Review of Best-Selling Negotiation Text

This seems like an appropriate time to review that best-selling negotiation guide written in the 1980s.

I refer, of course, to The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump.  (What – you were expecting Getting to Yes?)

The leading presidential candidates from both major political parties have a lot of professional negotiation experience and are accomplished authors – perhaps just like you and me.  Mr. Trump has a lot of experience in business negotiation and Ms. Clinton is very experienced in political and diplomatic negotiation.

Anticipating that one of these candidates may become president, it behooves us as dispute resolution academics and practitioners to learn more about their approaches so that we can incorporate them into our scholarship, teaching, and practice.

I will start with Mr. Trump’s opus.   He modestly notes that it is his second-favorite book, following the Bible.

Like many of our students, I feel that it is too much of a burden to actually read the book, but I did spend a little time tooling around the internet, which is the basis of this book report.

Apparently, the heart of his advice is based on the following 11 “winning negotiation tactics”:

  1. Think Big
  2. Protect the Downside and the Upside Will Take Care of Itself
  3. Maximize the Options
  4. Know Your Market
  5. Use Your Leverage
  6. Enhance Your Location
  7. Get the Word Out
  8. Fight Back
  9. Deliver the Goods
  10. Contain the Costs
  11. Have Fun

This advice actually is consistent with much of the boring stuff we teach.  For example, Mr. Trump’s advice about fighting back is a more exciting way to describe the tit-for-tat strategy:  “In most cases I’m very easy to get along with.  I’m very good to people who are good to me.  But when people treat me badly or unfairly or try to take advantage of me, my general attitude, all my life, has been to fight back very hard.”  Even a casual observer of the election campaign can see that he practices what he preaches.

If Mr. Trump is elected president, in our courses, we will undoubtedly replace Getting to Yes with Art of the Deal.  I mean, Fisher and Ury were a bunch of losers – how many billion dollars were they worth?

Many of us teach advanced courses in negotiation and fortunately, Mr. Trump has written a whole library of additional texts we can use in our courses:

  • Time To Get Tough
  • The Art of the Comeback
  • The America We Deserve
  • The Way to the Top
  • How to Get Rich
  • Think Like a Billionaire
  • The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received
  • Why We Want You To Be Rich
  • The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received
  • Think Big and Kick Ass
  • Never Give Up
  • Think Like a Champion
  • Midas Touch

For those interested in gender issues, you can use the book by his daughter, Ivanka Trump:  The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life.

That’s all I feel like writing right now.  I gotta check my Facebook page.  I mean, I have only so much time and I gotta keep my priorities straight.

Maybe I will read Ms. Clinton’s books – though only if I think it will be on the exam.

3 thoughts on “Review of Best-Selling Negotiation Text”

  1. This article suggests that Russian intelligence plays tit-for-tat too.

    It discusses the possibility that Russian intelligence officials hacked the Democratic National Committee and arranged for the recent release of emails in retaliation for release of the “Panama Papers,” which embarrassed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The article quotes an American analyst as saying that one “possibility is that this is part of an information warfare campaign that involves the release of compromising materials, or what in Russian is called komprmat. ‘You release dirt on me. I release dirt on you.’”

    This is a multi-party “game,” if you would call it that. The article cites experts suggesting that the part of the Russians’ motivations are to help Donald Trump by hurting Hillary Clinton (though some experts are skeptical of this explanation).

    “If the accusation is true, it would be the first time the Russians have actively tried to influence an election in this manner, analysts said.”

  2. This week, a federal court unsealed some documents in a suit alleging fraud by Trump University. Mr. Donald J. Trump resisted the disclosure, arguing that it reveal trade secrets.

    Now we know why Mr. Trump, the namesake of a (once) prestigious institution of higher learning and a self-professed master negotiator, wanted to keep this valuable information to himself. But now we all can benefit from his wisdom.

    The documents reveal excellent tips like maintaining good rapport with the students, determining how much education they can afford, and absolutely keeping the temperature at 68 degrees. Mr. Trump obviously cared deeply about the welfare of his students.

    So when teaching your classes, you can follow his lead and keep the temperature at 68.

    Just remember to bring a sweater.

    And more on Mr. Trump’s skill as a negotiator. USA Today found that he was involved in at least 3500 legal actions over the past three decades. “As he campaigns, Trump often touts his skills as a negotiator. The analysis shows that lawsuits are one of his primary negotiating tools.”

    He has so much to teach our students.

  3. In this post, based on bits I picked up on the internet, I summarized Donald J. Trump’s views on negotiation from his treatise, The Art of the Deal. Like many students, I didn’t want to bother myself to actually read the book. Fortunately, some brown-nose reporter “binged” on reading eight of Mr. Trump’s books, so I will copy off of him.

    I saved a lot of time because this article simply reinforces my previous description of his wisdom and techniques as a negotiator.

    For example, Mr. Trump advocates “the power of psychology and deception — he calls it ‘bravado’ or ‘truthful hyperbole.’ . . . ‘I play to people’s fantasies,’ Trump explains. ‘. . . It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.’” An astute philosopher, he notes that “perception is reality.”

    He believes in the power of relationships. In his case, he is particularly enamored with buildings.

    “My relationship with 40 Wall Street began as a young man,” he writes in “The Art of the Comeback,” published in 1997. “From the moment I laid eyes on it, I was mesmerized by its beauty and its splendor.” Or, referring to his 110,000-square-foot private club in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump writes: “My love affair with Mar-a-Lago began in 1985.” Or, of one of his longest-standing properties: “Trump Tower, like a good friend, was there when I needed it.”

    He has a more mixed assessment of women, reflecting the importance of gender issues. “There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed,” he confides. “They are far worse than men, far more aggressive, and boy, can they be smart!” (A long NYT article indicates that this is an accurate description of his perspective.)

    Mr. Trump really gets that you can be a big loser if you are too respectful to your counterpart. “Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.”

    Ultimately, tit-for-tat seems to be the heart of his worldview. “If someone screws you,” he writes, “screw them back.” You can’t get pithier than that.

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