MIT Sloan Club of New York Event

Affiliate Event
Split the Pie: A Radical New Way to Negotiate
Oct 14 - Virtual Event

Negotiation is stressful. Money, opportunity, reputation, and relationships are all at stake. Wouldn’t it be better if there was a principled way to negotiate? This talk presents a new principled approach based on game theory. It works when there is an opportunity to cooperate with the other side to maximize the value you can create together. It even works when going up against a snake.

Negotiation is about creating and capturing value. When it comes to creating value, Getting to Yes taught the world how to succeed by focusing on interests, not positions. Left unresolved is the messy problem of how to divide up what the parties create. We use the idea of the “pie” to reveal the true stakes in negotiation. The pie frame reveals a fundamental symmetry of power and leads to the radical conclusion that the pie should be divided evenly. While this approach to negotiation is new, like all good ideas it is also old. The fundamental idea can be traced back 2,000 years to the Babylonian Talmud.

What you will get from this talk is a practical and theory-based approach to negotiation.

Barry Nalebuff is the Milton Steinbach Professor at Yale School of Management. An expert on game theory, he has written extensively on its application to business strategy. He is the coauthor of six books: Thinking Strategically and The Art of Strategy are popular books on game theory with over 400,000 copies in print. Co-opetition looks beyond zero-sum games to emphasize the potential for co-operating as well as competing. Why Not? offers a framework for problem solving and ingenuity. Lifecycle Investing provides a new strategy for retirement investing. Mission in a Bottle tells the story of Honest Tea in graphic format.

Barry practices what he preaches (and preaches what he practices). In addition to his academic work, Barry has extensive experience consulting with multinational firms. He served on the board of Nationwide Insurance and Q Drinks, and currently serves on the boards of Calicraft and AGP.

In the field of negotiation, he advised the NBA in their prior negotiations with the Players Association. He has also advised several firms in major M&A transactions. Barry has been teaching his Split the Pie approach to negotiation at Yale for the last decade in the MBA core and developed it into an online course on the Coursera platform. The course has over 250,000 enrolled students and the second-highest rating on the platform.

He is also an entrepreneur. He cofounded Honest Tea with his former student Seth Goldman. The company was sold to Coca-Cola in 2011. His next company, Kombrewcha, makes a slightly alcoholic kombucha and was sold to AB-Inbev in 2016. His third company, Maker Oats (which makes overnight oats) was sold to PepsiCo in 2017.  This allowed him to be a cereal entrepreneur and bad pun artist.

A graduate of MIT, a Rhodes Scholar, and Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, Barry earned his doctorate at Oxford University.


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Date and Time

Wednesday, October 14, 2020
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM PT

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Virtual Event

Primary Contact

Colette Thompson

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