Sunday, March 28, 2004

What does it have to do with Machiavelli?

I've been a long time fan of Roger Fisher ever since reading International Conflict for Beginners, one of many reading assignments in a course called International Conflict and Arms Control. I took this during the time that the Soviet Union was still in power. Perhaps the reason I liked the book so much was that it was the first and lightest of all the readings. And it was easy to understand. The rest were tough going, something I should have know. The honeymoon period to these classes don't last long.

Fisher is know to the general public later by Getting to Yes, published in 1981 and subsequently by others such as Getting Together (my favorite), Difficult Conversations, Getting It Done (another favorite) whom he co-authored.

As also a fan of Niccolo Machiavelli (The Prince, The Art of War, Discourses), I looked forward to reading this book. What I found is a repeat of the many concepts described in International Conflicts for Beginners and Getting to Yes. On the one hand it was a nice review and reminder. On the other, there was not much new. But most disappointing is the lack of additional insight contrasting Machiavelli's approach beyond those implicitly described in International Conflict for Beginners.

Therefore, unless you're a fan as I am of Roger Fisher, you might be annoyed with this book if you had read his previous work. But then, you probably are a fan already if you had. And if this is your first exposure, you wouldn't know enough to complain.

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