Review Betting the
Company: Complex Negotiation Strategies
for Law and Business by Andrew Trask & Andrew DeGuire; Oxford
University Press, 2013.
Life is negotiation.
Whether negotiating something as simple as whether to have that second
donut for breakfast, negotiating a work deadline, deciding with your colleagues
where to eat for lunch or negotiating your salary, we are all faced with daily
decisions that must be negotiated, both simple and more complex. In business transactions and litigation, however,
negotiations can become extremely complex with multiple entities, conflicting
personalities, cultural differences, short timelines and a wide variety of
issues and problems to be solved. It can
be extremely difficult for a company or business team to juggle these many
moving parts to come to a resolution that is beneficial for all parties and in
which each party feels they got what they most wanted in a deal. It can take years to master the craft of successful
complex negotiation. In Betting the Company: Complex Negotiation Strategies for Law and
Business, authors Andrew Trask and Andrew DeGuire, both highly
knowledgeable consultants and negotiators with over 30 years of combined
experienced, attempt to tear apart the myriad pieces of complex negotiations to
help the reader recognize the key parts and best methods for overcoming difficult
negotiations to achieve the best results.
Rather than creating a work that should be read from
cover-to-cover, the authors have split the book into two distinct parts with
chapters further broken down into distinct elements. It is designed to allow the reader to easily
identify specific negotiation issues to help them in dealing with problems they
might encounter in their own negotiations.
The first part identifies the various elements of complex negotiation
and offers practical suggestions for dealing with the problems and issues
related to these elements. The second
part offers a framework for conducting different types of complex negotiations. It includes discussion of multi-national regulatory
and intercultural issues as well as the importance of proper intelligence
gathering and analysis.
While quite thorough in covering the topic with several
practical, real-world examples to illustrate the elements being described, it
could have used more. Unless the reader
is already well-versed in complex negotiation (making this book unnecessary),
it is important to give the novice and intermediate negotiator stories to
assist in making connections which will help them better understand this
This book would be a helpful addition to a business or law
firm library collection, especially for those who are either new or
inexperienced negotiators. It can be an
excellent tool for an experienced law firm partner to give to a young associate
or for a senior executive to pass on to a new team member to bring them up to
speed on specific negotiation issues without forcing them to read the whole
book. (Having read the book start to
finish, I can verify that it is a slog and not something that is easy to read
cover-to-cover, even at only around 300 pages.
It is best digested in discreet bits as the authors intended.) In addition, it can be an important reminder
to experienced negotiators of the many moving parts involved in a negotiation
so they can avoid pitfalls and offer guidance to less-experienced associates.
Though we all faced negotiation on a daily basis, it is rare
for most people, beyond extremely experienced practitioners, to deal with
complex negotiations. On those rare
occasions, Betting the Company is a
beneficial tool for understanding and effectively dealing with the issues inherent
in closing complex deals.