top of page

Getting To Yes: Review and Summary

Book Author: Roger Fisher, William Ury

5 Reasons you should read this book today

  1. Develop negotiation skills: "Getting to Yes" provides readers with essential negotiation skills, teaching them how to reach agreements that benefit both parties involved.

  2. Build better relationships: The book emphasizes the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships through negotiation, which can lead to increased trust, respect, and understanding between parties.

  3. Solve conflicts effectively: "Getting to Yes" offers practical strategies for resolving conflicts peacefully and effectively, avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming litigation.

  4. Learn from real-life examples: The book features real-life examples of successful negotiations, providing readers with practical insight into the negotiation process and how to apply these strategies to their own lives.

  5. Enhance professional and personal success: By mastering the negotiation skills outlined in "Getting to Yes," readers can enhance their professional and personal success, achieving their goals and objectives in a more efficient and effective manner.


In a world where negotiation permeates every aspect of our lives, from boardrooms to dinner tables, the ability to reach agreement with grace and tact is a vital skill. Enter "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In," the groundbreaking work of Roger Fisher and William Ury of the Harvard Negotiation Project. With its blend of practical wisdom and insightful anecdotes, the book offers a transformative approach to the art of negotiation, guiding readers towards mutually beneficial outcomes.

At the heart of "Getting to Yes" lies the concept of principled negotiation, a paradigm shift from the traditional positional bargaining that often leads to suboptimal results and damaged relationships. Fisher and Ury articulate four key principles that underpin this approach: separating the people from the problem, focusing on interests rather than positions, generating a variety of options for mutual gain, and insisting on objective criteria for decision-making.

Throughout the book, the authors draw upon historical events, real-world examples, and their own experiences to illustrate the power and versatility of principled negotiation. From labor disputes to international diplomacy, Fisher and Ury demonstrate that their method can be applied to a wide array of contexts and challenges, fostering collaboration, creative problem-solving, and enduring partnerships.

The first principle, separating the people from the problem, emphasizes the importance of disentangling emotional and psychological factors from the substantive issues at hand. By addressing concerns and building trust, negotiators can create an atmosphere conducive to cooperation and mutual understanding.

Next, Fisher and Ury advocate for focusing on interests rather than positions. They argue that by uncovering the underlying needs, desires, and fears that drive a person's stance, negotiators can identify common ground and create opportunities for joint problem-solving.

Generating a variety of options for mutual gain is the third principle. The authors encourage brainstorming and creative thinking, asserting that the key to successful negotiation lies in expanding the proverbial pie rather than merely dividing it.

Finally, "Getting to Yes" emphasizes the importance of insisting on objective criteria to guide decision-making. By referencing external standards such as market value or legal precedent, negotiators can avoid arbitrary concessions and reach agreements grounded in fairness and legitimacy.

Beyond these four core principles, Fisher and Ury also address common negotiation challenges, such as dealing with hard bargainers and navigating power imbalances. In each case, they provide actionable strategies for overcoming obstacles and maintaining a principled approach.

In its essence, "Getting to Yes" is a masterclass in the art of negotiation, a practical and insightful guide to achieving agreement without sacrificing integrity or relationships. By embracing the principles of principled negotiation, we can transform the way we approach conflict, turning adversaries into partners and obstacles into opportunities.


Harvard Business Review called it "a seminal work" in the field of negotiation. The review states that the authors "offer a brilliant, simple, and systematic approach to negotiation that can be used not only in business but in personal and public life as well."

The New York Times Book Review described Getting to Yes as "concise and clearly written" and praised its practical approach to negotiation. The review states that the book's advice "can be put to immediate use" and is "easy to follow."

The Economist hailed Getting to Yes as "a highly readable, practical primer on the art of principled negotiation." The review highlights the book's focus on finding mutually beneficial solutions and the authors' emphasis on separating people from the problem.

