Bob Woolf has negotiated nose-to-nose with some of the sharpest and toughest people in sports, including Donald Trump, Red Auerbach, and Roone Arledge. What he's learned from this experience is the subject of ``Friendly Persuasion: My Life as a Negotiator'' (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, $21.95), in which the noted Boston sports attorney shares ``101 proven tactics, techniques, and strategies'' he's used to hammer out athlete and celebrity contracts. Many of the pearls are simply common sense, given added luster by the author's anecdotes. Some of the guiding principles: ``Don't take anything personally,'' ``Come up or down slowly,'' and ``In an impasse, change something, no matter how minor.''
One of his favorite rules is the Golden Rule. Treating others properly doesn't guarantee good treatment in return but, like Franklin Roosevelt, he believes that reciprocity occurs at least 90 percent of the time.
Woolf says he believes in the sanctity of contracts. If athletes aren't willing to return money after bad years, he reasons, they shouldn't expect raises not provided for in their contracts after good years.
From his association with numerous top athletes, Woolf has learned that real preparation, not just repetitious practice, is a mark of a champion. His book repeatedly preaches the preparation gospel. In heeding his own advice, Woolf keeps track of the contracts of every major-league player in football, basketball, and baseball - their salaries, bonuses, and incentive clauses. This information makes for intelligent negotiating.
This book is not as rich in sports reminiscences as one might expect, possibly because it's meant for a broad audience and possibly to avoid rehashing stories from an earlier book, ``Behind Closed Doors.''