Getting to Yes

I recently finish reading the book Getting to Yes (Fisher, Ury and Patton, 2012, 204 pages), and I can say that I am very pleased with it.

Before commenting on the book, though, it is important to point that the title can be misleading: one can read it as “getting the other side to say yes to what you want out of a negotiation”. And this is all the book is not about.

The book, which was written by some of the minds behind the Harvard Negotiation Project, talks mainly about the framework of principled negotiation. Meaning that instead of endless and ineffective time spent bargaining over positions, negotiators should give a step back and select some objective criteria under which the negotiation should proceed. By doing this, allied with a healthy separation between people and problem, negotiators can discover each other’s deep interests and come up with innovative and elegant solutions to the negotiated issues.

The basic assumption here, which seems pretty solid to me, is that in most of the cases, when all interests are explicit, it is possible to find out some common ground that satisfies all parts involved on a negotiation. And if not, the book also points to the need of developing a good BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated solution).

So, although some parts seem repetitive and commonsense, I really recommend reading through this book, since its ideas can be of great value, if practiced, to come to satisfactory outcomes to negotiations, and also preserve the relationships among negotiators.


A new kitchen in Oslo – Part 1: The beginnig

Chronicles about the installation of a new kitchen in the (small) apartment that my wife and I bought in Oslo.

At the end of 2012, my wife and I decided to buy a small apartment (31sqm) in Oslo. What seemed to us a good move, since we could avoid the high rents practiced at this city, turned out to require a considerable amount of extra work to redo the apartment’s integrated kitchen, since the existing one was too small and poorly supplied (lacked freezer, oven, microwave and had only a 2 burner’s cooktop).

So, along the first semester of 2013, we lived a parallel adventure to buy and install a new kitchen, which was intended first to be finished before the date we actually moved in (March 31st).

I say parallel adventure because the adventure of life, of work, of my wife’s pregnancy, of the Norwegian studies and of all the other small occupations of daily life remained the same. Just the kitchen ended up becoming, for some months, the main focus of our attentions.

And why to tell this story about a kitchen? Because it illustrates very well many aspects of our life in Norway. And because many chapters of this adventure took the dimension of a movie, with highs and lows, and with the hope of a happy end!

Well, to conclude this introduction, nothing better than a picture of the old kitchen:

Remember that by kitchen I mean an integrated kitchen. Yes, because the apartment is really small, and therefore there would be no space of a separate-room kind of kitchen.

I soon return with the next chapter!