Never Split the Difference

Updated: Jan 24

Chris Voss

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations. Practices that can help you level up your negotiation game, whether to close a multi-million deal or get a great price for a gym membership!

What’s it about?

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI. His career as a hostage negotiator brought him face to face with bank robbers, gang leaders and terrorists.

Never Split The Difference takes you inside his world of high stake negotiations, revealing the nine key principles that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed when it mattered the most - when people’s lives were at stake.

The book presents an alternative approach to Roger Fisher’s classic, “Getting to Yes”. For Chris Voss, the use of rational tools and techniques is not the most effective approach to negotiations. Instead, the key to success, especially in very dangerous negotiations, is tactical empathy, which he describes as “emotional intelligence on steroids.”

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car; negotiating a salary; buying a home; renegotiating rent; deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

What I liked about the book?

Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we could do with some negotiation lessons. Whether you’re managing a business, negotiating a salary increase with your boss, trying to get a good price for your gym membership, everything is a negotiation. Who better to learn from someone who has used the same skills to save lives?

Voss provides a refreshing perspective on the key to a successful negotiation. Most authors in the past have advocated for using rational tools to get the best deal out of negotiations. But for Voss, that’s rubbish. The key to a successful negotiation is tactical empathy. Love that term!

You would think that a book on negotiation is not going to be an easy read. You would not be the first to make that mistake. This book makes for an easy, enjoyable read filled with thrilling anecdotes. By the end, you’ll be surprised how much of what you’ve learned can be applied right away.

“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”

What did I not like about the book?

The ending. One of the most important distinctions between a good book and a great one is how the author ends the book. That’s where this falls short. Dedicating an epilogue or conclusion chapter to summarize his thoughts on how readers should approach negotiation would have been the perfect ending to such a wonderful book.

While Voss did a great job in making negotiation something to look forward to instead of backing away from, he fails to sufficiently acknowledge that it can be quite challenging for the reader to do what he so comfortably does.

My verdict-

Like any other book, this book also has its flaws. But, they’re miniscule compared to what the nine principles of negotiation provide. Actionable, effective tricks that have been tried and tested in the harshest of circumstances.

Everything in life is a negotiation. That makes negotiation one of the most vital skills we can develop as early as possible in order to have long-lasting success in our career and relationships.

Simply put, this is the best book out there in terms of understanding the art of negotiation and implementing the lessons effectively. When you’re done reading this, you’ll feel like you can convince your boss to give you his job!

Rating - 8.5/10

Check it out right now if you're ready to level up your negotiation skills! Click on the link below.

Thank you for reading my review. Hope you enjoy the book!

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