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Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson

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Chapter 20Unethical Gambits: The Red Herring

The Red Herring Gambit is a further twist on the Decoy Gambit. With the Decoy, the other person raises a phony issue to get concessions on an real issue. With the Red Herring, the other person makes a phony demand that he will withdraw, but only in exchange for a concession. If the Red Herring distracts you, it’ll deceive you into thinking that it’s of major concern to the other side when it may not be. Red Herring is an English fox hunting expression. England has many vocal animal-rights activists, and their prime target has been fox hunting, a sport Oscar Wilde called “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.”

Herrings that have been dried and salted turn dark red, like smoked salmon. The English ...

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