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Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
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Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  118,341 ratings  ·  7,628 reviews
A former FBI hostage negotiator offers a new, field-tested approach to negotiating – effective in any situation.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a kidnapping negotiator brought him face-to-face with bank robbers, gang leaders and terrorists. Never Split the Difference takes you inside his worl
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Harper Business
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  118,341 ratings  ·  7,628 reviews

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James Q. Golden
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hypnosis, business
I'm sorry, but it seems you're looking for a review to help you decide if you Really want to read this book--if it's worth your time--or not. Wondering if somebody would be kind enough to provide you with that one review which would appeal to your tastes.

I have EXACTLY what you're looking for, but why would I provide it for you? I'm thinking No. Go ahead: tell me. Why would I bother saving your time with an eloquent and thorough review that would Definitely appeal to you and surely help you deci
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read over the last few years. In my opinion, the title does NOT do it justice. While this is applicable to negotiating, and the title DOES highlight a critical component, this book is valuable to MANY types of negotiating, even situations that we may not consider to be negotiating... things that happen every day. This borrows heavily from behavioral and neuro science areas to get at the way people work (all of us). It of necessity helps gain trust. It helps in understa ...more
Always Pouting
A lot of what affects how much you enjoy these books is, again, how self aware you are or how much consideration you've given to how you talk to people and the best way to get what you want from others. If you already easily have any easy time convincing people, or have thought about it and are self aware of how you behave and talk to others then I don't think any of these things are going to be surprising or helpful but if you haven't ever actually considered the way you interact with people th ...more
Paige Halper
Jan 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
**Edit as of 5/31/22: It appears I’ve gotten under some people’s skin. Welcome to the exchange of ideas, friends! I understand that your comment means you really want my attention and read what I have to say! That’s awesome. I, however, don’t give a shit about what you have to say. You’re free to comment and I’m free to ignore it. LMFAO.**

Did I really just read 288 pages of a white dude describing the world and how he manipulates others to "get the right answer" to his questions? I feel sick.

Rita Arens
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-shelf
I actually TOOK NOTES on this book.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed reading the book, I couldn't help realize it was mainly about how to manipulate and use people in order to get your way. No matter how Chris worded his stories, examples, and techniques it all sounded like he is teaching "how to use others for your personal (or business's) gain. I honestly felt dirty reading it as it does teach how to be a horrible person to others while smiling and coming off as a great person.
I'll say as some one with high functioning autism and learning "to b
Mario Velarde
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. While I recommend it to everyone, I almost don't want to give away a competitive edge and prefer no one reads it--it's that good! ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book should have been titled "Start at No in Negotiations." Often, a "no" means "wait" or "I'm not comfortable with that." Probe deeper and listen carefully to uncover key information behind the "no" (such as "I want to but I don't have the money now" or "it is actually my spouse, not me, who doesn't agree"). This is a much more effective approach than trying to get the counterpart to say "yes," which the person might say just to get rid of you.

The author, who is a former FBI hostage negotia
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This does not work well as an audiobook because there's a lot of filler and hot air. I agree with the starting premise of the book, i.e. that "Getting to Yes" is more or less useless because people aren't robots: When everybody involved is nice and logical, no one needs help with negotiating.
Having said that, I'm not sure how especially useful his advice is.
Personally, I got much more out of: Talking to Crazy: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life Talking to Crazy How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life by Mark Goulston .
I would also
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
tl;dr My animated summary of Never Split the Difference is available here:

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator. If you want to learn how to negotiate, he’s your top teacher. Every chapter in his book is a lesson. Each of them feels like an episode of some crime TV series. Every lesson is based on a real-life example from author’s involvement with hostage negotiations. After the storytelling, Chris explains which negotiating techniques worked and which didn’t
David Rubenstein
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a FANTASTIC book! The author, Chris Voss, is an expert hostage negotiator for the FBI. He can never "split the difference"--a euphemism for compromise--because to compromise in a hostage negotiation is to lose a life or many lives.

Voss explains how to negotiate--not just for the FBI, but in any realm of life. So much of his advice sounds completely anti-intuitive. Just as an example, one should not be encouraged by the answer "Yes". It is much better to hear the answer "No". Why? A "Yes"
Recently, I've snagged a couple interesting titles off the Audible deal-of-the-day. This book popped up and the premise was just so interesting, I had to get it for a couple dollars.

Chris Voss, the author, was a lead FBI hostage negotiator and haggled with terrorists, kidnappers, and a host of other bad dudes for a lot of years. I had an initial concern that Chris would be authoritarian and a tad bit self-enamored when I bought the book. The only reason for this being that most "bargain-like-a-
Simon Clark
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very practical, easy to read book on the various psychological tricks and techniques you can use in persuading people to see things your way. I was recommended to read this with regards to negotiating with brands (making sponsored video content) and it has certainly beefed up my skillset. I've actually already used a bunch of tips from this book outside of formal negotiations, and I can confirm that much as some of the tricks sound unnatural on paper they really do work!

As I say, the book is v
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was prepared to hate this book and lump it in with the whole useless self-help genre (which begs the question why I keep reading those books), but I actually learned a lot. The book is basically a behavioral psychology approach to negotiations. I was taught all the BATNA and rational negotiations strategies in law school, but all those assumptions were based on rationality and lack of feelings. But we now understand that we are more prone to emotional decision making (system 1 or the elephant) ...more
Petr Bela
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible-us
One of the most useful books I've ever read. Full of great tips, practical examples and surprising points about negotiating (without the other party feeling they've been cheated), which can be used in business, school, or any casual situation.

