Book Summary: Friend & Foe

Book: Friend & Foe

Author: Adam Galinksy and Maurice Schweitzer

Key takeaways: This book does not fit my usual staple diet of reading, and in all honesty, I picked it up because I thought it was a book on corporate strategy. That said, it was a happy mistake, as there are some interesting nuggets in here about inter-personal relationships and related strategy.


Power:  It’s often not how powerful we are, but how powerful we feel that determines how we think and how we act. Often, feelings of power gives us a competitive advantage.

Hierarchy: When individuals perform largely independent tasks (ala cricket players), you can never have enough talent, but in inter-dependent settings (ala basketball), more talent can lead to lackluster performance.


  • People who inspire the most trust are those who exhibit two distinct traits: warmth and competence.
  • Showing vulnerability helps, but it is key that the vulnerable episode doesn’t undercut your competence in a domain where you’re trying to inspire trust (e.g. spilling coffee can inspire trust in a psychiatrist, but not a surgeon)

Making an Offer in a Negotiation:

  • Ask questions to get more information on what the other party is actually negotiating (could very well be different from what you’re negotiating for)
  • If you’re unsure whether you have the full information, you should wait
  • If you have full information, you make the first offer
    • the line between this and that side of crazy can be determined by the straight-face test: is there an articulated rationale?
    • the way to make an ambitious offer come across as competitive is to provide a range whereby the lower bound is your ideal outcome



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