Ask for More
10 Questions to Negotiate Anything
An instant Wall Street Journal bestseller and “a joy to read” (Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, authors of Difficult Conversations), Ask for More shows that by asking better questions, you get better answers—and better results from any negotiation.
Negotiation is not a zero-sum game. It’s an essential skill for your career that can also improve your closest relationships and your everyday life. Still, people often shy away from it, feeling defeated before they’ve even started. In this groundbreaking new book on negotiation, Alexandra Carter—Columbia law professor and mediation expert who has helped students, business professionals, the United Nations, and more—offers a straightforward accessible approach anyone can use to ask for and receive more.
We’ve been taught incorrectly that the loudest and most assertive voice prevails in any negotiation, or otherwise, both sides compromise, ending up with less. Instead, Carter shows that you get far more value by asking the right questions of the person you’re negotiating with than you do from arguing with them. She offers a simple yet powerful ten-question framework for successful negotiation where both sides emerge victorious. Carter’s proven method extends far beyond one “yes” and instead creates value that lasts a lifetime.
Ask for More is “like having a negotiation coach in your corner” (Linda Babcock, author of Women Don’t Ask) and gives you the tools to bring clarity and perspective to any critical discussion, no matter the topic.
Carter, director of the Columbia Law School Mediation Clinic, recasts the art of negotiation as one of smart listening rather than adversarial demands in her convincing if sometimes clunky debut. Carter devotes the book's first half to five questions to ask oneself (e.g. "What's the problem I need to solve?"; "How have I handled this successfully in the past?"), and the second to five questions to ask the other party (e.g. "What do you need?"; "What are your concerns?"). For introspective questions, she advises setting aside some time less than half an hour, she writes, should be sufficient to clarify one's intentions before heading into a negotiation. In general, Carter advises asking open-ended questions, to elicit introspection rather than self-justification. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the book's instructions is blunted by some opaque metaphors (asking an effective question is like landing a plane, rather than keeping it "in the air while circling the airport") and by stilted dialogue in otherwise helpful examples of real-life negotiations (such as asking the boss for a raise, or budgeting a home-improvement project with a contractor). Those with the patience to cut through the weaker material will be rewarded with an insightful compilation of advice.