When we started planning the symposium at the University of Missouri on October 7, Moving Negotiation Theory from the Tower of Babel Toward a World of Mutual Understanding, I thought it would be great if all the speakers would have a discussion using a common base of knowledge.

So we developed a reading list based on suggestions from the speakers.  I foolishly did not anticipate the length of the list. Although it represents only a tiny fraction of the massive multi-disciplinary literature on negotiation, it is quite substantial and reflects a wonderful diversity of perspectives.

I realized that it was unrealistic to expect all the speakers to read most of the things on the list, which is what prompted me to develop this virtual book club.  I think of it as a kind of Cliff Notes to help us all grasp the highlights of the readings.

I have been thrilled at the thoughtfulness of the speakers in contributing their ideas in this online conversation.  And very pleased that readers have participated by adding comments of their own.

I hope that this will be a kind of stone soup process, where lots of people will make contributions to what will become a feast that nourishes our collective intellectual appetites.

We are now taking an intermission in the virtual book club.  This will give people a chance to digest the first half, catch their breath, and catch up if needed.  If you have been working hard on a deadline or been out of town for a while, you can binge on all the past “meetings” of the club by going to the initial post, which has links to them all.

And this is a great time to join the conversation by adding your reactions, ideas, and resources.

I previously described how this might provide material for your courses in the coming year. I want to add another suggestion, which is that you may want to use one or more of the posts as reading assignments in your courses.  They are pretty short and they might stimulate good class discussions on topics you want to cover.

Stay tuned for the second half of the book club.

John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus and former director of the LLM Program in Dispute Resolution, at the University of Missouri, School of Law. He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also an avid writer and contributor to Indisputably.org