A good friend kindly gave me an unexpected gift a week ago (thank you, A!), a book entitled Bargaining with the Devil. The subtitle is ‘when to negotiate, when to fight’. It is an interesting analysis. The author, Robert Mnookin, takes a number of case studies (among them Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela), before drawing a set of, well, pragmatic conclusions. The first are implicit: don’t jump to conclusions and don’t act impulsively. That means you will give yourself the time to think things through dispassionately, comparing the expected costs and benefits of different courses of action. Further to help in that direction you should take advice whilst undertaking your analysis. Have a ‘presumption in favour of negotiation’ but make it rebuttable. Last but not least, when you are deciding on behalf of others, ‘don’t allow your own moral intuitions to override a pragmatic assessment’. Mnookin does not say that you should always negotiate with the Devil. He doesn’t even tell you when you might. But the book does help you understand why you might decide that you should.