The adventures of Herbie Cohen World's greatest negotiator

Rich Cohen

Book - 2022

"Bestselling author Rich Cohen tells the story of the one-of-a-kind Herbie Cohen: the king of Bensonhurst, the world's best negotiator, and his own loving, wise, and wisecracking father"--

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New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2022.
First edition
Physical Description
227 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Main Author
Rich Cohen (author)
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A deal-making guru bargains with the world in this wry and affectionate biography. Journalist and editor Cohen (Sweet and Low) profiles his father, Herb Cohen, author of the bestselling business self-help title You Can Negotiate Anything, an adviser to the Reagan administration in arms negotiations with the Soviets, and the popularizer of the phrase "win-win." In Cohen's telling, Herbie is a latter-day Buddha preaching a detached philosophy of life as an all-encompassing negotiation in which one should "care, but not that much." A consummate operator, he's forever getting friends out of jams, bluffing his way into snooty restaurants sans reservations, and overflowing with wised-up aphorisms ("The meek shall inherit the earth, but not its mineral rights"). Full of vivid characterizations and sly wit (Herbie insisted on rewriting his son's grade-school reports, "which explains the frequent mention of Bensonhurst and the Brooklyn Dodgers in my schoolwork"), the book also reads as a classic Jewish American striver's saga, following Herbie from prewar Brooklyn--where his pals included future talk show legend Larry King--to the blandness of Chicago's suburbs, to Florida's retiree purgatory. His successes breed neuroses, including an ironically "over-caring" obsession with a bogus plagiarism lawsuit that he battled for years instead of negotiating a win-win settlement. This is a rich and beguiling homage to a larger-than-life father. Photos. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

The New York Times best-selling author of Tough Jews and Monsters, cocreator of the HBO series Vinyl, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and winner of multiple awards, including Chicago Public Library's 21st Century Award--Cohen is a busy man. Here he writes about another busy man, his father, Herbie Cohen, a Brooklyn-born Jewish wheeler dealer, adviser to presidents and corporations, arms and hostage negotiator, profound seeker of justice, and author of the how-to classic You Can Negotiate Anything. With a 75,000-copy first printing. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The eventful life of a renowned strategist. Rolling Stone contributing editor Cohen, who has written about baseball, football, Jewish gangsters, and kids hockey, offers an affectionate portrait of his remarkable father, as amusing as it is tender. Brooklyn-born Herb Cohen, the son of "uneducated Polish émigrés," worked his way up from insurance agent to become an internationally acclaimed expert in the art of the deal. A sought-after speaker, he gave as many as 250 presentations per year in boardrooms, at conventions, and in university lecture halls. He consulted at the departments of State, Justice, and Treasury and at the CIA. He taught FBI agents how to negotiate with terrorists, and he advised Jimmy Carter about negotiating with Iran during the hostage crisis. In 1980, he shared his insights in a self-help book, You Can Negotiate Anything: How To Get What You Want, which sold more than 1 million copies. "At the core," his son writes, "all his lessons were about the same thing: empowerment. He tried to wake people up to the power they had without knowing it. He especially loved advising the underdog, the self-defeated who has been crushed by the institution, the machine." Cohen recounts his father's adolescence in Bensonhurst, where he was part of a raucous yet harmless gang that called itself the Warriors. Among its members was Larry Zeiger, who grew up to become Larry King. All the boys took nicknames: Herb's was Handsomo. He was "a Damon Runyon character, a street corner raconteur," and a man "of tremendous appetites. For comedy, success, love, and food. He was one of those human yo-yos who can gain or drop a hundred pounds in a few months. Binge and fast. Consume and forsake. Sin and repent." A son, brother, husband, and father, Herb was, above all, someone who could never ignore a chance to stand up to authority; he was happiest, his son observed, as "a freelance injustice fighter." A thoroughly entertaining combination of memoir and biography. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.