Story Time: Negotiating for the 18th Camel


A man in the Middle East was owner of seventeen camels. He divided the camels between his three sons stating that the eldest son would get half of them, the second one would get one-third of them and the youngest son would get one- ninth of them. The sons sat down to negotiate, but unable to figure out a solution they approached an old wise lady in the village.

The lady patiently heard their problem and said that she doesn’t know if she can solve their problem but she can offer them one camel .  This would make the count eighteen and they can divide the camels easily.

The sons came back and divided eighteen camels conveniently .The eldest son got nine camels, the second one got six camels and the youngest son got two camels.

They were surprised to see that the three of them actually had seventeen camels in total ,so they returned the one extra to the old lady.

Many times faced with a difficult situation we do not step back to look at it from a third party perspective. The trick lies in finding the 18th camel .

Aren’t we mostly looking and fighting for the 18th Camel when its not even needed.

Source: William Ury

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