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Reader’s Review, February 2014

By John D. Baker

Negotiating Success

By Jim Hornickel
258pp. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2014
Hardcover (USA) $25.00

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Jim Hornickel is the co-founder and CEO of Bold New Directions which provides corporate training on leadership, communication and resilience skills training to corporations throughout the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, Mr. Hornickel is the co-founder and CEO of the Negotiation Training Institute, a division of the larger firm specializing in corporate and public training in negotiation skills. The Negotiation Training Institute is headquartered in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

This book is the product of Mr. Hornickel’s work as a negotiation skills trainer and presents ideas and materials developed and used in his one or two day classes on negotiation skills. These classes are also called “Negotiating Success.”

Jim Hornickel holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and worked in a variety of industries for twenty-five years before launching his new business. He is also the author of Managing From the Inside Out (2010).

Negotiating Skills is a work which devotes the majority of its pages to what management personnel call “soft skills,” the character attributes and interpersonal abilities of an individual such as teamwork, working well with others, leadership, communication, etc. This book explores a variety of such qualities including emotional intelligence, social awareness, differences between individuals on a quadrant of personality types (Doer, Thinker, Talker, Guardian) and presentation techniques addressing each type and far more. Continually, each concept is related to negotiating.

Approximately the second half of the book is devoted to what human relations managers call “hard skills,” those teachable/testable/certifiable proficiencies such as foreign language competency, computer programming knowledge, accounting training, etc. In this book, the “hard skills” are centered on negotiating areas such as preparation, managing concessions, and dealing with various tactics. Also, readers will find advice about creating negotiating ranges, BATNA’s, starting points and walk-away planning.

In a large section labeled the “discovery phase,” many additional negotiating skills are explored. Among these are distinguishing between facts and opinions, asking open-ended questions rather than closed-ended questions, listening skills and trading concessions. In a later chapter, approximately twenty tactics are defined, analyzed, and dealt with by the reader.

Through it all, the approach never varies. It is always win-win negotiation which the author often calls “mutuality.” It portrays the negotiator as a leader who uses “… courage to lead the way to mutuality” (P. 17).

My understanding is that this book is used as the text in Mr. Hornickel’s negotiation classes, many of which are available in one or two day formats. I find it difficult to even imagine the presentation of such a volume of material in a useable manner. Certainly, Mr. Hornickel is correct when he writes “the material in this book is intended to help you grow your mastery over the next days, weeks, months and years. (P. xi).” This reviewer sees that intent as essential for any reader preparing to be a competent future negotiator.

If thin on negotiating skills, the book is rich in its broad view of the human condition, the interaction variables between participants, and the potential values of the win-win negotiating style. In the author’s own parlance, we learn many of the what’s and the who’s of the matter, but miss some of the what’s, the whys and the how’s. And in that is the problem.

This is an interesting approach to negotiating skills, but in attempting to cover so much ground this reviewer found the scope of the book to be too broad to serve as a stand-alone work for the new negotiator and too fleeting in its touches on its myriad of subjects to be a skilled negotiator’s reference work. Still, with all of these caveats, it is a useful overview of the negotiation field as long as it is supplemented by additional resources.

The book includes an Index.


John D. Baker, Ph.D.

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The Negotiator Magazine  February 2014 Copyright © 2014 The Negotiator Magazine