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Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People

By G. Richard Shell, Faculty
New York: Viking Press, 1999. 304 pp., $24.95.
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Whether your goal is simply Getting to Yes or to become a practitioner of The Art of the Deal, there are abundant resources readily at hand. The Library of Congress catalog has more than 6,000 titles containing the words negotiation, bargaining, dealing or arbitration. Amazon.com lists 2,692 titles fitting the same categories, and Yahoo! can direct the researcher to 237 Web sites on negotiation alone. Not to mention the multitude of negotiation workshops and seminars, prominently advertised in in-flight magazines and business periodicals, that fill hotel meeting rooms across the country.
    Why all the fuss about negotiations? Business managers have at long last recognized that--once the discounted cash flows have been calculated, the distribution channels operationalized, or a whole host of seemingly technical issues resolved--there still remains the nontrivial task of convincing others of the merit of your decision and that it is in their interest to buy into it. This explains the popularity of negotiation electives for second-year MBA students and executive MBA weekend-warriors, but any parent of an adolescent or toddler knows that something approaching negotiation is at work in the simplest of requests. And whether you are from Venus or from Mars, negotiation fits into the overall communications skills-building program many recognize as an overarching need.
    Into this crowded market comes Dr. G. Richard Shell, director of the Wharton Executive Negotiation Workshop and professor of legal studies and management. His text, integrating scholarly research with copious examples from the popular business press, provides an articulate, well-researched and tightly organized overview. Although he covers the usual territory associated with negotiations, his perspective is broad enough to encompass examples from business, interpersonal and multicultural contexts. He moves easily from the Sony Corporation boardroom to Gandhi’s train ride in the first-class compartment in apartheid-era South Africa to quotations from Francis Bacon. He even draws some relevant principles and behaviors from Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.
    Shell’s approach differs from most business-school texts, which emphasize "mutual gain" or interest-based negotiations--focusing on the minimal acceptable level required to say yes in a negotiation. Instead, he stresses that your goal--what your analysis has determined as the objective--is the highest legitimate expectation of what you should achieve. Otherwise, your results will tend to be just above the minimum acceptable level. Setting your sights low may help achieve your bottom line, but in the process you have left money on the table and increased your chances for future dissatisfaction.
    To achieve your goal, you must develop your "personal negotiation toolbox," and the first step is to learn to be yourself at the bargaining table--good advice for those who think that they should mimic someone else’s style. Shell contends that everyone can improve their performance by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, planning more carefully and sharpening their tools through practice. Negotiations are more than just opening offers, counteroffers and closing moves; rather, there are a number of psychological and strategic currents running just below the surface. In addition to solid planning and preparation before entering the negotiation, critical tactics include attentive listening to what the other side really wants and registering both the verbal and nonverbal signals being sent. Shell calls his approach information-based bargaining--a skeptical school of negotiation that treats each situation as unique and emphasizes strategies tailored to the negotiation event.
   As he lays out the foundations of effective negotiation, Shell provides consistently useful and supported advice. A good example, from his discussion of goals and expectations: "You cannot know when to say yes and when to say no without first knowing what you are trying to achieve. Negotiators striving to achieve concrete goals are more animated, committed, prepared, and persistent." A passionate commitment to ambitious goals provides the proper antidote to accepting merely the minimum.
    In describing the importance of relationships to the negotiation event, he notes that trust is at the core of human relationships, and reciprocity provides an important secret to creating and sustaining trust. Some psychological strategies for building working relationships include the similarity principle (where commonalities are emphasized), the role of gifts and favors, and building relationship networks. Shell also warns of some psychological traps for the unwary, which include trusting too quickly and negotiating with friends when the stakes are high.
    As he moves through the negotiation process ("a dance that moves through four stages or steps"), Shell provides a thorough set of moves to guide even the most unpracticed dancer. His biggest contribution may be the chapter on ethics in negotiation, titled "Bargaining with the Devil without Losing your Soul." Rather than leaping into a full discussion of ethical theory and the permutations and variations evidenced in various schools of ethics, Shell does an admirable job of characterizing three major schools of bargaining ethics--the "it’s a game" Poker School, the "do the right thing even if it hurts" Idealist School and the "what goes around, comes around" Pragmatist School--and establishes his points through a well-balanced blend of advice, metaphor, example and diagnosis. Combine that with "A Rogue’s Gallery of Tactics" and a chart on the "Alternatives to Lying," and you have a smart, readable, helpful and nicely different take on negotiations.

Before becoming director of alumni relations and publisher of the Gazette last year, Dr. Martin Rapisarda directed the Executive Master’s Programs at Purdue University’s Krannert Graduate School of Management.

Reviews in Brief

A selection of recent books by alumni and faculty, or otherwise of interest to the University community. Descriptions are compiled from information supplied by the authors and publishers.

