Getting Past No by Roger Fisher
  • Title: Getting Past No
  • Subtitle: Negotiating With Difficult People
  • Author(s): Roger Fisher, William Ury
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Year: 2014-04-30
  • ISBN-10: 1473505712
  • ISBN-13: 9781473505711


“Getting Past No” by William Ury is a powerful guide that equips readers with effective negotiation strategies and techniques to overcome resistance and reach mutually beneficial agreements. Ury, a renowned negotiation expert, builds upon his previous work in “Getting to Yes” by providing insights on tackling difficult negotiators and handling challenging situations. In this book, he introduces the concept of “negotiation jujitsu,” which involves turning confrontation into cooperation and using the strength of the opposition to reach a positive outcome. Ury’s practical methods, illustrated with real-life examples, help readers defuse conflicts, manage emotions, and find common ground when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in negotiations.

Through a step-by-step approach, Ury outlines a five-step strategy for negotiation that focuses on managing emotions, effectively communicating, and addressing the core concerns of all parties involved. He emphasizes the importance of active listening, asking open-ended questions, and reframing issues to transform potential deadlocks into opportunities for collaboration. Ury also delves into various tactics to break through resistance, such as offering alternatives, finding a third-party referee, and using creative problem-solving techniques. With comprehensive advice and practical tools, “Getting Past No” guides readers towards resolving conflicts, building rapport, and fostering constructive relationships to achieve successful negotiations in both personal and professional contexts.

Book Review

In “Getting Past No,” renowned negotiation expert William Ury provides a valuable roadmap for navigating difficult negotiations and reaching mutually beneficial agreements. Building on his classic work, “Getting to Yes,” Ury provides readers with a comprehensive set of strategies and techniques to overcome resistance and deadlock, transforming conflict into cooperation.

One of the core concepts introduced by Ury in the book is the principle of “negotiation jujitsu.” This approach involves redirecting the negative energy of a confrontational situation into constructive dialogue. Ury explains that rather than meeting resistance head-on, it is more effective to step back and understand the underlying concerns of the other party. By showing empathy and acknowledging their perspective, negotiators can defuse tension and create an environment conducive to cooperation.

To illustrate this concept, Ury shares a story of a negotiation between a homeowner and a contractor. The homeowner, frustrated with the quality of the contractor’s work, initially approached the negotiation with anger and blame. However, by using negotiation jujitsu, the homeowner shifted the tone of the conversation by expressing a genuine interest in understanding the contractor’s perspective and finding a mutually agreeable solution. This shift in attitude helped rebuild trust and led to a positive outcome for both parties.

Throughout the book, Ury breaks down the negotiation process into five distinct steps. Each step is explained in detail and accompanied by practical techniques and examples. One particularly useful technique highlighted by Ury is the art of active listening. He emphasizes the importance of truly understanding the other party’s point of view before attempting to find common ground. By paraphrasing and summarizing the other person’s concerns, negotiators can demonstrate their willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue and build trust.

Ury also provides guidance on dealing with difficult negotiators who employ aggressive tactics such as threats and demands. He advocates for remaining calm, reframing the issues, and finding creative solutions that address the core concerns of both parties. One notable example in the book involves a negotiation between labor unions and management during a strike. Ury recounts how the mediator facilitated a breakthrough by reframing the negotiation from a competitive battle to a collaborative problem-solving exercise. By focusing on shared goals and finding creative options, the parties were able to reach an agreement that satisfied both sides.

“Getting Past No” is filled with insightful and actionable advice, making it a valuable resource for anyone involved in negotiations. Ury’s emphasis on empathy, active listening, and problem-solving provides readers with a practical framework for diffusing conflicts and fostering productive relationships. By sharing real-life examples and case studies, Ury illustrates the effectiveness of his strategies and reinforces their applicability across various contexts.

In conclusion, “Getting Past No” equips readers with the tools they need to effectively handle difficult negotiations and navigate resistance. Ury’s expert guidance empowers negotiators to maintain composure, build rapport, and find common ground even in the most challenging situations. With its clear and well-structured approach, this book serves as a must-read for anyone seeking to improve their negotiation skills and achieve successful outcomes.

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Target Audience

The book “Getting Past No” by William Ury is targeted at a diverse audience interested in negotiation and conflict resolution. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Business Professionals The book offers practical strategies and techniques that can be applied in various professional contexts, from sales and contract negotiations to team collaborations and dispute resolutions. Business professionals seeking to improve their negotiation skills and enhance their ability to reach win-win outcomes will find “Getting Past No” invaluable.

  • Mediators and Negotiators Mediators, arbitrators, and negotiators who work in conflict resolution or deal with challenging negotiations will benefit greatly from Ury’s insights. His techniques, such as negotiation jujitsu and active listening, provide concrete methods for overcoming resistance and facilitating productive dialogue between conflicting parties.

  • HR and Legal Professionals Professionals in human resources and legal fields will find “Getting Past No” to be an essential resource. The book offers guidance on managing difficult individuals, handling emotional conflicts, and finding creative solutions during negotiation processes. HR professionals dealing with workplace disputes or legal professionals involved in settlement negotiations will gain valuable knowledge from this book.

  • Individuals in Personal Relationships The principles and techniques explored in “Getting Past No” are applicable not only in professional settings but also in personal relationships. People dealing with conflicts in their personal lives, whether it be with family members, friends, or romantic partners, can benefit from Ury’s strategies to foster effective communication and resolve disputes.

In conclusion, “Getting Past No” is recommended reading for business professionals, mediators, HR and legal professionals, as well as individuals seeking to improve their negotiation and conflict resolution skills. The book’s practical guidance and real-life examples make it accessible and applicable to a wide range of readers, providing valuable insights into navigating difficult negotiations and fostering collaboration.