Never Split the Difference – Bookcast #9

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Never Split the Difference is a riveting, indispensable handbook of negotiation principles culled and perfected from Chris Voss’s remarkable career as an FBI hostage negotiator and later as an award-winning teacher in the world’s most prestigious business schools.

This book provides a gripping, behind-the-scenes recounting of dramatic scenarios from the gang-infested streets of Haiti to a Brooklyn bank robbery gone horribly wrong, revealing the negotiation strategies that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. As a world-class negotiator, Voss shows you how to use these skills in the workplace and in every other realm of your life.

Life is a series of negotiations: whether buying a car, getting a better raise, buying a home, renegotiating rent, or deliberating with your partner, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

Read and listen to “Never Split the Difference” on Amazon!

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Never Split the Difference” Notes:

0:00 – Intro to “Never Split the Difference”

  • Chris Voss, the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator, teaches you the tools and techniques he’s learned over several decades of experience to be successful in every negotiation you have
  • Intended audience: Anyone who wants to greatly improve their ability to get what they want from other people
  • People who won’t like it: Anyone who isn’t ready to work on themselves

5:30 – How easy is the book to read?

  • Enjoyable, chatty, fun to read but it will take some time to absorb – probably at least two read-throughs
  • 260 pages – 7-9 hours
  • Audiobook – 8 hours

6:30 – Reviews and Significance

  • Well known 
  • 3,552 reviews, 4.8 stars
  • Currently (as of 1/2/20)
    • #16 Current Amazon Charts – Overall
    • #1 Amazon – Business and Communication Skills
    • #5 Amazon – Communication Skills (overall)
    • #53 Audible – Overall Audible books (just above our last book 12 Rules at #54)
    • #1 Audible – Communication Skills

10:00 – Bio of Chris Voss

  • 24 Year veteran of FBI
  • Lead Crisis Negotiator for NY branch of FBI then became Chief International Hostage Negotiator for FBI
  • Born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
  • Masters of Public Administration from Harvard
  • Originally planned on being on the SWAT team, but he injured his knee and had to find a new career path. 
  • His application to become a negotiator was rejected at first
  • Began his training process and acquired most of his experience working a suicide hotline. Chris says that the suicide hotline was an in-depth course on emotional intelligence – learning how to deal with irrational people and keep himself from getting emotionally engaged. 
  • Represented US in G-8 as international kidnapping expert
  • After working over 150 intl hostage cases for FBI, left and founded 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: USC’s Marshall School of Business, Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, Harvard University, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and others

12:30 – Major Themes of the Book

  • CHAPTER 1 | THE NEW RULES
    • How to Become the Smartest Person . . . in Any Room
  • CHAPTER 2 | BE A MIRROR
    • How to Quickly Establish Rapport
  • CHAPTER 3 | DON’T FEEL THEIR PAIN, LABEL IT
    • How to Create Trust with Tactical Empathy
  • CHAPTER 4 | BEWARE “YES”—MASTER “NO”
    • How to Generate Momentum and Make It Safe to Reveal the Real Stakes
  • CHAPTER 5 | TRIGGER THE TWO WORDS THAT IMMEDIATELY TRANSFORM ANY NEGOTIATION
    • How to Gain the Permission to Persuade
  • CHAPTER 6 | BEND THEIR REALITY
    • How to Shape What Is Fair
  • CHAPTER 7 | CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    • How to Calibrate Questions to Transform Conflict into Collaboration
  • CHAPTER 8 | GUARANTEE EXECUTION
    • How to Spot the Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else
  • CHAPTER 9 | BARGAIN HARD
    • How to Get Your Price
  • CHAPTER 10 | FIND THE BLACK SWAN
    • How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown Unknowns

15:30 – Jay’s Perspectives

  • What did you like best? Voss teaches how anyone can master communication and use it to get what you want from other people
  • What did you learn? How much I really have to learn
  • Critique: None! Loved it
  • What question(s) would you ask the author? What’s Voss’ confidential life story? How did he become who he is?
  • Any other related/connected books that you’d recommend to others?

22:00 – Matt’s Perspectives

  • What did you like best? To get people to agree with your point of view and feel like it was their own idea
  • What did you learn? Helped me professionally to make more $$
  • Critique: Technical issues with the ebook elements and website connected to the book
  • What question would you ask the author? How did he convince the experts inside the FBI to change their methods?
  • Any other related/connected books that you’d recommend to others?

Jay’s favorite quotes from “Never Split the Difference”

“Negotiation as you’ll learn it here is nothing more than communication with results. Getting what you want out of life is all about getting what you want from – and with – other people. Conflict between two parties is inevitable in all relationships. So it’s useful – crucial, even – to know how to engage in that conflict to get what you want without inflicting damage.”

“The centerpiece of this book is…Tactical Empathy. This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence, to gain access to the mind of another person. Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do.”

Matt’s favorite quotes from “Never Split the Difference”

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

“Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”

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