Decision Fatigue and Negotiation

Notes on Negotiation
Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

New York Times science columnist John Tierney recently wrote:

The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences…The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing.

This helps explain why “sweet snacks are featured prominently at the cash register.”  With their willpower reduced after all their decisions in the aisles, shoppers are “more likely to yield to any kind of temptation, but they’re especially vulnerable to candy and soda and anything else offering a quick hit of sugar.”

So what negotiation lesson can we learn?  “Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Tierney’s co-author Roy Baumeister points out.

So when you have an important negotiation coming up, get plenty of sleep, take breaks and eat well throughout the day.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

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