Book Review: “Start With No” by Jim Camp

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Scott Drotar Start With NoIt’s Thursday again, and you all know what that means…”Scott Drotar Literary Review” time! This week I am discussing a book I just finished. I picked it up after finishing Fisher and Ury’s trilogy on negotiation started by “Getting To Yes” (which I reviewed in a previous week). This week’s book is by Jim Camp, the negotiation guru of the day, “Start With No” .

“Start With No” is presented as a book written to show you all of the problems with the win-win, principled negotiating strategies in “Getting To Yes” and offers a new method of negotiation, the Camp System, as an improvement. After reading the book however, it is not so much a criticism of Ury’s win-win system (although Camp definitely takes his jabs), but rather an augmentation of it. I like to think of the Camp System as “win-win on steroids,” because it takes the ideas of principled negotiating and applies them from a more aggressive viewpoint that amplifies their power. Many of the rules he puts forth are also integral parts of win-win negotiating when you objectively break it all down. Regardless of your thoughts on which method is better, the information found in this tome of knowledge is all relevant and useful. It comes at the subject of negotiation from such a primal, aggressive place that makes the information interesting and easy to remember.

The author’s writing style is very informal, yet straightforward, which I really enjoyed and found refreshing within this subject matter. He uses numerous real world examples throughout the book that do a good job of illustrating the key concepts. I will say that it is very much written for a business audience, so some people may find that limiting. However, I am not a businessman, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don’t really have a strong negative to this one, which is why it is receiving a 5 out of 5 on the Roll Models Review Scale.

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