Forbes named Getting to Yes as one of the "must-read" books on negotiation, stating that it "provides a comprehensive approach to collaborative negotiation, demonstrating how to build long-term relationships while still reaching your goals."

The Wall Street Journal called Getting to Yes "a classic in the field of negotiation," noting its continued relevance and impact more than 30 years after its initial publication. The review highlights the book's emphasis on communication and understanding the other party's perspective.

Overall, the positive reviews of Getting to Yes praise its practicality, readability, and effectiveness in improving negotiation skills. Its emphasis on finding mutually beneficial solutions and building long-term relationships has resonated with readers and made it a staple in the field of negotiation. If you are looking to improve your negotiation skills, Getting to Yes is a book worth reading.


As with any book, "Getting to Yes" is not without its criticisms. While many readers have found the book to be incredibly useful, others have had a few issues with it.

One common critique of "Getting to Yes" is that the negotiation model it presents is often seen as being too idealistic. Some reviewers have argued that the book's approach to negotiation assumes a level of good faith and rationality on the part of all parties involved, which may not always be the case in real-world negotiations.

Another criticism of the book is that its emphasis on principled negotiation may not always be appropriate in certain contexts. For example, in situations where one party holds a significant power advantage over the other, using principled negotiation techniques may not be effective in achieving a favorable outcome.

Some readers have also criticized the book for lacking concrete examples of its negotiation model in action. While the book does offer a few case studies and examples, some readers have found these to be insufficient in illustrating how the model can be applied in practice.

A related criticism is that the book's negotiation model may not be as effective in cross-cultural or international negotiations, where cultural differences and other factors may complicate the negotiation process.

Finally, a few readers have criticized the book for being overly simplistic in its approach to negotiation. While the book's model may be effective in some situations, some reviewers have argued that it fails to take into account the complexity and nuance of many real-world negotiation scenarios.

Overall, while "Getting to Yes" has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from readers and critics alike, it is not without its flaws. However, despite these criticisms, many readers continue to find the book to be an incredibly useful resource for negotiating effectively in a variety of contexts.

Fan FaQs

Roger Fisher

was a renowned American negotiation expert and academic, born on May 28, 1922, in Evanston, Illinois. He was the eldest of three sons born to a wealthy family. His father, Everett Fisher, was a prominent physicist and administrator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while his mother, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, was a famous American author and educator.

Fisher attended high school in Illinois and then went on to attend Harvard University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1943. During World War II, Fisher served in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery in the Normandy invasion.

After the war, Fisher returned to Harvard, where he obtained his law degree in 1948. He then joined the law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he worked as an associate until 1958.

Fisher was also an academic, and in 1958, he was appointed a professor of law at Harvard Law School, where he remained for over four decades until his retirement in 1992. During his tenure, Fisher was known for his expertise in negotiation, conflict resolution, and international law. He co-founded the Harvard Negotiation Project and served as its director for many years.

In addition to his academic work, Fisher was also a prolific author, publishing several books on negotiation and conflict resolution. His most famous work is the best-selling book "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In," which he co-authored with William Ury and Bruce Patton in 1981.

Fisher's contributions to the field of negotiation and conflict resolution have been widely recognized. He received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the Peace Builder Award from the New England Association of Conflict Resolution.

Fisher passed away on August 25, 2012, at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy of groundbreaking work in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution.

William Ury

is an American author, mediator, and negotiation expert. He was born on December 12, 1953, in the United States. Ury is best known for his work on negotiation and conflict resolution, particularly his co-authorship of the bestselling book "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In."

Ury attended Yale University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and then later received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. He began his career in negotiation and conflict resolution as a consultant for the Carter Administration, working on international conflicts in the Middle East and Central America. Ury went on to co-found the Harvard Negotiation Project, a research institute that aimed to develop negotiation and conflict resolution theory and practice.

Ury has worked as a consultant and mediator for numerous organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and various governments and corporations. He has also served as a lecturer and professor at several universities, including Harvard Law School, where he taught negotiation and conflict resolution.

