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

tags: business

So, this is an objectively good book, but would be hard to put into practice I think.

The author (well, I think he had a ghostwriter) is/was an FBI hostage negotiator. He has a LOT of stories about negotiating. He also has tips, some of which are about human psychology (let them say “no” because it’s empowering), and some are just obvious (low-ball to anchor their expectations).

That said, to really use this book, you would need to be negotiating all the time, I think. There are a lot of subtle things here, and others that take a lot of practice, and most of us just don’t negotiate all the time. This guy is a hostage negotiator. That’s a pretty specific profession and frame of mind, and I just don’t think the rest of the world is on that same level.

Additionally, some of us don’t know when we’re “in” a negotiation. They just kind of sneak up on us. In the middle of a client phone call, for instance, we’re suddenly negotiating with them about something. So, it’s not like we have a timeframe in which we know we’re going to be negotiating something, so we can grab the book and bone up on the tips.

To be a good negotiator, it sort of has to be in your bones. Like, you would need to read this book in a group of people, and role-play and practice the tips in it to make sure you’re ready to go on a moment’s notice. It would need to be a Bible that you referred back to constantly.

Also, some of the ideas in the book seem…sleazy, to me. That’s a bad word, because nothing is dishonest. But it’s almost like I don’t want to live in a world where this stuff works. The author provides some justification at the end about how this is just the way things are, and you’re better off if you come out on top, and I get that. But it’s still a little depressing.

However, it’s still a great book for the right person. If you’re negotiating stuff all the time, then you really should read this.

Book Info

Chris Voss

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