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

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Chris Voss and Tahl Raz wrote a book called "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It". In it, they explain how to negotiate as if your life depended on it. The book is based on Voss's experience as a former FBI hostage negotiator. It shows readers how to achieve their goals by using empathy, emotional intelligence, and smart questioning.

There are ten parts in the book, and each one is about a different part of negotiating. These are the parts:

- The New Rules: How to Become a Great Negotiator

- Be a Mirror: How to Quickly Establish Rapport

- Don't Feel Their Pain, Label It: How to Identify and Influence Emotions

- Beware "Yes"—Master "No": How to Use the Most Powerful Word in Negotiation

- Trigger the Two Words That Immediately Transform Any Negotiation: How to Use "That's Right" to Validate and Persuade

- Bend Their Reality: How to Shape What Is Fair

- Create the Illusion of Control: How to Calibrate Questions to Get What You Want

- Guarantee Execution: How to Spot Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else

- Bargain Hard: How to Get Your Price

- Find the Black Swan: How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown

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

Each chapter starts with a real-life example from Voss's experience with negotiating with hostages. After the real case is shown, the author talks about which ways of dealing worked and which ones didn't. He also gives tasks and suggestions that readers can use to apply the lessons to their own lives.

The book is written in a way that is clear and interesting, with lots of stories and jokes. The author doesn't hide the fact that he's made mistakes and failed, and he shows how he learned from them. The book not only tells you things, but it also makes you laugh and gives you ideas.

Based on the author's time as an FBI hostage negotiator, this book is a guide to how to negotiate well. Here are five important things to learn from the book:

1. Negotiation is not about giving in; it's about working together. The goal is not to find a middle ground, but to find an answer that meets the needs and wants of both sides.

2. The most important tool in a negotiation is empathy. It helps you see things from the other person's point of view, understand their feelings and intentions, and build trust. Empathy doesn't mean agreeing or feeling sorry for someone. Instead, it means recognizing and affirming.

3. In a discussion, it's more important to listen than to talk. You should use active listening methods like echoing, labeling, and paraphrasing to show that you are listening and get the other person to tell you more.

4. In a discussion, questions are better than statements. Use open-ended questions like "how" and "what" to find out about the other person's situation and wants and to avoid defensiveness and resistance. You can also change what the other person thinks and does by asking questions like "How can we make this work?" or "What would it take for you to agree?"

5. Saying "no" is not the end of the bargaining process; it's the start. You shouldn't be afraid of or try to avoid hearing "no." Instead, you should see it as a chance to learn more about the other person's worries and limits and find ways to work around them. You should also use "no" in a strategic way, like by saying "no" to an unfair offer or a bad deal or by asking a "no-oriented question" like "is it a bad idea to...?" or "do you want me to fail?" to get a positive answer from the other person.

The book is good for anyone who wants to get better at negotiating, whether it's for work or for personal reasons. The book shows that negotiating is not a "zero-sum" game, but rather a way for both sides to gain something. Some common myths and misunderstandings about negotiating, like the idea that you have to be aggressive, confident, or logical, are also put to the test in the book.

If you want to learn how to deal like your life depends on it, you have to read this book. The book is based on solid study, techniques that have been tried and tested, and real-life experience. The book is not only a help, but also a way of thinking that can change how someone communicates, persuades, and solves problems.

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