Others in his field assume that most people in a negotiation are rational. Not so, says Diamond. People in the real world—whether friends, store clerks or CEOs—tend to be emotional and irrational in their interactions. Since the 'people' involved make up 90 percent of a negotiation (substance accounts for only 10 percent), you must negotiate based on your understanding of "the pictures in the head of the other party"—a phrase Diamond frequently uses to underscore that psychology trumps the issues at the bargaining table.
Successful negotiators must prepare, learn what makes others tick (through research and small talk), take small steps, communicate clearly, turn problems into opportunities, avoid deceit and embrace differences. Above all, writes the author, they must stay focused on specific goals and connect with the other party. Many of Diamond's suggestions are counterintuitive...This immensely useful book will have wide appeal and leave many readers anxious to put their new skills to work.