Son of 'world's greatest negotiator' Herb Cohen talks about new book about his dad's impact, mastery

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Friday, July 15, 2022
Son of 'world's greatest negotiator' Herb Cohen talks about new book about his dad's impact, mastery
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Herb Cohen was known as the "world's greatest negotiator," helping global governments and big business with his skills.

The son of the "world's greatest negotiator" Herb Cohen has a new book about his dad's impact and mastery.

"You Can Negotiate Anything" was Herb's motto for the success he turned into one of the most influential books in the '80s.

He was even a commentator here on ABC 7!

That's when he became in demand, helping leaders of global governments and big businesses with his skills.

Now, his son, acclaimed author Rick Cohen, talks to ABC7's Hosea Sanders about his new book, "The Adventures of Herbie Cohen - World's Greatest Negotiator."

The kid who grew up on the streets of Brooklyn with Larry King and Sandy Koufax, later went on in life to advise presidents in crisis.

Herb Cohen was a trained CIA and FBI agent, and negotiated Major League Baseball disputes.

All that, while being a Glencoe Dad.

"There was a lot of entertainment and a lot of comedy in our house," Rich said.

"I just spoke to an old friend who said, 'I'd go to your house and every other dad was in a suit home from work. Your dad was in a bathrobe with a cigar in his mouth, and it was magic.'"

"It was kind of like having Walter Matthau from Bad News Bears as your father," Rich added.

Sports was a major influence in the Cohen home.

"The Yankees won all the time, and he came to Chicago and he realized what was happening -- his son was becoming a Cubs fan. He took me aside very seriously and said, 'Don't do that. You're gonna screw up your life. The Cubs don't win, this is in the '70s, you're going to think that losing is the normal state of the world,'" Rich recalled.

Herb's son now looks back on funny memories with his father.

"I went with Larry and my dad out on the field at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and they saw Frank Robinson, a baseball player they had loved, and they ditched me, they ditched me and left me standing all alone in the field before the game. And it just so happened Rick Sutcliffe was pitching batting practice. He said, 'Did your dad just ditch you because he saw a baseball player he liked?' Yeah," Rich said.

Herb and best pal Larry King even brought baseball into Rich's bar mitzvah party with a chance meeting.

"In the elevator was Phil Rizzuto, the Yankee shortstop, and Bill White, who was president of the American League," Rich said. "My dad said, 'Do you guys wanna come to a bar mitzvah?' And they said, 'What is that?' And my dad said, 'Open bar.' They were there for the whole bar mitzvah, They're all over the album."

When asked what he said was the meaning of life, Rich said his father told him, "Don't you know the meaning of life is more life, just keep living and be the best person you can, that's the meaning of life."