Power is undeniably an important element of every negotiation. Be it operating on the same power-level in a flat hierarchy, or establishing a high-power position to dominate one's counterpart, understanding power and ways to achieve it are key qualities of successful negotiators.
Robert Greene's (1998) "The 48 Laws of Power" is a classic among the books touching on the topic, but it remains hotly debated even today. Sometimes referred to as "the psychopaths' bible" , Greene's book offers advice on establishing power that is really not a good read for the faint-hearted.
Indeed, his suggestions such as to "discover each man's thumbscrew" and use it freely (law 33), or to "pose as a friend, work as a spy" (law 14)  should be taken with a grain of salt. Indeed, some of Greene's suggestions are not only morally questionable, but may prove to be counterproductive in negotiations. Take law 14 again: spying on one's allies is ultimately not going to go unnoticed, and upon discovery will seriously damage the working relationship between the parties involved, rendering future collaboration difficult at best. However, when considering law 14 carefully, we can strip it down to great negotiating advice: transparently gathering "intelligence" on one's allies' interests and positions, and sharing this information with others is vital for mediating in negotiations. Where is the difference between a spy and a mediator? Clearly, the underlying intentions differ widely, and so does the modus operandi.
Our bottom line: each of the 48 laws of power has the capability to offer great advice on modulating the power-flow of a negotiation. Each one should be pondered carefully, both for its moral implications, possibilities of backfiring, and opportunities to be channeled into constructive, inclusive negotiating advice.
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