Never Split the Difference (Old Version) Book Summary - Never Split the Difference (Old Version) Book explained in key points
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Never Split the Difference (Old Version) summary

Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

4.5 (1271 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

"Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz is a negotiation guide based on the author's experience as a top FBI hostage negotiator. It offers actionable tactics to improve your communication skills and overcome common negotiation mistakes.

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    Never Split the Difference (Old Version)
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    Negotiation is a part of life – and there’s more to it than rationality and intellect.

    Let’s start by laying some common ground. Negotiation is not just something reserved for lawyers, corporate boardrooms, and the FBI – it’s a part of everyday life. It happens at work and with friends, your partner, and even your kids who beg to stay up past their bedtime or have one last try at a videogame level. Every time there are two or more people who want different outcomes from the same situation, negotiation comes into play. 

    So, what makes for a successful negotiator? Well, accepting that your life is filled with and fueled by negotiation is the first step. There are lots of ways to negotiate, but the most effective techniques incorporate human nature. Connecting with others in a psychologically conscious way will help you understand your own mind as well as your peers’ motives – which will give you a significant advantage. Let’s see how.

    For years, negotiation theory was based on the assumption that people acted rationally. But more recent studies, like the one by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, revealed that the majority of people actually act irrationally and unpredictably. That’s because their behavior is governed by a series of psychological mechanisms called cognitive biases. There are over 150 of them – but the main point is this: people act instinctively, emotionally, and irrationally. 

    Even rational thoughts are often influenced by irrational ones. And since rational thoughts take longer to formulate, people tend to default to irrationality. Just think about how you came up with that perfect comeback or answer to a discussion – minutes or hours after it ended!

    There’s one key technique to negotiating effectively, and that’s listening. In order to gain knowledge of how a person thinks and feels, you have to listen actively, strategically, and empathetically. 

    Let’s look at some techniques to put this active listening into practice.

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    What is Never Split the Difference (Old Version) about?

    Never Split the Difference (2016) is your guide to negotiation. Based on the extensive FBI work of Chris Voss, the authors offer up hands-on advice about how to negotiate your way to success, whether it’s in the office, the home, or a hostage stand-off.

    Who should read Never Split the Difference (Old Version)?

    • Leaders and managers
    • Workers in the market for a job or a raise
    • Anyone with a spouse, partner or friend

    About the Author

    Chris Voss is a former lead kidnapping negotiator with the FBI. His many years of experience negotiating with all manner of criminals make him an expert in the field. He’s the founder of negotiation consultancy The Black Swan Group and a professor who has taught negotiation courses everywhere from Harvard University to MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

    Tahl Raz is a journalist and co-author of the New York Times bestseller, Never Eat Alone.

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