Recommended books for mediators, ADR professionals: a brief bibliography

books for adr professionalsThe latest issue of the weekly newsletter links to an article by mediator Barbara Brown which provides a “A Practical Bibliography of Books for the Mediation Practitioner“.

It is a comprehensive list of influential texts for ADR professionals, and I salute Brown for taking the time and thought to compile what is plainly a labor of love. This will undoubtedly be a useful resource for practitioners, and I already looked it over to see if anything essential was missing from my own collection of books on conflict resolution and negotiation.

The one problem is that it’s a very, very long list. With only so much money in the budget for books and limited time to read them, how does a mediator, particularly a new one trying to build a useful reference library, figure out which ones to acquire? That’s a question a number of folks often ask me.

So here’s my short list – absolutely essential titles that mediators and other dispute resolution practitioners should read. (Although it may provoke cries of protest, I do not include Getting to Yes, in part because it’s so obvious but also because it’s on my list for Reading to Complete Before Taking a Mediation Training.)

So…what’s on your short list?

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8 responses to “Recommended books for mediators, ADR professionals: a brief bibliography

  1. Interesting.

    Here are five books in five distinct areas that would be on my short list.

    1. Labour – A behavioral theory of labor negotiations, Walton & McKersie [1965]

    2. Crisis Negotiations – Essence of Decision Explaining the Cuban Crisis, Graham T. Allison [1971]

    3. Strategic Business Problems – Co-Opetition, Branderburger and Nalebuff [1996]

    4. Cognitive Science – Mistakes were Made (But not by me) Travis and Aronson [2007]

    5. General Overview – The Manager as Negotiator Lax and Sebenius, [1986]

    On your short list, I would replace Plous’ excellent overview with his article on Perceptual Dilemma’s and the Arms Race:

    I would also replace Shell with his new book, The Art of Woo. Interesting that on Barbara’s list, 95% of the books are after 1995!

  2. Excellent! Michael, I was hoping I’d hear from you. I knew I could count on you for some great suggestions. Thanks.

  3. If I had to recommend one piece, it would be Plous’s article on perceptual dilemmas, even though it is a theoretically very incomplete.

    Scott thought that US Senators and USSR representatives ascribed different motives regarding the arms race to each other, based upon a survey he sent out.

    While the arms race had been modeled as a prisoner’s dilemma, Scott was intrigued to learn that a) each side believed that the other side would take advantage of a unilateral ratcheting down, and b) but, that each side would prefer not to engage in the arms race.

    Essentially, the two sides were playing two different games, and not realizing it, something Scott called a perceptual dilemma.

    A very worthwhile paradigm to understand for mediators, in my opinion.

  4. Michael, thanks for calling attention to a worthwhile article. FYI, access to the full Plous article requires paid membership. Since I try where possible to ensure that the online content that I link to costs nothing for readers to access, here’s a link to a free version:

    (Got to love Google.)

    Thanks again, Michael. I can always count on you for in-depth content.

  5. Thanks for the link to the free content. I was lazy and just posted the first google search, since I already had my copies. Very bad form, I know.

  6. Here are a few more:
    Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution
    by Kenneth Cloke

    Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate
    by Roger Fisher, Daniel Shapiro

    Bringing Peace Into the Room: How the Personal Qualities of the Mediator Impact the Process of Conflict Resolution
    by Daniel Bowling, David Hoffman

  7. Tom, thanks for the tips. I appreciate it when people weigh in with their favorites!

  8. John Adamsky

    I found a book called “Alternative ways of solving conflicts (ADR)” written in romanian language. (Sustac&Ignat, 2008, Publisher: University, 242 pages). The beginning is nice: “Introduction of mediation and alternative conflict resolution (ADR) in the daily life of the Western world is not just a change of procedure, but is a change in the culture and mentality. Mediation is a fundamental change in the level of mentality and a major progress of civilization in that it allows parties to make the possession of its own destiny, when they failed in an attempt to find a solution themselves.” Do you know something about an english version?