My review of the new book Transformative Negotiation will appear in this month’s issue of In the meantime, here is a summary of the book’s eight chapters, with my reactions:

1 Imagine. Understanding what you need and want is the first step toward successful negotiation. Why do you really want swans at your wedding? (page 20). How can a “Come As You Will Be Party” help clarify goals? (page 21). This chapter would particularly benefit the many people I negotiated with who had never thought through or identified their actual needs and wants.

2 Ask. Simply asking for what you want can often get you much of what you want. This chapter may be particularly helpful to people from under-resourced communities or discriminatory environments who have internalized the idea that they are undeserving. This chapter resonated with me since growing up in the West Virginia coalfields in a family that often needed food stamps to survive had made me feel worthless, someone who did not deserve help.

3 Give. Good negotiators get win-win deals. The best negotiators strive for and sometimes achieve win-win-win deals. This chapter has strong appeal to people like Erik Heels, who founded the Treehouse network, “a support group for givers.”

4 Money. Financial Management 101. “Some basic financial knowledge helps people stay anchored in negotiations and know their walk-away points.”

I never would have expected to see chapters like this and Chapter 5 in a negotiation book, but they make perfect sense. If you are teaching Marines how to storm a beach, you would first help them upgrade their physical and mental status. If you are teaching people how to negotiate, show them how to upgrade their financial status and become more proficient using technology.

5 Digital (#Facepalm). “Digital communication can save time but also can destroy deals and relationships far more easily than face-to-face meetings.” Yep. 

6 Power. Good analysis of how to understand various forms of power and how to leverage your own. Eminently practical suggestions, including how to handle power disparities, like negotiating with governmental entities like the IRS.

7 Gender, Sex, and Race. “Draws on the latest research to explore how negotiation advice may differ for people with different backgrounds.” Essential advice not just for members of disadvantaged groups, but for anyone who wants to negotiate with them.

8 Guns, Addiction, and an Orchestra. “What works in the boardroom will not necessarily work in the streets where drugs and guns take hold.” The section about Baltimore Symphony Orchestra labor disputes does not develop that idea, but convincingly makes one important point: Sometimes changing negotiators can make all the difference. The BSO musicians union hired a lawyer to represent them in contract negotiations with management. The results were good initially, but when discussions again bogged down, they brought in a different negotiator, who was able to close the deal.