The advice “You can negotiate anything” still holds in 2022

Most people have a lesson or two – concise, easy to remember – that they associate with their parents.

Rich Cohen’s father, Herbie, has enough lessons to fill a book.

“If you are tricked into thinking you are free, escape is not an option.”

“Only dead salmon go with the flow.”

“Caring but not SO much is the middle ground between hanging on to it and flying away.”

“Power is based on perception, if you think you have it, you have it. If you don’t, you don’t.

All of these quotes appear in Rich’s delicious new book, “Adventures with Herbie Cohen: World’s Greatest Negotiator” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Most of Herbie’s good words are short, funny, but also shockingly wise. “My dad is like Mel Brooks crossed with the Dalai Lama,” Rich says.

Rich Cohen

Herbie, 89, is the author of the 1980s commercial bestseller “You Can Negotiate Anything,” a publishing phenomenon that sits alongside classics like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He had a successful career as a “corporate retirement guru…the wise man arrived by helicopter to settle the strike”.

He once solved an MLB strike and a police strike in New Orleans in the same year.

President Jimmy Carter called on Herbie during the Iran hostage negotiations, as did President Ronald Reagan during the Gorbachev Summits. Some have said that Herbie coined the phrase “win-win” first.

And he learned it all growing up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

The Adventures of Herbie Cohen

“A lot of the way you are has to do with the landscape you grow up in. He grew up in this neighborhood where there was constant interaction with old people, young people, everyone,” says Rich, 53 years. “He was saying, ‘That price wasn’t put there by God.’ His argument was that a [store] the price is just as arbitrary as something in a garage sale.

So, after learning from the master, is Rich good at negotiating?

“No, I suck at that!” he admits, laughing. “I’ve always been too embarrassed. If your dad is a professional football player, you probably don’t want to play football unless you’re awesome.