When faced with a seemingly impossible negotiation, the best strategy is often to rethink the problem itself.
If you think it’s impossible, why are you negotiating?
Maybe, like me, you’re stubborn.
Forget giving up – there’s gotta be a way. And there is.
"Negotiating the Impossible" is one of the best works ever on how to handle situations where traditional negotiation methods fail.
Malhotra focuses on three levers:
If you’re involved in difficult, high-stakes negotiations, and want to find out how framing, process and empathy outperform power plays, money, and muscle every time, this book is for you.