A few points I've remembered:
- Every negotiation starts with a "no". If you start with questions leading to "yes" (Do you want to help the world? Do you think we should stop animal abuse? ...), the other party will go into defense mode. By getting them to d
Yevgeniy Brikman
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Crap title, GREAT book.

The premise: the FBI's former chief international hostage negotiator (what a job title!) shares what he learned about negotiation throughout his career. These are the lessons the FBI has learned the hard way—those strategies that have been found to work when people's lives depend on it. And these strategies work not only for hostage negotiation, but in the types of negotiations you come across throughout life: asking a boss for a raise, convincing your kids to take out th
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I waited for almost a year before reviewing the book - it's a manual for achieving a goal and I wanted to make sure it worked in practice before I had an opinion.

Never Split the Difference was my first book about negotiation and I found it both thorough and useful. It has a ton of examples, most of them relatable. While probably we all find hostage situations fascinating, those are not part of my daily routine and negotiation in my life is at much lower stakes.

My learnings in the book fell into
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help, 2020-shelf
Honestly, I got a weird feeling when I first read the title because it felt almost like a call to arms, like I was being told that the idea of compromise was utterly insane...

and I was right. It is. But not for the sake of arguing for argument's sake. It's funny, but I really liked this book. Any book that has a call to arms like this but keeps a central tenant like "tactical empathy" and "Really, truly listening to someone" isn't crazy.

And besides, it reminds me of the old story of Solomon and
Christopher Lawson
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing

And so begins this surprising book. The author begins the book by relating his experience at a prestigious seminar at Harvard University. Several of the college's top negotiators put him on the spot to see how he would negotiate in a hypothetical hostage negotiation.

The author held his own against the expert negotiators, surprising the professors. How did he do so well? Mr. Voss explains that the methods used by the FBI were developed
May 03, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I appreciate the advice and really enjoyed the real-life examples. But on the other hand... I'm so against conflict. The book made me squirm uncomfortably because his negotiation style seemed often rude, especially when not in hostage situations. Although the author tried to convince me at the end of the book this is an "OK" conflict, it's still hard to translate his words into my actions and put this to practice. I'll try though.

I specif
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nf-other, gave-up
It's a nice premise and I like some of the articles I've read that the author has taken part in, but honestly I picked the book up again and reached a part where the author says how you can't see things as being all about you and then proceeds to tell all these stories about himself thinking things are all about him, and it didn't grip me or provide me with anything beyond a sense of this guy has good stories to tell but that isn't what I came here for. ...more
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from this, but have refrained from highlighting much to avoid revealing my forthcoming methods.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best book on negotiation I've ever read and newly entered into my top reads list. Never split the difference takes conventional thinking that negotiating is logical, is about "getting to yes" and "splitting the difference" to get achieve a "win-win" situation, then flips that thinking on it's head. The author frames negotiation as two parties working collaborating where the situation is the adversary - what a great way to approach a negotiation. The author stresses the importa ...more
Update 31 October 2017:

I used one of the techniques presented here (if you're asking for money, make the number look as precise as possible to imply that you've thought deeply about what exactly you need) in a small grant application to sequence some seagrasses and the grant was awarded in full, nice! Sadly I can't prove that it was awarded because I used a precise number...

Original text:

Fun short book from a former hostage negotiation expert turned business consultant. It's a bunch of technique
Kon R.
Oct 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm always reluctant to read a self help book, but something about this one appealed to me. Maybe because the author isn't just some self proclaimed guru or know-it-all, but comes from a long career of doing what he's teaching. Maybe it's because negotiations are so common and at the same time, important.

The stories in this book were a ton of fun and helped make this book more enjoyable than a typical textbook-style read. They also served the purpose of being examples of how various techniques
Simon Eskildsen
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
What a phenomenal book. Who would've thought we could learn so much from a field that could not be further from our life: hostage negotiation. In the end this is a book about listening. It's a book about making people feel listened to. This is a compilation of secret weapons that works like black magic when put into practise. Read the three first chapters, try it, and I promise you will not be disappointed. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent !!
The content. The writing style. The summary at the end of each chapter

I make no illusion that I'm going to become a better negotiator just by reading it. It requires re reading (which I'm planning to do) and practice and experience
Stacey B
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Within all the genres out there, "Self Help" books have never been written for me.
In the past ten years, I have read maybe ..five.
They are written for most everyone else who are able to appreciate and execute the suggestions given from these books without finding themselves doing a few dramatic eye rolls.
And so...
My son told me about a book he read saying "it really works" if I could possibly give it a chance by applying the information correctly.
I, as he knows am a selective skeptic; so we d
Liss Franco
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was a great read. I'm going to see if I can actually make it work. ...more
Rafael Lucas
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A 24 year veteran of the FBI, Chris Voss is one of the preeminent practitioners and professors of negotiating skills in the world. He is the founder and principal of The Black Swan Group, a consulting firm that provides training and advises Fortune 500 companies through complex negotiations. Voss has taught for many business schools, including the University of Southern California's Marshall Schoo ...more

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“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.” 97 likes
“Conflict brings out truth, creativity, and resolution.” 57 likes
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