Roger Fisher And Negotiation As A 'Fact Of Life' 24:29

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(Nomadic Lass/Flickr)
(Nomadic Lass/Flickr)

"Like it or not, you are a negotiator. Negotiation is a fact of life."

That's how the 1981 best-selling book, "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" begins. "Getting to Yes" was co-authored by Harvard Law professor Roger Fisher who devoted most of his life to studying and resolving conflicts around the world. He's widely known as the founding father of the conflict resolution field, and the co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

Fisher passed away last Saturday at the age of 90. But his legacy survives in big and important ways. From contract disputes between school systems and teachers unions, to political stalemate in Washington, to the decades old challenge of reaching peace in Middle East ... skilled negotiation remains essential.

And no one embodied that skill more than Roger Fisher. From resolving border disputes between Ecuador and Peru, to working for peace in El Salvador, to confronting apartheid in South Africa, Fisher helped re-write the book — literally — on how to negotiate.

Fisher believed that negotiation is almost always better than war — that reaching agreement required separating the people from the problem. And he challenged the orthodoxy that you should never negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers. And while his focus was global, his principals can help people reach agreements at home, at work, in their marriages.


  • William Uryco-author of "Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In"
  • Irma Tyler-Wood, co-founder and partner of the ThoughtBridge consulting firm and a high level negotiations expert


This segment aired on August 30, 2012.