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Print and online resources for mediators and negotiators

Without a doubt one of my favorite things in the whole world to do is to teach people how to mediate. For many people, a basic mediation training is their first introduction to conflict resolution theory and to new ways of thinking about negotiation, and it’s rewarding and fun for me to guide people through those early discoveries.

It’s important to remember that completion of a basic mediation training is not an end but a beginning, an initial step toward the practice of mediation. There’s a whole wide world of ideas waiting to be discovered or to be explored in far greater depth than a 40-hour mediation training can provide.

I’ve pulled together a list of recommended resources, both in print and on the web, to help new mediators continue their journey, arranging them by topic. And I invite readers and fellow bloggers to add their own suggestions.

Mediation, Conflict Resolution, and Consensus-Building

The following books represent a sample of the many texts available on these topics.

Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution, by Kenneth Cloke

The Promise of Mediation: The Transformative Approach to Conflict, by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger

The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution: A Practitioner’s Guide, by Bernard Mayer

The Mediator’s Handbook, by Jennifer Beer (for new mediators)

The Power of a Positive No: How to Say NO and Still Get to Yes, by William Ury

Breaking Robert’s Rules: The New Way to Run Your Meeting, Build Consensus, and Get Results, by Lawrence E. Susskind and Jeffrey L. Cruikshank

Finding information on mediation and conflict resolution on the web can be overwhelming. Google the word “mediation”, and you’ll get more than 24 million results. For the best, most up-to-date information on mediation, or for debate and discussion on the field’s most controversial topics, I recommend, the premiere ADR web site, and ADR blogs and podcasts. Click on the link to my blogroll to see what blogs I’m reading, view’s list of Featured Blogs, or visit the World Directory of ADR Blogs, which indexes blogs, vblogs, and podcasts from over two dozen countries, listed by country and by category, all related to alternative dispute resolution.


Since mediation is often called assisted negotiation, it’s important to be familiar with negotiation theory and strategies. In addition to the classic Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William Ury, consider the following texts as you build your negotiation library:

Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, by G. Richard Shell

Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond, Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman

The Negotiator’s Fieldbook, edited by Andrea Kupfer Schneider and Christopher Honeyman

Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever

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

Online negotiation resources abound. You can receive announcements of upcoming events (many of which are free) and explore materials and articles at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard. Or sign up for the free Harvard Business School Working Knowledge newsletter, which covers negotiation and leadership.

To find blogs and podcasts on negotiation, visit the World Directory of ADR Blogs. Two podcasts that I especially recommend are Negotiating Tip of the Week, a 3-minute podcast on important topics in negotiation, and International Dispute Negotiation, which provides a global perspective on negotiation and ADR through interviews with leaders and influential thinkers around the world.

Decision-Making, Influence, and the Mind

Mediators help people make difficult decisions — decisions which hopefully are rational and informed ones. Several books offer insights into how humans process information, make sense of their world, weigh decisions, and make judgments.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely

A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives, by Cordelia Fine

Sites that will help you understand better the workings of your own mind include Project Implicit, a site for testing your hidden biases; the Visual Cognition Lab video demonstrations of inattentional blindness; and Brains on Purpose, a blog that explores the link between neuroscience and conflict resolution.


An excellent resource for scholarly articles on all the topics highlighted above is the Social Science Research Network, with a searchable database of articles many of which can be downloaded in PDF for free.

Finally, for more online resources on conflict resolution, negotiation, ADR, as well as diversity and culture guides for business travelers and negotiators, visit the resource page on my web site.


Diane J. Levin

Diane Levin, J.D., is a mediator, dispute resolution trainer, negotiation coach, writer, and lawyer based in Marblehead, Massachusetts, who has instructed people from around the world in the art of talking it out. Since 1995 she has helped clients resolve disputes involving tort, employment, business, estate, family, and real property… MORE >

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