THE GOSPEL OF GERMS: Men, Women and the Microbe in American Life
By Nancy Tomes Gr’78.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. 351 pp., $16.95 (paper).
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AIDS. Ebola. "Killer microbes." The Hot Zone. All around us the alarms are going off, warning of new, deadly diseases. And yet, as Tomes reminds us, this is really nothing new. The Gospel of Germs, first printed in 1998, takes readers back to the first great "germ panic" in American history, which peaked in the early 1900s, to explore the origins of our modern disease consciousness. Tomes is a history professor at the State University of New York at Stony Bridge. She is also the author of The Art of Asylum-Keeping: Thomas Story Kirkbridge and the Origins of American Psychiatry.

CLOVIS REVISITED: New Perspectives on Paleoindian Adaptations from Blackwater Draw, New Mexico
By Anthony T. Boldurian and John L. Cotter Gr’59.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1999. 145 pp., $40.00 (cloth); $25.00 (paper).

In the 1930s, the late John L. Cotter, then a Penn graduate student, took part in an excavation in Clovis, N.M., which uncovered the first documented evidence of mammoths and humans living together contemporaneously--providing proof that people had inhabited the area more than 11,000 years ago. In the 1990s, Dr. Cotter, curator emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, working with Anthony Boldurian, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, set about reinvestigating the Clovis artifacts, which are now housed at the University Museum and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. They wanted to scrutinize one of the most important early American collections in light of new research techniques and decades of new knowledge in their field. This book, revealing the results of their research, offers new clues about where those elusive first Americans actually may have come from, and when they may have arrived. Cotter died in February at the age of 87, just days after he had approved the final proofs of this book.

THE PIG FARMER’S DAUGHTER AND OTHER TALES OF AMERICAN JUSTICE: Episodes of Racism and Sexism in the Courts from 1865 to the Present
By Mary Frances Berry, Faculty.
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.295 pp., $24.00.
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In 1867, a white Alabama woman sued her husband for divorce because of his sexual relationship with a former slave. She was denied her petition on the basis that a sexual relationship between a white man and a black woman is "of no consequence." Berry, the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at Penn’s Law School, takes us through two centuries of American case law--and documents examples such as the one above --to show how attitudes toward gender, race, class and sexuality have materially affected, and continue to affect, judicial decision-making. Berry has served as chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission since 1993. She was assistant secretary for education in the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter administration and has received numerous awards for her public service, including the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

THE ORIGINS OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE: Selected Essays from "Architectural Record"
Edited by Eric Uhlfelder C’79.
Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1998.299 pp., $16.95.
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The dawning of the 20th century witnessed a remarkable burst of activity and innovation in art and technology, particularly in the field of architecture. The invention of steel-frame construction enabled the building of skyscrapers, and the young Frank Lloyd Wright introduced a revolutionary "organic" style of building. These and many other far-reaching developments are discussed in this portrait of art and architecture at the turn of the century. Published in the magazine Architectural Record between 1891 and 1914, the 22 essays include William Fryer’s "Skeleton Construction," an outline of the technology that made the skyscraper possible; Frank Lloyd Wright’s seminal essay "In the Cause of Architecture"; and discussions of such important new structures as Pennsylvania Station and the Flatiron Building in Manhattan. Uhlfelder is an author who writes about architecture, planning and finance, as well as a photographer whose work has been exhibited in Paris, Venice and New York.

A SLANT OF SUN: One Child’s Courage
By Beth Kephart C’82.
New York: Quill (William Morrow), 1999. 249 pp., $14.00.
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Kephart was named a 1998 National Book Award finalist for this memoir, first published in 1998 and now available in paperback, describing how she and her husband fought the odds to help their son emerge from his interior world into a full life. Early on, Jeremy showed signs of being different. Language eluded him. He preferred playing alone to an afternoon on the jungle gym. And he marched to his own beat, one set by rituals and emotional phases. Doctors told Kephart that her son suffered from Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, a mild form of autism. Through dark nights of fear and self-recrimination, sessions with specialists and days spent poring over medical texts, Beth struggled to answer the questions, "What is normal? Is it definable? Am I to blame for my child’s differences?" Eventually she put away the books, set aside the advice, and listened to her heart and her child. Going slowly, Beth and her husband learned to give their son "room in which to heal himself." And as this book shows, he does, in many ways. A Slant of Sun is Kephart’s first book; her second, Into the Tangle of Friendship, is due out next fall.

By William B. Patrick C’71.
Rochester, N.Y.: BOA Editions, Ltd., 1999. 111 pp., $12.50.
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Patrick traces his family’s ordinary but dramatic history through poetry and family photos. In an introduction to the book, Fred Chappell, poet laureate of North Carolina, writes, "I heard it speaking to me … in a voice easy and open, almost casual in tone, and with a level, earnest honesty, saying that, yes, these events are regular, not extraordinary in the least--but as important as sunlight." Patrick has written poetry, fiction, stage plays, screenplays and nonfiction. He also has made his living as a sculptor, wood craftsman, contractor, college professor and arts- in-education teacher, conducting creative writing residencies at elementary, middle and high schools throughout New York state. His next book, Saving Troy, is based on a year he spent riding with professional firefighters and paramedics in Troy, N.Y.

