In a survey from the Robert Half staffing agency, only 39 percent of employees want to negotiate their proposed pay when offered a job. Does that mean we don’t all want more money for the work we do?
Absolutely not. More likely, it means the majority of people either don’t think they are capable of negotiating for more, are afraid to try, or don’t even realize that they can.
That is not to say that you always need to negotiate with every job offer that comes your way in life. However, most people would benefit from increasing their bargaining skills.
This fact rings even more true when you realize that you negotiate in almost all areas of your life. We bargain with our kids, with our spouses, at work, and in making decisions with family and friends.
Most people overlook negotiation skills outside of the business world. That’s why I compiled a list of some of the best books on negotiation, so you can hone this ability whether you run a company or are a stay-at-home parent.
1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It By Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
I can’t recommend this book enough. From the FBI’s former lead international kidnapping negotiator, learn how the same skills used to save lives can help you in your job, your relationship, and your family. I like this book because of the real-life accounts from Voss’s notable career, both successes and failures.
This book is exceptional in that it combines logical negotiation tactics with the undeniable fact that emotions play a role in mediations, whether we want to admit it or not. Find it on Amazon.
2. Negotiate It! How to Crush Your Fears, Develop Your Negotiation Muscle, and Gain Power in the Workplace By Lynn Price
This book is fantastic for those just starting their journey in finding their voice. If you want to learn to negotiate but have never taken a class on it or lack confidence, this is the book for you.
For individuals who have studied negotiation for a long time, this book will probably feel a bit elementary. However, for those needing that first step into the world of asking for what they want, I love this resource. Find it on Amazon.
3. Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills By George J. Siedel
If you’re the type who likes a practical guide with checklists and planning tools, this is a book to check out. University of Michigan professor George J. Siedel provides tactical information, future negotiation planning implementations, exercises to understand your negotiation style, and guidelines to proceed ethically.
This book also covers psychological tools you can use, contract law fundamentals, and negotiation in daily life at home or work. Particularly organized personalities will likely love this book on negation. Find it on Amazon.
4. Crisis Negotiations: Managing Critical Incidents and Hostage Situations in Law Enforcement and Corrections By Michael J. McMains and Wayman C. Mullins
Students in corrections, law enforcement, and crisis management might use this as a textbook. Still, you can also apply the incredible information in your life, whether at work or in relationships. Some people may prefer to read this cover to cover, while others might touch on specific chapters.
Regardless, this text has convenient bullet points for quick reference. It also covers how to negotiate situations from family violence and suicide crisis lines to workplace aggression and hostage survival. If you can handle absorbing that information, you can probably tackle asking for a raise at work. Find it on Amazon.
5. Negotiation Genius By Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman
If the whole idea of negotiating makes you feel like you have to put on a façade or play hardball, this is a book to consider. Two leading Harvard Business School professors wrote this book to show you negotiation from well beyond a commanding role.
This book feels ethical about mediation and compromise. It covers negotiating when you think you’re in the weaker position, knowing when to walk away, and noticing the times you could ask for more when many people fail to see it. Find it on Amazon.
6. Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins into Big Gains By Deborah M. Kolb
One of the primary elements I like most about this book is that it takes into context our world, the present era, and the various roles people have when negotiating.
It’s simple to tell someone to be confident, have a bold posture, and ask for what they want. However, when you’re in a less-dominant role at work, and society operates under specific parameters, it’s not always that simple.
This book considers the actual value of deliverables, as opposed to simple roles or seniority. For anyone who feels they may be going up against a superior, this is a book to consider. Find it on Amazon.
7. Negotiation (Harvard Business Essentials Series) By Michael Wheeler
Harvard is a word-class school for business and on subjects like workplace negotiation. Michael Wheeler from the Harvard Business School program on negotiation wrote this relatively brief guide for those who are too busy to study several hundred pages of text.
This book breaks down the key concepts taught in Harvard’s negotiation courses for management. I like this guide because it’s straightforward, easy to read, and gets to the point to help you immediately improve your negotiations. Find it on Amazon.
8. The Art of Persuasion: Winning Without Intimidation By Bob Burg
If at first, you’re wondering why a book on persuasion is on this list, consider this: the more you can persuade someone into your way of thinking, the easier it is to get what you want. This book does cover negotiation, as well.
If you’re looking to take your bargaining skills to the next level, or if you know you aren’t necessarily the boldest presence in the room, take a look at this one. It’s fantastic for those who want techniques to work with a less outgoing or daring personality but still want leverage in negotiating. Find it on Amazon.
9. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In By Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, and Bruce Patton
This book is somewhat famous among those who read up on negotiation skills. For over three decades, Get to Yes has been a guidebook for several business school courses and business training. A more modern, revised edition came out in 2011, and the skills in this book still ring true.
I like this text because it’s well-written, covers ethical negotiating, and touches on bargaining with others without falling into the trap of anger. If you can only own a few books on negotiating, this should be one of them. Find it on Amazon.
10. Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything By Alexandra Carter
This guide is one of my favorites on negotiation, even among this list of outstanding options. When many people think of striking deals with others, they think of toughness, the loudest voice, or the most masculine energy. Ask for More brings a more innovative approach to compromises and concessions.
I like that this book goes beyond the “yes” you’re aiming for and distills the deeper level of communication when negotiating for what you want. Find it on Amazon.
It doesn’t matter what you do in life, whether you’re a CEO, work in construction, or stay at home with kids. We all need skills to ask for what we want and bargain with others. Unless you’ve studied negotiation for decades, there is probably still a lot to learn to get what you want in life.If I had to pick my absolute favorites from this list (and I recommend them all), it would be Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything and Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It. You can’t go wrong with these guides, and I think they’re helpful for both beginners and those who have worked on negotiating with others for a few years.