Cover image for Getting to peace : transforming conflict at home, at work, and in the world
Getting to peace : transforming conflict at home, at work, and in the world
Ury, William.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
xxi, 250 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HM1126 .U79 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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According to William Ury, it takes two sides to fight, but a third to stop. Distilling the lessons of two decades of experience in family struggles, labor strikes, and wars, he presents a bold new strategy for stopping fights. He also describes ten practical roles -- as managers, teachers, parents, and citizens -- that each of us can play every day to prevent destructive conflict.

Fighting isn't an inevitable part of human nature, Ury explains, drawing on his training as an anthropologist and his work among primitive tribes and modern corporations. We have a powerful alternative -- The Third Side -- which can transform our daily battles into creative conflict and cooperation at home, at work, and in the world.

Author Notes

William Ury is the co-founder of Harvard's Program on Negotiation, where he directs the Project on Preventing War. One of the world's leading negotiation specialists, his past clients include dozens of Fortune 500 companies as well as the White House and Pentagon.

Ury received his B.A. from Yale and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard.

His books Getting to YES and Getting Past No have sold more than five million copies worldwide.

He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ury, coauthor of Getting to Yes and Getting Past No, takes on a global issueÄhow people can live at peace with one another. Citing last spring's shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., as an example of horrible violence, Ury examines the myths about violence and offers some surprising insights and solutions. Using his anthropological fieldwork, Ury describes how the African Bushmen solve conflicts: no violence, whether it be raised voices or hitting children, is permitted; instead, there must be a dialogue until a solution to the problem is achieved. Anyone who is unwilling to work on a resolution verbally ends up leaving. Ury reports that Bushmen speak of a "third side," a point of view that represents not the interests of one of two parties to a conflict but rather the interests of the community as a whole. Ury then enumerates 10 "third side roles" that can be brought to bear on a conflict. These include mediator, arbitrator, equalizer and healer. Though filled with intelligent insight into the nature of human conflict, Ury's ideas are based on the premise that "humanity is in the midst of a social, economic, and political transformation just as far-reaching as the Agricultural Revolution ten thousand years ago." Skeptical readers will find that Ury comes close to asserting that human nature itself is changing. The book is full of good advice about conflict resolution, even if its more sweeping generalizations about the future eradication of war appear to be based more on optimism than on observation. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Anthropologist, prolific author, and mediator Ury believes all citizens should play an active role in conflict as the "third side." Citing many cultures where community members facilitate conflict resolution, Ury suggests that it is in our best interests to learn how to "prevent, resolve, and contain" conflict. "No dispute takes place in a vacuum," he insists. In the heart of the book, Ury discusses ten "third side" roles--the Provider, for example, enables people to meet their needs; the Mediator reconciles conflicting interests; the Peacekeeper offers protection. He then puts these strategies in an interesting historical context. In the knowledge age when information, not money or land, is the new power source, he argues, society experiences an "equalizing of power" independent of traditional political or geographical confines. In a world where "pyramids of power" collapse, everyone has knowledge, and with it some degree of power, the role of the "third side" in new "networks of negotiation" becomes critical. For public and academic libraries, especially those with business collections.--Julie Denny, Alliance for Mediation & Conflict Resolution, Amenia, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.