Kissinger the negotiator Lessons from dealmaking at the highest level

James K. Sebenius, 1953-

Book - 2018

Examines the negotiation methods of Henry Kissinger, highlighting such diplomatic achievements as the Paris Peace Accords, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxxii, 411 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 369-393) and index.
ISBN
9780062694171
0062694170
Main Author
James K. Sebenius, 1953- (author)
Other Authors
R. Nicholas Burns, 1956- (author), Robert H. Mnookin
Review by Booklist Reviews

Few diplomats have had the experience and success of Henry Kissinger. As Secretary of State under presidents Nixon and Ford, Kissinger was directly involved in ending the Vietnam War, opening American relations with China, establishing the first nuclear-arms-control treaty, negotiating peace in the Middle East, establishing black rule in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and other high-profile international conflicts. While there have been many biographies of Kissinger, this book focuses specifically on his negotiating strategy and skills. Written by three Harvard professors, it examines how Kissinger successfully achieved his significant deals with often-hostile negotiating partners. The book discusses specific aspects of Kissinger's negotiating style and how these contributed to the success of each project. Despite being heavily documented—there are over 700 footnotes, most of which consist of direct quotes from Kissinger, and a 36-page bibliography of other publications—it is a very readable and informative book that will serve future negotiators well. It also presents a new look at the importance of Henry Kissinger's role in forming the world in which we now live. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sebenius, Burns, and Mnookin, professors of business, government, and law, respectively, insightfully chronicle key moments from Henry Kissinger's diplomatic career, and less successfully try to relate them to the art of business negotiations. The authors' knowledge of their subject can't be faulted: they extensively cite Kissinger's speeches and memoirs, as well as new interviews with him conducted for the book. Topics include the secret talks on ending the Vietnam War, the push for U.S. rapprochement with China, and the "shuttle diplomacy" undertaken to end the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The authors find some promising tactics, such as Kissinger's ability to simultaneously "zoom out" to the big picture and "zoom in" on his counterparts' specific traits. As an example of the latter skill, they cite his memos to Nixon about the contrasting personalities of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai before the president's historic visit to China in 1973. However, the book's historical analyses overshadow its intended function as a repository of business advice, which receives short shrift throughout. The authors do share Kissinger's 15 main negotiating tactics, such as "think strategically, act opportunistically," in an appendix, this time sans historical context, but the gesture comes off as too little, too late. (May) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A groundbreaking guide to the art of negotiation, written by three Harvard professors, offers comprehensive examinations of the methods of one of the most successful dealmakers of all time, Henry Kissinger, as well as some of his most impressive achievements, including the Paris Peace Accords for which he won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Foreword by Henry KissingerIn this groundbreaking, definitive guide to the art of negotiation, three Harvard professors—all experienced negotiators—offer a comprehensive examination of one of the most successful dealmakers of all time.Politicians, world leaders, and business executives around the world—including every President from John F. Kennedy to Donald J. Trump—have sought the counsel of Henry Kissinger, a brilliant diplomat and historian whose unprecedented achievements as a negotiator have been universally acknowledged. Now, for the first time, Kissinger the Negotiator provides a clear analysis of Kissinger’s overall approach to making deals and resolving conflicts—expertise that holds powerful and enduring lessons.James K. Sebenius (Harvard Business School), R. Nicholas Burns (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), and Robert H. Mnookin (Harvard Law School) crystallize the key elements of Kissinger’s approach, based on in-depth interviews with the former secretary of state himself about some of his most difficult negotiations, an extensive study of his record, and many independent sources. Taut and instructive, Kissinger the Negotiator mines the long and fruitful career of this elder statesman and shows how his strategies apply not only to contemporary diplomatic challenges but also to other realms of negotiation, including business, public policy, and law. Essential reading for current and future leaders, Kissinger the Negotiator is an invaluable guide to reaching agreements in challenging situations.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Foreword by Henry KissingerIn this groundbreaking, definitive guide to the art of negotiation, three Harvard professors'all experienced negotiators'offer a comprehensive examination of one of the most successful dealmakers of all time.Politicians, world leaders, and business executives around the world'including every President from John F. Kennedy to Donald J. Trump'have sought the counsel of Henry Kissinger, a brilliant diplomat and historian whose unprecedented achievements as a negotiator have been universally acknowledged. Now, for the first time, Kissinger the Negotiator provides a clear analysis of Kissinger's overall approach to making deals and resolving conflicts'expertise that holds powerful and enduring lessons.James K. Sebenius (Harvard Business School), R. Nicholas Burns (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), and Robert H. Mnookin (Harvard Law School) crystallize the key elements of Kissinger's approach, based on in-depth interviews with the former secretary of state himself about some of his most difficult negotiations, an extensive study of his record, and many independent sources. Taut and instructive, Kissinger the Negotiator mines the long and fruitful career of this elder statesman and shows how his strategies apply not only to contemporary diplomatic challenges but also to other realms of negotiation, including business, public policy, and law. Essential reading for current and future leaders, Kissinger the Negotiator is an invaluable guide to reaching agreements in challenging situations.