Book Giveaway: The Swordless Samurai by Tim Clark

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 15, 2008 · 132 comments

in Blog

Yesterday, Tim Clark wrote a fantastic guest post on the 8 Virtues of the Samurai. In the post, Tim discussed the history of Hideyoshi, a peasant who rose through the ranks of the samurai and became the supreme ruler in Japan during the 16th century. Unlike his contemporaries, Hideyoshi sought to overcome his adversaries peaceably, through negotiation and alliance building rather than through brute force. Lacking physical strength and fighting skills, he naturally chose to rely on wits rather than weapons, on strategy over swords. Hyedoshi became the swordless samurai. In his latest book, The Swordless Samurai: Leadership Wisdom of Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Legend—Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tim shows readers the leadership lessons Hideyoshi left behind. While the wisdom of Hideyoshi is nearly 500 years old, it’s just as applicable today.

We’re giving away three copies of Tim’s latest book, The Swordless Samurai, to a three lucky Art of Manliness readers. Want to know how you can win? Read on.

How to Enter

One of the main themes in The Swordless Samurai is using negotiation instead of brute force to get what you want. Negotiating with the goal of arriving at a win-win conclusion is a difficult task. So we want to hear your tips and advice on how to gain influence in business and in life through negotiation and persuasion. Have a technique you’d like to share? What’s your philosophy in approaching a negotiation? Have an experience you’d like to share where you were able to use persuasion to arrive at a win/win resolution? Leave a comment sharing your best advice and experiences and you’ll be entered to win.

Deadline to enter is Monday, September 22 at 10PM Central Standard Time.

We’ll randomly select three comments and give the book to those three lucky individuals.

We’re looking forward to reading your tips!

{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Chris W September 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

I’ve found that an unbiased third party is a great way to catalyze healthy negotiations between mature adults. The more open, honest, and blunt the third party is, the better. Ideally, they would be able to point out areas where the others see eye-to-eye and areas where they just won’t be able to get what they want.

102 Dave Z. September 18, 2008 at 10:58 am

The key, as far as I’m concerned, is empathy. In order to understand an opposing point of view, one must put themselves in the others shoes. Empathy is something we have on short supply today, it seems. Understanding opposing viewpoints is not only necessary but fundamental in truly understanding the core of any issue.

103 Nick September 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

It’s important to be able to prioritize what you need to gain and what you can afford to lose in a negotiation. While most superb negotiators will be able to do this mentally, beginners can benefit by ordering their priorities on paper, (if it’s a negotiation for things you desire) or ordering the things they absolutely cannot have (if it’s a negotiation of prevention).

Congrats to the book winners!

104 Matt September 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm

Every once in a while go into a negotiation with no intention of closing the deal.

It might seem like a waste of time but its amazing how much power that kind of detachment gives you.

105 Ryan September 19, 2008 at 5:31 am

Politeness is always essential to a negotiation, while some aggressiveness may be required, if you come off as a bully the other party may back away from the table.

106 Gavin September 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

As the stance is the basic foundation of all martial arts internal harmony, or Rectitude, is the basis of all negotiation.

It is just as impossible to make an effective argument while trying to convince the other person and yourself as it would be to fight with swords on one leg.
If you, yourself, are not sure that your point is true and just then your own motives must not be pure and all other virtues won’t be genuine and will become a hindrance rather then a help.

Once you know that your actions are for the benefit of everyone, not just your own selfish goals, there is no longer any winning and losing; negotiations become two people working together toword a common goal.

As an example negotiating salary or a pay increase with greed as a driving force only becomes a contest of whose greed is larger; instead when you know, and discuss, what benefits you bring to a company what is good for you is now good for them and everyone is enriched as opposed to a victor and a loser.

107 Jeremy September 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm

It is summarily important to remember that all men are given the option of going your way or doing something else. Respect for that fact, can often influence men to listen to your point of view and incline them to follow you.

108 Geet September 20, 2008 at 3:35 am

“A good katana is the one left in its saya.”
“The tongue is more to be feared than the sword”.

Negotiation is a specialized and formal version of conflict resolution most frequently employed when important issues must be agreed upon.

