Never Split The Difference

The art of negotiation is one of the most useful skills a person can have. We negotiate on a daily basis, at the shop, with our friends and colleagues, and even, or especially, with our loved ones. In almost every discussion you have with someone there is a certain element of negotiation going on, and the better you get at negotiation, the more likely you are to make your interactions fruitful, not just for yourself, but for everyone involved.

In his amazing book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, Chriss Voss, who was also the former international kidnapping negotiator at the FBI, took all of his skills as a negotiator as well as some field studies, to tell us about effective communication.


As I began reading this book, I was shocked to find that I had been doing it all wrong when it comes to negotiation. I had no idea what I was doing, clearly. I’ve been relying mostly on my other assets to do the talking for me, but after reading this book I realize there is so much more to it, that I think I’ll have to read the book again. This time I’ll take notes.

It was fascinating to read about all the hostage situations Chriss Voss wrote about, in America, and also overseas. Reading about the the discussions with terrorists and bank robbers all described in detail, and how the FBI handled these situations, and what they learned from these interactions, was a truly wondrous journey.

I wasn’t interested in just the successes, but also the failures, because it made me think where I had gone wrong in my past. Could I have changed the outcome if I had thought about it more? Or approached it with a clearer mind in the first place? Who knows, and that doesn’t really matter anymore now does it? What matters is that I’ve learned to appreciate the thought that can go into a conversation, and it makes every interaction so much more engaging for me personally, and hopefully for the other person, too.


One of the more important lessons I learned from this book was that a “No” is far more valuable than a “Yes,” and that one should always aim for a negative answer at first, as soon as possible in fact, because that opens the door for further questions. If you think about it, which do you prefer saying yourself? Yes or no? Which makes you feel more powerful? Personally, I’d say “No,” definitely, when asked in that manner. We feel empowered when we use that word, and if you aim to make the other person say it, you can also prepare for what to say next.

Of course this simple trick won’t work if your tone of voice isn’t correct, if your body language (whenever possible) isn’t right, or if you entered the conversation incorrectly. All of this is explained in the book in a way that makes sense. It’s easy to follow and then apply to your own life. There are way more tricks than what I’m mentioning here in this book, but that’s all for you to discover for yourself.

After reading this book I feel much more confident about my ability to negotiate, which will come very useful when I’m going to ask for a raise, a promotion, a better deal with my client. Anything you can think of that has anything to do with negotiation. I found so many useful tools here that it would be criminal for me not to recommend Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in becoming a better negotiator or orator in general.

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