By Tony Pasquarello C’54.
New Jersey: Gustav Broukal Press, 1999. 213 pp., $16.00 (paperback).
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Little Anthony, the altar boy, got upset when everyone--even the three maiden aunts who reared him--called him Ant. Grappling with his budding sexuality, religious doctrine and his Italian-American family, he wends his solitary way through the schools and churches, libraries and museums, subways and trolleys, conservatories and amusement parks of mid-century Philadelphia. He is preoccupied with sin, guilt, naked girls and Purgatory; he worries about bombs, social diseases and the next piano lesson. And food. Lots of food. In his memoir, Ant’s thoughts are filtered through the glasses of the secular-humanist professor he later became. Pasquarello is an emeritus philosophy professor at Ohio State University who has gone on to a second career as a pop-jazz-classical musician.

HONOR’S VOICE: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln
By Douglas L. Wilson G’59 Gr’64.
New York: Knopf, 1999. 383 pp., $15.00 (paperback).
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The 1999 Lincoln Prize, the largest national award presented in the field of history, went to Wilson for this groundbreaking study of Abraham Lincoln’s turbulent early years. Lincoln’s remarkable emergence from the rural Midwest and his rise to the presidency have been the stuff of romance and legend. But as Honor’s Voice, originally published in 1998, reveals, there were times in his journey from storekeeper and mill operator to lawyer and member of the Illinois state legislature, when Lincoln lost his nerve and self-confidence--on at least two occasions he became so despondent as to appear suicidal--and when his acute emotional vulnerabilities were exposed. Focusing on the years between 1831 and 1842, the book reveals the individual behind the legends. We see Lincoln as a boy: not the dutiful son studying by firelight, but the stubborn rebel determined to make something of himself. We see him as a young man: not the ascendant statesman, but the canny local politician who was renowned for his talents in wrestling and storytelling. Wilson also reconstructs Lincoln’s frequently anguished personal life: his religious skepticism, recurrent bouts of depression and difficult relationships with women. Wilson is Saunders Director of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and a former professor of English and American literature at Knox College.

By William L. Banks C’53.
Bryn Mawr: Buy Books on the web.com, 1999. 151 pp., $13.95.
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Banks, pastor of the Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Philadelphia and author of eight other theological works, argues in his study that the brand of slavery practiced in the United States does not compare favorably with the slavery and servant-hood practiced in Israel during biblical times. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament, he writes, lends support to the slavery system that ruled in America for nearly two and a half centuries.

EAT DANGEROUSLY: The "Blow Health Out Your Ass!!!" Cookbook
By Benjamin Lewis EAS’95 and Rodrigo Velloso C/W’95.
New York: Hollander & Hechsher, 1999.122 pp., $14.95.
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Balking at the flavorless repression of healthy diet trends, Lewis and Velloso have created "a counter-reformist cookbook for the new millennium." Their book combines modern philosophy and seduction advice with the text of old and new recipes which they believe represent "the essence of real cooking." Lewis is a management consultant on Wall Street; Velloso is a strategic management consultant in Rio de Janeiro. For more information, visit their Web site (www.eatdangerously.com).

By Noel Hynd C’70.
New York: Pinnacle Fiction, 1999. 432 pp., $5.99.
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In the small Connecticut town of Wiltshire, James Corbett, the senior member of a local outlaw family, has been hideously murdered. For Ellen Wilder, editor of the local newspaper, the gruesome killing is as disturbing as the irrational fears that have suddenly woven themselves into her mind and left her doubting her sanity. For state-police detective Michael Chandler, whose own haunting near-death experience has left him with an uncanny way of sensing things, the murder is only a hint of what is to come. But nothing could have prepared either of them for the return of Franny Corbett. A hulking child of a man and blackest sheep in a family of black sheep, his eerie presence in town may have ushered in all of these bizarre and frightening events. Soon the town will be shaken again by another murder. And the killing has just begun. Hynd lives in Beverly Hills and writes on sports for the Gazette.

THE CITY OF RAINBOWS: A Tale from Ancient Sumer
Retold and Illustrated by Karen Foster.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1999. 28 pp., $6.95.
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Written over 4,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, The City of Rainbows is one of the world’s oldest folktales, featuring a wise king, a foolish king, magic deeds, talking animals, and a good witch who triumphs over a wicked sorcerer. It was copied out in cuneiform signs on a clay tablet which is now housed in the Babylonian section of the University Museum. This book offers the first modern retelling of the story, together with cut-paper illustrations based upon Sumerian mosaic art. Foster teaches ancient art and archaeology at Yale University.

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