When it comes to entrepreneurial talents that spell success in the world of startups, the ability to negotiate well is one of the most vital attributes you can possess. Take care to develop this skill. Some people think they are good negotiators, but in reality are not. From bringing in good people, to arranging financing or nailing that first big deal, sound negotiating techniques will be essential.

Business is negotiation. You will negotiate to buy, to sell, to conclude contracts with suppliers, to fix the staff salaries and so on. What is more, you have to negotiate with regulators, Banks, Insurances. It means that the business life is a permanent negotiation with others people who are defending their own interests.

109 Carlos September 20, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Without having much chances of real negotiation, anyway one of the best advices I have heard is, as said here also, listen carefully. And the other is looking for creative solutions that can satisfy both sides.

110 Blake September 20, 2008 at 10:25 pm

My main experience with negotiation and persuasion comes from the university setting, and can be summed up with the following, which has greatly aided my pursuit and achievement of a degree in philosophy:
Know the difference between an argument and an assertion.
Present your ideas in a natural order, starting with reliable premises.
Be efficient.
Utilize representative examples, while considering counterexamples.
Use informed sources that have been cross-checked.
Avoid logical fallacies, both common and complex.
Demonstrate the utmost charity towards the other, demonstrating a desire for mutual edification.

111 Levi September 21, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Set realistic expectations of the limit of the compromise
Be able to see all sides of the situation
Have a defined order or progression of your argument
Be willing to devise a new strategy

112 David September 21, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Make friends with your competition, and you will be unstoppable.

113 Thursday Bram September 21, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Start with the best result in mind. If you know what you want (and what you’re willing to settle for) negotiation is much easier than if you only have a vague idea of wher you want to go.

114 Lawrence M September 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm

There are many practical and slick tactics in negotiation, but before we can get there, we need to build a relationship with the other party. Many times when we think of negotiations, we think of the other party as the enemy. They have something we want but we want to give them the bare minimum of what we have. With those sentiments, it’s difficult for the other party to trust us. Most negotiations fail because the other person feels like he’s getting screwed. Sure we might win a huge contract screwing over the other guy, but it’s unlikely that he’ll ever want to do business with us again.

Why do we take clients golfing? Why do we network at happy hours? Why do we talk to our bosses at the watercooler? We want them to see not only that there’s a human behind that suit we wear – someone with families and responsibilities – but we want to show that we recognize their humanity as well.

In short, don’t try to screw anyone over. When you tell him where you stand, he’ll do his best to make something work for you.

115 KrisK September 21, 2008 at 8:15 pm

1) Listen
2) use silence to your benefit. If you find things not going your way, stop talking and let the other party run out of things to say before you continue.

116 Feli Galker September 22, 2008 at 12:22 am

Even when in an emotional turmoil, we must remember that those who do not understand us or agree with us are not stupid. They have the wiseness of their own.
Especially when in an emotional turmoil, we must keep in mind that our counterparts do not hate us, they just happen to love themselves better.

117 Michael Frasier September 22, 2008 at 12:57 am

There’s an old saying, “You can accomplish anything if you don’t care who gets the credit.” In my management style, I always listen first to what the other person wants or needs and acknowledge their position. Then, I bring them closer to my position using their own goals as a guide. Once we achieve some resolution, no matter how small, I praise their efforts and contributions. This makes them more likely to want to work with me next time.

118 Bill September 22, 2008 at 7:02 am

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal in all negotiations, and general conversation, is simply to ask questions. The next time you meet someone, or engage in a “negotiation warfare,” try to finish the entire process without uttering one single declarative statement. Only ask questions. And lots and lots of them. So many, that it seems as if no amount of input from the other party is enough for you to make a decision about them or the item at hand. See what happens. You’ll be amazed at how well you come out in the end. It was Teddy Roosevelt’s secret weapon.

119 Mike Reynolds September 22, 2008 at 8:28 am

Body Language is incredibly important during any social interactions, but doubly so during negotiations. Eye contact can be used to your advantage, specifically maintaining eye contact for a longer duration that one would typically use in a business setting. Longer eye contact is typically involved in highly emotional interactions such as those between intimate partners or very close friends. Use of longer eye contact in a business atmosphere will provide those high intimacy cues and will promote higher levels of cooperation within the negotiation.

