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Never Split the Difference

Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It
Narrated by: Michael Kramer
Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
5 out of 5 stars (29,752 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations - whether in the boardroom or at home.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator.

Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss' head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: in saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles - counterintuitive tactics and strategies - you, too, can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal lives.

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.

©2016 Christopher Voss (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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Needs PDF companion file

The author alludes to a worksheet of techniques which I assume is in the printed book .. this book is excellent but would benefit greatly from a PDF companion file

1,594 of 1,632 people found this review helpful

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NOTHING SHORT OF LIFE-CHANGING

I have never been one to negotiate; I have always been terrified of it whether for my job or in interpersonal situations. This book helped me unearth not only new ways for me to build confidence but also has some incredible negotiation techniques and tips that I had never imagined I would encounter. Worth EVERY penny. I would recommend to you, but I don't want you to know what I now know in case I ever face you. ;) Oh, and outstanding work by the narrator. Kept me engaged the whole time. I couldn't stop listening!

392 of 415 people found this review helpful

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A Must (and fun...) Listen on Human Interaction!

Really enjoyed this extremely entertaining listen on effective negotiation tactics and human behavior patterns. The content is highly applicable to numerous types of human interaction.

I hardly ever read sales books because so much is either outdated or the same. I’ve found this book to have profound implications applied to selling that certainly act contrary to the “Client is Always Right” garbage that may have worked in the 1980's. This will help you cut through the crap (of any interaction) and ripen conditions for a true win/win to occur. It’s helped me to identify the type of people I truly enjoy working with and helped me to effectively leave the table on those who may not be a good fit. It’ll help you save time through identifying the true motives and negotiation style of the other party.

Chris Voss does an exceptional job of translating extreme life or death scenarios into useful business tools. I read this book thinking he must be oversimplifying, but as I apply these tactics I’m learning he’s probably just this good. His methods are simple, effective, mostly clean, and far less manipulative than some other negotiation material that has left me wanting to shower after reading. The tools he describes that aren’t necessarily 100% clean, such as mislabeling, he does so in a way that will prevent them from being used on you! Regardless, this book has vast applications and is highly relevant to business today.

89 of 94 people found this review helpful

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Start at No in Negotiations

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 negotiator, included too many hostage stories. These situations where lives are on the line, the negotiator would never split the difference (e.g., you take 2 hostages and I take 2 hostages) and hence, the book title. But for everyday situations (like negotiating with a family member, buying a car, or working with colleagues), the stories aren't that useful and such a perspective on negotiations isn't practical.

I recommend starting with Chapter 9 to understand the types of people in negotiations:
Analyst - methodical and diligent; need time to go over facts and consider the options
Accommodator - builds rapport through a continuous free-flowing exchange of information; not necessarily focused on the desired outcome
Assertive - direct and candid; getting it done quickly is more important than spending more time on getting it done right

Then start from the beginning and practice the skills, including:
Mirror - repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said to draw out more information from the person
Label - validate someone's emotion and fears by acknowledging it (such as "it seems like you feel you're not being appreciated")
Accusation List - list the worst things the counterpart could say about you (such as "you probably think I don't spend enough time on this project") and state the goals (such as "I could trust you to do your part without supervision" and "we all want this project to be successful").

Ask questions, collect information, and consider creative ways to get to your goals (such as non-monetary items - amenities, upgrades, positive reviews, and referrals). There is much more in the book that goes through the nuances of what to say, how to say it, and how to behave. It is a book that you need to read slowly, take notes, and practice the tips before moving on to the next chapter.

108 of 115 people found this review helpful

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Second time around

What did you love best about Never Split the Difference?

The book and science is fascinating! I'm listening to it a second time because I believe we pick up or learn what we can on the first time around. I enjoyed the book so much, I purchased the hardcover book to read and take notes.

What did you like best about this story?

The stories bring the techniques to life.

Any additional comments?

I believe if you are in business, have children you negotiate with or customers/clients....OK, everyone should listen to this knowledgeable, wonderful book and learn from the author. I would love to sit and have lunch with Christ Voss.

87 of 93 people found this review helpful

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Life Changing

Not many business books have had a profound effect on the way I do business, but this one has changed me and my style of pricing my products and negotiating my services forever.

Without making me become heartless, I feel like this book made me think about things differently and that simple paradigm shift has allowed me to make more money right away.

I had to negotiate a deal the other day and U did so without anxiety or fear.

Unlike so many other business books that waste half the book telling you how great the author is or trying to convince you why you should buy into the concept, this book doesn't waste a minute.

I plan to listen more than once because I am sure there are things I can understand more fully after another listen.

Strong narration by Michael Kramer. ,Amazing content, and more than the title implies, you will learn how to sell, how to negotiate, and how to walk away and feel good about it, knowing that some people just aren't your customers. I learned that meeting people halfway is poison for my business because it turns out that those are really customers who cannot afford to pay my rates in the first place and then later have no respect for what we do because, of course, they didn't pay full price, so why should they?

Since reading/listening to this book less than a month ago, I have gotten full price for deals I would have previously discounted out of fear of losing the deal, and have gotten zero push back from the clients. It was like magic. It just took the guts to try it, which was scary because as a small business owner, it's real money I am playing with.

But it worked, and I have changed. This isn't something they teach in business school, but they should. I'm not kidding about it being life changing. My new favorite book of all time for non-fiction. Bravo, Chris Voss.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • 10-15-16

Great info - wished for more business applications

There were a TON of useful and potentially game changing nuggets in this book. Very useful insights into understanding how the other side of the table is thinking during a negotiation.

I will definitely be listening to this one again to help digest the content more and may make a habit of listening on a regular basis to help keep me focused in my negotiating practices.

Only reason I didn't feel I could give a full 5 stars is that I was really hoping for more business applications. But don't let that stop you this is an incredibly valuable book and the time spent with it is well worth it.

117 of 128 people found this review helpful

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That's right!

Wow, what a difference there is between "That's right" and "You're right". This single epiphany has changed my approach, removed pressure, and given me stronger connections to all my counterparties.

47 of 53 people found this review helpful

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Great Bits of Information

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would say that there is a decent amount of information that is presented to the listener of this book.

Any additional comments?

Once you complete the first couple of chapters the book becomes much more interesting. I do like hearing some of the issues the author has dealt with as a hostage negotiator and the lessons learned from his teams mistakes. I also like the lessons he attributes to those who are untrained but he had been mindful enough to pay attention to tactics that would work and find out what the process was that made it work and then employ those tactics. This has great benefit for bargaining deals. I will be using these tactics in various situations but will find it most helpful when buying real estate.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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As a commercial real estate broker I found a lot of value in this book

I would recommend this book to anyone in commercial real estate. The principles are very easy to follow and implement. Again, kudos to Chris Voss for this great book.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful