comfort books

comfort books

Book Summary: Negotiation Genius Written by Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman

Posted on May 16, 2018 in Uncategorized

Negotiation is at the heart of human communication. Think about it. Most conversations are a sale in the making. You are either selling to a yes or accepting a no in everything you do. At work this shows up in what you do, how you do and what you get paid. All of these facets are negotiable. Deepak and Max go far beyond the Win/Win, Win/Lose and Lose/Win mentality and show how to create value. The whole goal of the book can be summed up in a quote by Emerson: “Man Hopes; Genius Creates”

Why is this important to me?
I start all of the book summaries with this question because if we cannot answer it then there is no sense in wasting your time watching the video. People do anything to avoid pain and gain pleasure. When in the middle they attain their COMFORT ZONE! The comfort zone may be the only place where good negotiation is not needed. Otherwise you need to know how to negotiate – PERIOD. This book will show you how.

Win/Win is seen as the ultimate end to good negotiations. Is it the best outcome? Negotiation genius will show that it is not always the best outcome. Amateur negotiators pull at each side of the rubber band hoping it does not break before they can come to an agreement or settlement. This is claiming value in a nutshell. Johnny wants to pay only $50,000 and Jane wants $100,000. Typically, they meet somewhere in the middle at $75,000. Claiming value is not nearly as powerful as creating value which we will examine in more depth.

Deepak and Max break down the book into 3 sections. I will cover portions of each section for the sake of time. Claiming value is the first part. Claiming Value – is when each party tries to gain the most out of negotiations for themselves.

1. BANTA – Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement! Identify all of your best options. Do your homework and prepare
2. RV – Reservation Value – This is your walk away point. Understanding BANTA allows you to really know what your Reservation Value.
3. ZOPA – is the ZONE of Possible Agreement – This is the spread between sells reservation value or walk away point and the buyer’s reservation value.

Common negotiation mistakes are as follows: 1.) You made the first offer when you were not in a strong position. 2) You made a first offer that was not sufficiently aggressive. 3.) You talked but did not listen 4.) You tried to influence the other party but did not try to learn. 5.) You did not challenge your assumptions about the other party. 6.) You miscalculated the ZOPA and did not reevaluate it during the negotiation. 7.) You made greater concessions than the other party.

Contingency Contracts are designed to draw out lies and deception as well as extremes in any contact. They leave certain elements of the deal unresolved until uncertainty is resolved in the future.
Silence – be comfortable with silence. Just remind yourself that if you speak when it is their turn, you will be paying by the word.

Investigative negotiation is just what it says. Probe and ask questions to gather information. How can we get information so we can create value, resolve conflicts, and reach efficient agreements?

1.) Trust is critical in all relationships. You can have a weak agreement with good people and have a great outcome. You can also have a rock solid agreement with bad people and have a terrible outcome. Trust is the glue that holds the deal together after it is done. Sharing information can help you gather information.

2.) Negotiate issues simultaneously – When you do this then more information is shared and the dialogue is more open. Once people are comfortable with you then they will dump more information.

3.) Ask good questions and LISTEN – If you take nothing else from this video review then this one piece of advice will serve you well. Asking open ended questions in their TERMS like “Why”, “Tell me more”, “Can you be more specific” will allow you to get a full spectrum of what they are concerned about, what is important to them and what areas are NOT important to them.

The power of questions can be mind blowing. Think about if Microsoft wanted to buy your software company. You value it at three times revenue which is $15 million dollars. If you accept this offer with knowing all you can know then this may be good enough. What if because of their distribution that they will be able to generate $100 million per year in revenue with your software. Don’t you think they would pay you more? They could pay you triple your price. The key here is knowledge. Understand why they want to buy and the consequences if they don’t and this will yield exponential results.

Several principles are critical for you to learn. Remember that in any negotiation if you get a No, don’t accept it. Your goal is to understand “Why NOT”. Once you do you may be able to open it back up and get to a yes.

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.

One thing you can take away from this book is don’t accept NO. Instead ask why!

The Comfort Zone

Posted on May 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

“Writers are the most important part of the making of a motion picture.” ~Irvine Thalberg, head of MGM 60+ years ago. He added, “And we must do everything in our power to prevent them from finding out.” *1

As with writing a novel/short/play or screenplay (script) a writer needs to have his *2 own time to write. He has to create a place where he can feel comfortable. Each person is different and we all make time for writing. Many people drag themselves out of bed at god-awful hours and write for 1 or 2 or 3 hours before:

a) returning back to bed

b) getting ready for work.

c) getting the rest of the family ready

For me, it is not like this at all. I prefer being awake late at night and writing. The only difference is holidays, where I spend most of the day writing. My previous place of employment took most of my time from 9AM to 1230AM six days a week. Not having enough home time for writing, I was forced to find time during the working hours. I did find the time (small breaks here and there) but I never actually got a lot done during those times (on the odd occasion I did hit the flow) as I wasn’t comfortable there for writing.

We all need our comfort zone. Mine at the moment is a small spare room I use as an office and reading room when we don’t have a guest staying the night. There is a laptop on the desk with external keyboard and mouse. A small shelf with three dictionaries. The walls are bare. There are two large soft chairs in the room for reading time. I like my office. It has become my comfort zone. This is where I can write for hours, listening to the same MP3’s as my fingers (hopefully) dance a jig on the keyboard.

The Comfort Zone is a place where you as a writer must find. I cannot help you with that, nor will I even try. The place doesn’t have to be quiet. I know a writer who writes after work in the living room. His imagination battles with the TV, 3 small kids, a wife and a cranky mother-in-law and a dog. This is not his place of choice–it is his only place. And his muse accepts this location. There is no choice in the matter. He has now become so used to this location he cannot concentrate at a cafe or park or other place.

I know another write who can only write in total silence, with no one around.

Once you have this place, it is up to you to make it a habit of writing there every day. Some people say you have to write at the same time, every single day without fail; others claim setting a word count is best, or a page count (one page a day equals one book a year), while other writers/artists say, “Only work when you are inspired.”*3

I think it is up to the individual person to find what works best for them.

Do you have the will power to set a time and stick to it no matter what happens? Can you block out the sounds around you to clearly hear your muse? Are you inspired on a regular/daily basis?

If you can achieve this…great. If you can do it long enough so it becomes a routine — a habit — excellent! That is totally awesome. You rock! *side note* Once you create a habit, you’re all set for writing because as we all know habits are damn hard to break. Take smoking for example: I believe it is 10% addiction and 90% habit. I have been smoke free for almost 5 months now, yet I still get the twitchy fingers and the sudden urge to lite-up. And according to Net research it could be up to or longer than a year before I start to forget. This can be for writing as well. If you have a habit, a routine that you have stuck with for over a year or more, and you are suddenly forced from it for more than a day or two — something feels wrong with your day, doesn’t it. Something is just not right.

You must create this habit if you want to pump out book after book or screenplay after screenplay. I used to use a word count. I never left my desk until I reached it. Sometimes it was hard and other times it was easy, but I kept my butt firmly planted on the chair until I reached the magic number. Often times I would receive an Instant Message from a buddy and I would spew the writing day woes as I still tried to work to that number. My IM Buddy would say, “Take a break/go for a walk/relax a bit/watch some TV and then get back to it.” Alternatively, My IM Buddy was telling me to write when I’m rested and inspired. I’m sorry buddy, but I have X amount of words to write everyday and I will force my way though it.

*side note* This works for me, may not work for everyone. My word count was 2000 a day or ten pages. I am hoping to return to these magic numbers now I am getting settled at my new place. My butt is adjusting to this firm chair with a broken backrest and the ideas are starting to return.

All I need to do now is to make a new routine. Routine? Didn’t you just say you didn’t use a routine–you used a word count?

That’s correct, I did say that. But note that i also said that I have X amount of words to write every day. When I wrote Shadow of the Moon/Gonzo Girls/The Last Church/Sixth Dimension, I wrote after work every evening for 2 solid hours Mon-Fri and for a few hours every Saturday and Sunday (this was a long time before my last teaching job). I used a Time Routine with a fixed Word Count Requirement.

Now that my fingers are hurting*4, let’s re-cap:

1) find a Comfort Zone

2) set a time and word count

3) never stop until you reach that word count or time frame or both

4) don’t write when you feel inspired–write every damn day.

Have you heard of Dean Koontz? How about Stephen King? Well, they both have a set writing routine. Koontz writes in the morning 9-12, east lunch and then from1-5 he edits what he has just finished writing. King on the other hand, writes in the morning, takes a nap, goes for a walk and then writes again.

We need to set up this consistency. Writing is a job and it is one of the hardest professions out there. You wouldn’t call your boss and say, “I don’t feel inspired to work today, see you later.” No. You’d be fired, right.

You need to write every day. Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” I don’t believe this (a discussion for another time), but you must get that first draft done. And to do it, you may need to find a Comfort Zone and think, what if…?

*1 Source: Julius J. Epstein, screen writer, Casablanca. FOREWORD How to Write a Selling Screen-play ~ Christopher Keane (c)1998.

*2 I will often use the masculine form when writing articles. I do not wish to offend, just simplify.

*3 If I only wrote when I felt inspired, I would never have finished my first book, not the 4 which followed.

*4 😉


Science Fiction Books – Discover the Mesmerising Truths

Posted on April 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without any fear. They allow a man’s mind to get both provocation and privacy. There is also a great difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read. One should have the natural penchant for reading books as this healthy habit would enhance his vocabulary power and expressions skills also to a great extent.

Books are generally categorised into several genres among which the science fiction forms a distinct and most appreciable position. If you have inclination towards unearthly objects and adventurous mysteries then these genre of books would comfortably satiate all your fantastic thoughts.

Science Fiction Books have inspired many well known directors to make films such as Terminator, Matrix etc. These books deal with a wide variety of fantastic imagination which readily incite the curiosity of the readers to know more.

These books are specially written to appease the desire and the curiosity of the readers. Moreover, the depiction of aliens, fast forward time zone etc excite the reader to explore the unlimited boundaries of the creativity. You get to known a great many things of the galaxies, meteors and also twisted concepts of time and fortune etc.

These books comfortably transfer the reader to certain imaginative islands where both the evil and the go characters are extraordinary beings with whom you can also relate yourself. However, with these extraordinary characters one can easily depict the type of society or people that will be in future.

The Science Fiction Books are rapidly gaining momentum due to their varied typical characteristics. Almost every year, you can find a new collection of these genres of books. As they mesmerise the readers with amazing storyline and plots, they comfortably enhance their imagination power and extravagant skills.

You would never get tired of reading such books because every page has something new and astounding to reveal. Some of the famous books of this genre are ” The Time Machine” and “Gravity”, which are still popular among the masses. These books amazingly suck the reader into the story. One would find it difficult to leave the book without turning the pages and discovering the mysteries.