The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader’s Review

John Baker

The Negotiating Paradox: How to Get More by Giving More
By Bernard Hale Zick
263pp. Dallas, Texas: Skyward Publishing, 2003
Paperback Edition: (US) $21.95

Bernard Zick holds an MBA from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) and various accolades as a speaker, teacher and writer in the field of real estate sales and investment. He is the author of many books and articles in the field of real estate. This book is a paperback edition of his earlier work, issued in 1999.

The book is based upon what the author terms the “negotiating paradox.” Essentially, Mr. Zick argues that in negotiations “you can actually get more by giving more (p.15).” That, of course, is the paradox and Zick’s ideal negotiator is “the friendly persuader.”

In many respects, this is an uneven book, often quite fine and at other times disappointing. For example, this reviewer was intrigued by an attack by the author early in his work on the “win-win” school of negotiations. Now there is a subject of real interest since such positions are unusually infrequent in these years.

Writing about “win-win” strategies early in his work, Zick states firmly that “you should not use it. I believe it to be a weak procedure that costs in the end (p.24).” ‘Tis wonderful stuff to any student of the field, but the author quickly drops the whole matter and never seems to confront it again as his work moves along. I had hoped for far more.

The book becomes quite puzzling as it unfolds. The “friendly persuader” of which the author writes looks with each passing page ever more like the “win-win” negotiator he condemns at the outset. Whatever the distinguishing nuances between them, this reviewer finds an intellectual kinship at their core.

Within this conundrum of styles of apparent sameness, but undemonstrated difference, however, Zick makes some valuable contributions and this review centers upon them. Let me list several of them

He begins by focusing on one of the great weaknesses in negotiation: Many of us fail to negotiate at all and its vital corollary that not to do so has significant consequences upon each individual’s life course and happiness. Alas, these are the critical first steps for all negotiators.

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December 2004