Articles and Book Reviews by Judge Josefina Rendón
Game, Set, Match: Winning the Negotiations Game By Henry S. Kramer Book reviewed By Judge Josefina M. Rendón
Though its title has game metaphors and uses examples from football, baseball and chess, the book "Game, Set, Match: Winning the Negotiations Game" speaks more of war games and war metaphors. In fact the author, who has taught negotiation simulation at Cornell University, says he starts his first day of class with excerpts of Ken Burns’ series on the Civil War. Kramer also offers to "arm" us with secrets and to teach us how to "plan strategy" by quoting U.S. Defense Department papers and just about every American general and military strategist known.
Examples of quotes are: “There is no substitute for Victory”(Gen. McArthur). “Never appeal to a man’s better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self interest gives you more leverage” (Robert Heinlein). “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his (Gen. Patton).
Kramer states that “this book is about ‘winning’ the negotiations game.” Accordingly, rather than exploring win-win outcomes, he writes about establishing a perceived win-win outcome, which includes a section on how to let the other side think it won.
This is a fascinating book partly because it is so different from the collaborative and facilitative orientation that most mediators are taught. It is also an important book for all mediators regardless of their mediating or negotiating orientation in that it illustrates the hard-ball, win-is-all approach to negotiation that is so common, if not prevalent, among many parties and attorneys in mediation. Mediators are certainly most effective when they understand the tactics, reasoning and preferences of all the negotiators they deal with. This book will decidedly help expand a mediator's knowledge and skills.
Note: This book review was originally published in The Texas Mediator (publication of the Texas Association of Mediators)
Josefina Rendón is a 1976 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. She has been a mediator since 1993 for, among others, the U. S. Postal Service, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Texas Education Agency, Department of Justice Civil Rights Section, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Harris County Dispute Resolution Center & Houston's Better Business Bureau.