Ury has authored or co-authored several books on negotiation and conflict resolution, including "Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations," "The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes," and "Getting to Yes with Yourself: (and Other Worthy Opponents)." Ury's books have been translated into over 30 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. His work has been praised for its practicality and effectiveness in helping individuals and organizations resolve conflicts and reach mutually beneficial agreements.

Outside of his work in negotiation and conflict resolution, Ury is involved in various philanthropic and environmental organizations. He has served on the boards of the Abraham Path Initiative, an organization that promotes intercultural dialogue and understanding, and the Synergos Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on global development and social justice issues.

Overall, William Ury is a leading figure in the field of negotiation and conflict resolution, known for his practical and effective approaches to resolving conflicts and reaching mutually beneficial agreements. His work has had a significant impact on individuals, organizations, and international relations.

Buy This Book

Other Works

Books written by Roger Fisher:

1. "Getting Ready to Negotiate: The Getting to Yes Workbook" - This book is a companion to "Getting to Yes" and provides practical exercises, case studies, and step-by-step guidance to help readers prepare for negotiations effectively.

2. "Beyond Machiavelli: Tools for Coping with Conflict" - In this book, Fisher explores the ways in which individuals and organizations can handle conflict more effectively and develop sustainable solutions through negotiation.

3. "The Art of Managing: Conflict Resolution" - This book focuses on the role of negotiation and conflict resolution in effective management, providing readers with tools and strategies for managing conflict in the workplace.

4. "The Process of Third-Party Intervention: A Handbook for Practitioners and Students" - This book is a practical guide for mediators and other third-party intervenors, providing a comprehensive framework for intervention in complex conflict situations.

5. "Getting It Done: How to Lead When You're Not in Charge" - In this book, Fisher draws on his experience as a negotiation expert to provide practical advice for individuals in leadership roles who may not have formal authority, helping them to navigate complex organizational structures and achieve their goals.

William Ury has authored and co-authored several other books, including:

1. "Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations" - This book is a sequel to "Getting to Yes" and focuses on negotiating in difficult situations, such as when the other party is being unreasonable or uncooperative. Ury provides strategies for overcoming obstacles and finding common ground to reach an agreement.

2. "The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop" - In this book, Ury explores the causes of conflict and provides a framework for resolving conflicts peacefully. He argues that there is a "third side" to every conflict, consisting of individuals or groups who can help mediate and facilitate a peaceful resolution.

3. "Getting to Peace: Transforming Conflict at Home, at Work, and in the World" - Ury presents a seven-step framework for resolving conflicts and achieving peace in various settings, from personal relationships to international conflicts. He draws on his experience as a mediator and offers practical advice for creating win-win solutions.

4. "The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal Save The Relationship and Still Say No" - In this book, Ury presents a three-step process for saying "no" in a positive and constructive way that preserves relationships and promotes collaboration. He explains how to use a "positive no" to set boundaries, protect interests, and build trust.

5. "Getting to Yes with Yourself: (and Other Worthy Opponents)" - In this book, Ury emphasizes the importance of inner negotiation, which involves reconciling our inner conflicts and desires to achieve greater personal fulfillment. He provides a five-step process for getting to yes with yourself and achieving greater clarity, balance, and well-being.

Overall, Ury's books focus on the themes of negotiation, conflict resolution, and personal transformation, drawing on his extensive experience as a mediator and consultant. His works are widely regarded as influential and practical guides for improving relationships, achieving success, and promoting peace.


Are you having challenges recovering from the emotional effects of the pandemic?

Explore your wellness with the Post-Pandemic Recovery Workbook. This workbook is designed by professionals utilizing the best of the clinical literature on self-improvement to assist you in achieving your wellness goals.


LDG is an affiliate partner. When you purchase through links on our site, a commission is generated. This income helps us in our commitment to provide you with high-quality future services. Thank you for supporting LDG with your purchases.

bottom of page