120 Frank September 22, 2008 at 9:32 am

Several of the techniques I’ve always used have been mentioned — kindness, sincerity and staying calm are all excellent tools.

What I try to do, whenever possible, is to make the other person think that what I’m asking for is actually what they’ve wanted all along. Not always easy to do, but if you’re logical and quick thinking, it can be wonderfully satisfying to achieve your goal by making someone else think that it fits right in with their plans.

Also, don’t be afraid to push back when necessary. In a job performance review, I had a manager who collected peer input. One co-worker and I did not get along, and when being reviewed I could tell which pieces of negative feedback had come from him. Having nothing to lose, I decided to push back forcefully on my manager to see if she would back down on that piece of info. To my surprise, she did. I pushed back on all the rest of them except one — which illustrates another good negotation point: Don’t go to the well one too many times.

121 Michael September 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Excellent timing Brett, I’m competing in a negotiation competition at school this semester and have found it really interesting.

I think, as cheesy as it sounds, the Steven Covey idea of “seek first to understand and then to be understood” is really important in any negotiation and is essential to everyone walking away without feeling like they got “taken.”

So many disputes seem to come from not actually understanding what the other side wants.

122 Laura September 22, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Four Points of Wisdom for life that definitely apply to negotiations and general interactions. From Don Miguel Ruiz’s book the Four Agreements.
1) Be Impeccable With Your Word
2) Don’t Take Anything Personally
3)Don’t Make Assumptions
4)Always Do Your Best

123 Tim M September 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm

these tactics have worked well for me in a number of situations,



and if that doesn’t work A SWIFT PUNCH TO THE THROAT or KICK IN THE SHIN have done wonders.

124 Bryan J September 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Do not automatically blurt out the first response to come to your mind. It will often be inflammatory. Take a moment, briefly, to organize a coherent, thoughtful response to the other person to whom you are speaking.

125 Frank Leveque October 26, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I read this somewhere, but I don’t use it much because i think its slightly manipulative. Car salesmen and other people in similar fields ask the potential customer a series of simple questions, like “do you want coffee”, “aint she a beauty”, etc….in order to get the customer to say yes alot.

When the customer says yes alot they are more inclined to continue saying yes and when the salesman puts his pitch out and tries to sell, is more likely to sell to that person. Its some kind of psychology thing.


126 Jonathan November 29, 2008 at 6:09 pm

It has been said, “know yourself and your enemy, and you will win every time-know yourself and not your enemy, you may win, you may lose- know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will lose every time”
My advice is, before you enter into a negotiation situation, have your facts straight and know your possible weaknesses, so you can be prepared for whatever is thrown at you.

127 Skitch Hodgson February 3, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Go into any negotiation with the knowledge that you’re going to have your point put across clearly and it WILL be heard no matter what. Sometimes if you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re probably right.

128 RS February 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Study what you are going to say beforehand, go into the discussion with a positive mindset, and reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. Sometimes in order to gain, you must lose. Simple yet effective.

129 Robert February 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm

listen first, think about what they’re saying and THEN speak….never go in like a bull…you’ll lose one way or another Iif not initially, then in the end)

130 Phil Anderson March 3, 2009 at 8:28 am

I need this book! Don’t make me stop this car! Don’t make me come down there!

131 Fred Putnam March 11, 2009 at 7:24 am

In their book, Metaphors We Live By, Lakoff and Johnson note that our cultural assumption (our basic metaphor) is that /argument is war/. Hence, “Who won?”, “I defended my point!”, “That was a salient argument.”, “Did you run out of ammo?”, and the like. They then ask how we would understand a culture in which people of different opinions confront each other with the assumption /’argument’ is a dance/ (I simplify). How would that change our understanding of what we were doing, how we ought to do it, and what we hoped to get out of it?

Furthermore, what if we entered an ‘argument’ with the goal of making our ‘argument partner’ look as good as possible (as dance partners should)? What would happen? Might we generate more light and less heat?

I was just wondering.

132 Mr. Tora August 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Put yourself in the opposition’s shoes. Know your opposition and pre perceive the offer, so that when a deal is offered you will be well prepared for anything. Having keen insights and quick knowledge is always a winning combination.

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