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Faculty Book

Entrepreneurial Negotiation

Samuel Dinnar and Lawrence Susskind  |  November 2018

Understanding and Managing the Relationships that Determine Your Entrepreneurial Success

The great majority of startups fail, and most entrepreneurs who have succeeded have had to bounce back from serious mistakes. Entrepreneurs fumble key interactions because they don’t know how to handle the negotiation challenges that almost always arise. They mistakenly believe that deals are about money when they are much more complicated than that.

This book presents entrepreneurship as a series of interactions between founders, partners, potential partners, investors and others at various stages of the entrepreneurial process - from seed to exit. There are plenty of authors offering ‘tips’ on how to succeed as an entrepreneur, but no one else scrutinizes the negotiation mistakes that successful entrepreneurs talk about with the authors.

As Dinnar and Susskind show, learning to handle emotions, manage uncertainty, cope with technical complexity and build long-term relationships are equally or even more important. This book spotlights eight big mistakes that entrepreneurs often make and shows how most can be prevented with some forethought. It includes interviews with high-profile entrepreneurs about their own mistakes. It also covers gender biases, cultural challenges, and when to employ agents to negotiate on your behalf.

Aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs should pay attention to the negotiation errors that even the most successful entrepreneurs commonly make.


About the Authors:
Samuel Dinnar is an instructor at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, with a 25-year track record as a global entrepreneur, hi-tech executive, board member, and venture capital investor. He is a strategic negotiation advisor and a mediator specializing in business conflicts involving founders, investors, and board members in early-stage, high-growth and distressed companies.

Lawrence Susskind has been an innovator and Professor at MIT for more than forty-five years. He is one of the founders and directors of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and a founder of the Consensus Building Institute. He has trained tens of thousands of students and executives globally, and has published twenty books.