Chapter 24

Things That Are More Important Than Money

A reporter once asked astronaut Neil Armstrong to relate his thoughts as Apollo 11 approached the moon. He said, “How do you think you'd feel if you knew you were on top of two million parts built by the lowest bidder in a government contract?” It was a cute line, but he was echoing a popular misconception that the government must do business with anybody who bids the lowest price. Of course that's not true, but it's amazing how many people believe it. I hear it all the time at my Secrets of Power Negotiating seminars: “What can we do when we have to deal with the government? They have to accept the lowest bid.”

I once sat next to a Pentagon procurement officer on a flight to the East Coast, ...

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