How to Negotiate Like a Child: Unleash the Little Monster Within to Get Everything You Want

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How to Negotiate Like a Child: Unleash the Little Monster Within to Get Everything You Want

Bill Adler, «How to Negotiate Like a Child:
Unleash the Little Monster Within to Get Everything You Want»

AMACOM | ISBN 081447294X | 2005-10-30 | PDF | 1 Mb | 161 Pages

Look into the eyes of a child and you will find yourself face-to-face with one of the world's greatest negotiators. Children are naturals at manipulating, cajoling arguing, sweet-talking and conning their parents into pretty much anything they want on a regular basis. So why don't we as adults borrow a page or two from their playbook?

MarketingProfs Today e-newsletter
"a tongue-in-check but eminently practical handbook to get you what you want."

Library Journal
'This droll little work will do well on public library shelves."

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
The book is humorously written, fun to read – and potentially useful in expanding your negotiating approach.

The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
"The book is humorously written,fun to read and potentially useful in expanding your negotiating approach."

Houston Chronicle
"This is a short book that's a breeze to read. But it still contains many little nuggets of wisdom."



Water it down with some sarcasm, February 24, 2006
Reviewer: Bailin Fang "Berlin" (Huntington, WV)

Just found a book called "How to Negotiatve Like a Child: unleash the little monster within to get everything you want." (by Bill Adler, JR., NY: AMACOM, 2006). I picked up this book because the publisher was AMACOM. AMACOM surely has published lots of practical business skills books, and some of which are quite genuinely innovative, and justifiably controversial, such as "Disicpline without Punishment", "Your CEO is Your Customer" etc.

This "Negotiate like a child" book looks quite thought-provoking, but I guess I don't need to read it page to page, line by line. I am a parent by profession, and I know all about it. So, browsing it would be sufficient. However, I kind of regretted browsing it, because the many principles listed here forced me to see kid behaviors in a new, eerie way, and I dislike that. I see them strategize against me. It's awkward. It's evil. Kids are kids. They try various ways to gain what they want because they are so powerless. They have to improvise and do whatever they can. You don't call them strategies, do you? Only McKinsey does that. I have not heard enough of the song of innocence. All of a sudden, you are tuning in to the song of experience. That's way too much.

The author didn't even stop there. He applies these principles as "negotiation skills" for real negotiation with people who are so less lovely than your child, people like a bad-tempered professor. I use the word "professor" for illustration only. Most of them are cute, I think.

Whether you are going to like this book depends on how much humor you see in this book. If it is Bill Cosby writing it, I would feel everything is right. But it looks like that the humor element is downplayed to allow more room for practical use, and that's where all sorts of problems arise. Behave like kids? One doesn't have to change diapers for the negotiation partner, I hope.

But if you do take it with a sense of irony and sarcasm, you'll enjoy this book. For instance, you see the first principle for negotiation is to throw a tandrum. And there is much truth in what the author has to say: "The calm person feels as if he is the better business person, but the tantrum thrower has walked waway with the prize. …But don't overuse this ploy, otherwise nobody will want to have lunch with you. You will run a business based on fear rather than respect. You'll mostly be known for your bad temper." This is brilliant stuff.

More interestingly, the author also offers counter startegies if your negotiation partners uses this ploy:

Enlist the support of others;
Just let the tantrumer have his rants;
Pretend the tantrum didn't happen;

I thought this one was great too. Next time some guys I work with gave me trouble, I will ask one of the younger assistants here to throw a tandrum. Roll on the floor. Stomp his or her feet, etc.

But I wouldn't try "win through cuteness" strategy. Because this would spoil all the fun. It would terminate the negotiation process too early. If old men like me try to be cute, I am sure that the negotiation partner will simply throw himself or herself out of the window in an order to escape.

This said, the author gave an impressive list of negotiation skills, some of which are conflicting, which is exactly the way things work for children, and negotiators. As Bill Bryson would say about bears in the Appalachia, sometimes a strategy saves. At another time, exactly the same strategy kills.


These negotiation tactics may be inspired by children, but they offer some real insights, February 5, 2006
Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

Bill Adler Jr.'s How To Negotiate Like A Child: Unleash The Little Monster Within To Get Everything You Want uses the premise that kids are the best negotiators in the world to show how the qualities of determination and stubbornness might translate well to a business environment. These negotiation tactics may be inspired by children, but they offer some real insights; from using tantrums as a 'secret weapon' (if Bill Gates can do it, so can others) to changing the rules and appearing needy.


Well written, funny and very helpful for the savvy business person, December 12, 2005
Reviewer: Larry Kahaner "" (Mclean, VA USA)

At first I thought this was going to be another gimmicky business book, but I found myself surprised by its fresh approach to one of the most troublesome areas of business: how to negotiate the best deal.

This book does not suggest that we act like children in the boardroom but rather to take what we know about children's successful techniques for getting what they want and transferring it to the world of everyday business.

For example, we all know how well children pit parents against each other. We are aware of it and we still fall for it. (Not always but enough to make it a valuable bargaining tool in some situations.) Adler shows how to use this technique in negotiations. Simple? Yes. But does it work? You bet.

In another section, Adler discusses optimism. Very few negotiating tools are as strong as going in and knowing that you're going to win. Children do it all the time. We should be doing it, too - at the office.

One of my favorites is acting nave, like you don't know what the other person is saying. It's a treacherous and powerful technique if done right. I have used it myself.

Different deals require different strategies and this book has more than 50 to choose from.

This book should be on every businessperson's bookshelf.

I am a big fan of Adler's other books and have reviewed several of them. This one is keeping with his tradition of lively writing, strong information and great value.


Cute and Useful, November 24, 2005
Reviewer: Roger E. Herman (Greensboro, NC USA)

When I picked up this book, I wasn't sure just what I had in my hands. The size is smaller than the typical 6X9" business book. At 7.5X6", it's like one of those impulse items at the cash register. The picture of the mean-looking kid on the cover, with a subtitle about unleashing the little monster within you made me wonder if this book would be sarcastic, a parody, or a satire.

What I discovered was a tight little book that, while light-hearted in approach, delivers a pretty good dose of negotiating techniques. When you gain insight into how children negotiate, unwittingly, you can gain some tips and approaches to how to negotiate with adults. The knowledge you gain here will probably not help you negotiate better with kids-that may be fruitless!

As you move through the short chapters, you'll collect all sorts of interesting perspectives on negotiating techniques. The delightful list begins with Throw a Tantrum and continues with tactics like Just Cry, Call in Back-Up, Be Nice, Take Your Ball and Go Home, Play One Side Against the Other, and Change the Subject. There's a good use of adult examples showing how the book's principles have been used by grown-ups who are, after all just kids in bigger bodies.

A strong table of contents and index makes it easy for readers to find their favorite nuggets to re-read them.