Book: The Bartering Mindset






Ever wonder why negotiating is so hard—why many of us don’t get the critical raise, can’t convince the teenager to get home on time, and never leave the car dealer feeling particularly good? According to The Bartering Mindset, the answer lies all around us—in our many daily monetary transactions. In particular, the book suggests that our daily exposure to money leads us to use think about negotiations as monetary transactions (adopt a “monetary mindset”), which prompts us to make counterproductive assumptions about negotiation and thus negotiate badly.

So is everyone in a monetary economy fated to fail? Luckily not, since money is far from the only metaphor we can use to think about negotiations. The Bartering Mindset argues that by thinking about negotiations as bartering trades instead (adopting the “bartering mindset”), we can all learn to negotiate better and more productively. And it trains readers to do just that by following a simple, five-step process. Ultimately, The Bartering Mindset recalls a “mostly forgotten” mindset that can make even the most challenging, money-focused negotiations negotiable.

Praise for The Bartering Mindset

“This book does something highly unusual: it offers insights about negotiation that are both novel and useful. Brian Gunia is an expert on how we can get better at bargaining through bartering, and the studies and stories he shares in this engaging read are well worth your time.”

  • Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

“Brian Gunia has achieved a difficult and very valuable trifecta. He has leavened important insights from behavioral psychology, and relevant frameworks from negotiating theory, with intensely practical problem solving know how. The result is an innovative but pragmatic ‘how to’ guide to significantly improve negotiating outcomes. Borrowing from his pleasantly accessible writing style: he has helped me to unleash my inner ‘Bart’!”

  • David E. Meen, Director Emeritus, McKinsey & Company, Inc.

“In the decades since Getting to Yes, fresh perspectives on negotiation have been exceedingly rare. By combining ideas from bartering and the psychology of money, The Bartering Mindset offers a totally new perspective on negotiation. It shows, in surprisingly simple language, how to think differently about negotiations in order to negotiate more effectively. The Bartering Mindset is the go-to book for anyone hoping to master their next negotiation.”

  • Jeanne Brett, DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

“Based on my 25 years leading large-scale organizational transformations, I can tell you that The Bartering Mindset should help you solve your organization’s most pressing problems, which often involve creatively addressing the needs of your people. Building on his own impressive body of research and others’, Gunia shows you how to create real and lasting change in your organization in practice—not just in theory—particularly by helping you figure out what’s in it for your people. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to make organizational life negotiable!”

  • Michael Evangelides, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

The Bartering Mindset is a transformative book that will lead everyone, from scholars to practitioners, to look at all negotiations in a new light. Gunia shows how adopting a new frame, a new lens on negotiations can put people in the right mindset for success. If there is one book you’ll need to prepare for negotiation, this is it!

  • Adam Galinsky, bestselling author of Friend & Foe and Chair of the Management Division, Columbia Business School

The Bartering Mindset is a powerful and strategic mindset for successful negotiations and achieving your goals. It offers a pathbreaking and eminently actionable take on the negotiations of the future. You’ll thank yourself for reading it—I did!”

  • Dan Givol, Product Strategy, Capital One

“Almost all of the research and advice on negotiation has been dominated by a ‘money’ mindset—that is, negotiations are about money and other economic outcomes. Marshaling decades of evidence, Gunia persuasively shows us that negotiation has neglected the world of bartering as an important alternative perspective. In the process, he offers a set of tools and strategies (including multiple, real-world applications) that can truly make the lessons from negotiation training stick. Importantly, his methodology also provides a playbook for mastering the multi-party, multi-issue negotiations so common in the real world. I would urge negotiators and negotiation scholars alike take a close look at The Bartering Mindset.”

  • Roy J. Lewicki, Irving Abramowitz Memorial Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

“Whether they’re dealing with change, grappling with resource constraints, or adapting to turbulent times, leaders and managers everywhere will find guidance (and even hope) in this book. I particularly like how Gunia trains the reader to negotiate with a wide variety of people at the same time—rare in negotiation books but critical in organizations!”

