There have been many books written about negotiation techniques but all of these have been turned on their head by the ability of Donald Trump to make it to the White House. Ignoring all precedents and defying even his own party, he has opened an era where neither tradition nor precedent remains the order of the day. Fake news has become the entertainment watchword in an era where a president can send out his own daily tweets to millions of followers and the world press, and no one is able to preempt his message or know how to respond.
In what would be described negotiation madness, Trump incites confrontation into intransigent situations: opening an American embassy in Jerusalem and provoking a North Korean leader by a silly name, which nevertheless still initiates first-time discussions between north and south. If he doesn’t get his wish through Congress, he pretends to give up, plays the man not the issue, going against what all the negotiation books tell you, then comes in again to get what he wants. At every turn the standards of negotiation need to be rewritten in what has become as much politics as entertainment, ego rather than substance, and this is what is targeted in Peter Nelson’s Negotiation Madness.