Finding the Best Negotiation Book of All Time

In this article, we evaluate the book "Getting to Yes" and "Influence" based on 3 criteria and we will show you which is the best negotiation book of all time.

What is the best negotiation book?

In our opinion, there are 2 major negotiation strategies, namely, law school approach and psychological school approach. Both approaches are equally valid and accepted by business professionals and academics to improve negotiation skills.

In this article, we will talk about 2 books for negotiation and persuasion from 2 different perspectives as below,

This book is the result of research and study by the Harvard Negotiation Project under Harvard Law School (not Harvard Business School.) "BATNA" (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement aka Best Case Scenario) and "WATNA" (Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement aka Worst Case Scenario) are the examples of theories from this school of thought. BATNA has been used in many real world business negotiations by many power negotiators.

This is the book that represents a psychological school of thought in negotiation. Cialdini is the Professor of Psychology and negotiation theories from this book was drawn from many research studies in psychology, marketing, and social science. "Generalization" is an example of a theory which explains that people tend to use the experience to respond to similar situations. So you can predict the future course of actions by looking at past actions. In short, you really need to read this book for you want to negotiate to succeed.

The Ranking of Negotiation Book

Both books are 2 of the top of the book lists and we really think they complement each other very well. What if we can have the only one book to read? To compare both books to find the best book for beginners, we will use 6 performance criteria under 3 categories as below,

- Book Performance: this is the same as an article-level metric. Here we try to determine how useful both books are by checking "Citation Count" and "Endorsement."

Citation Count is how many times each book is cited by other books (the higher citation count the better.)

Endorsement, in this case, is how many times each book gets reviewed or endorsed by notable people before and after publishing. We track endorsement as they are mentioned inside the book and on other notable blogs and websites.

- Sales Performance: two metrics are used to judge the sales performance of both books, namely, "Amazon Sales Rank" and "Best Seller Award."

Amazon Sales Rank compares the books based on sales volume. Please note that Amazon Sales Rank changes hourly. However, we find that the sales rank of each book is relatively stable.

Best Seller Awards are usually given by leading news outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or Business Week.

- Author Performance: we use Amazon Author Rank and H-Index to judge the influence of authors of both books.

Amazon Author Rank compares the authors of the books on platform based on overall sales volume. Also, please note that Amazon Author Rank can change daily but we also find that the rank of both books is relatively stable.

H-Index considers how many books (from the same author) are cited and how many times each book is cited by other publications.

The best books negotiation and persuasion will be chosen based on overall performance across 6 metrics.

And the Best Negotiation Book of All Time goes to:

You may find that there are other good books related to negotiation and persuasion not mentioned here. These books are about negotiation in a specific situation such as sales negotiation, cold calling, salary negotiation, international negotiation, hostage negotiations and dispute resolution in the military context. The reason we don't pick these books to compare is that they are not universally applicable to the majority of our readers.

Do you like this negotiation book and why?

- Simintiras, A. C., & Thomas, A. H. (1998). Cross-cultural sales negotiations: A literature review and research propositions. International Marketing Review, 15(1), 10-28.
About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of SupplyChainOpz. He holds an M.Sc. in Logistics Management with 10+ years of experience in various functions in supply chain magement. In his free time, he enjoys reading business and management books. You can connect with him via Twitter, and Quora or drop him a line via e-mail.