  • Paula Falat, Change Management Executive and Speaker

“So true to bartering as I know it! An accomplished scholar and teacher, Gunia pulls back the curtain on barter, showing the world how to thrive by thinking in terms of trades. A must-read for anyone who wants to discover the magic of bartering!”

  • Laurie Sossa, Founder, CEO, Southern Barter Club

To read negotiation expert Georg Berkel’s full-length review of The Bartering Mindset, please click here.

Comparing the Monetary and Bartering Mindsets

The monetary mindset is a competitive, fixed-pie view of the world that supports distributive negotiation. The bartering mindset is a cooperative and creative view of the world that supports integrative negotiation.

You’ll Like The Bartering Mindset if You’re a…

Negotiation researcher or teacher frustrated by…

  • The same tired perspectives on integrative negotiation. It sometimes seems like all negotiation writing is an addendum to Getting to Yes. Are you hankering for a fresh perspective that can stimulate new research and make integrative negotiation more comprehensible in the classroom? The Bartering Mindset provides that.
  • The shortage of reliable readings on how to prepare for negotiations. The Bartering Mindset provides a simple yet comprehensive framework to guide your students through the preparation process.
  • The shortage of reliable guidance on multiparty negotiation. The Bartering Mindset offers a set of cutting-edge strategies for interacting with many parties simultaneously, and ultimately for sealing the best deal across the market.

Leader, manager, or employee frustrated by…

  • Your weakness at the bargaining table. The Bartering Mindset teaches you to negotiate powerfully regardless of your resources or organizational authority. You’ll learn to command other people’s attention simply by offering to fulfill their fundamental needs.
  • The focus of many negotiation books on a single counterpart. As you probably know, negotiations in the real world often involve many interrelated parties. So why do so many negotiation books focus on just one? The Bartering Mindset trains you to manage many counterparts at the same time, and ultimately to identify a powerful deal spanning numerous partners.
  • Your inability to find win-win solutions. The Bartering Mindset shows you why win-win negotiating is so hard: because few of us know how to adopt the right mindset. More importantly, it instills a powerful pattern of thinking—the bartering mindset—that can help you find win-win solutions routinely.

Normal person frustrated by…

  • The accumulation of everyday problems. Everyday problems pile up when we try to solve them one-at-a-time, or not at all. While no book can offer all the answers, The Bartering Mindset provides a framework for ridding yourself of several interrelated problems at the same time.
  • Your lack of influence or money. The Bartering Mindset shows you to identify your own hidden sources of value and trade them in exchange for newfound impact or resources.
  • The overwhelming array of books and online resources on negotiation. By offering a birds-eye view of several different schools of thought—then sketching out a new one—The Bartering Mindset provides an ideal starting point for readers new to negotiation.

Chapters of The Bartering Mindset

  • Chapter 1: Introduces the monetary mindset and describes why it’s problematic in the negotiations needed to solve your most important problems
  • Chapter 2: Immerses you in a bartering economy, introducing the bartering mindset and a five-step process for applying it today
  • Chapter 3: Uses an example about a struggling small business to walk you through the first step for applying the bartering mindset today—deeply and broadly defining your needs and offerings
  • Chapter 4: Extends the example to discuss the second and third steps for applying the bartering mindset today—mapping out the full range of transaction partners, and the full range of their possible needs and offerings
  • Chapter 5: Extends the example to discuss the fourth step for applying the bartering mindset today—anticipating the most powerful set of partnerships across the market
  • Chapter 6: Extends the example to discuss the fifth step for applying the bartering mindset today—cultivating the most powerful set of partnerships across the market
  • Chapter 7: Provides several practical offer-making strategies for integrating the bartering mindset with the monetary mindset in modern negotiations
  • Chapter 8: Answers ten common questions about and/or potential objections to the bartering mindset
  • Chapter 9: Briefly summarizes the book’s key messages and offers three exercises to help the bartering mindset stick