Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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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.
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 7 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||May 17 2016|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #38 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Negotiating
#1 in Career Guides (Books)
#1 in Negotiating Skills (Books)
Reviewed in Canada on June 12, 2021
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Reviewed in Singapore 🇸🇬 on April 17, 2022
Reviewed in Singapore 🇸🇬 on November 22, 2020
The problem is that the discussion fails to consistently & convincingly bridge the divide between hostage negotiation and everyday layperson or business negotiation.
Sure, the anecdotes that begin each chapter with a live hostage negotiation are exciting and well-written storytelling. However, the author too often treats the other party in negotiation like some crazed terrorist beyond help or understanding. Like they're subhumans that won't submit to logic, reason, or peaceable negotiations. Yes, they may be inhumane terrorists or criminals to the USA FBI, but in their mind or culture, they're reasonable people.
The language is also demeaning and juiced with unconscious bias. For example, in describing a former role as suicide hotline operator, he labels frequent callers as "highly dysfunctional people, energy vampires whom no one else would listen to anymore." That kind of blatant disregard for people quickly saps the author's credibility. Whether they are or aren't is irrelevant; it's the tone and attitude and stereotyped labeling that hurt the lessons delivered. Furthermore, the author seems to take a strange pride in dealing or shutting off these crazed crackpots. "I was a natural," he'd brag, or describe how consistently he out-negotiated money from Harvard law students by asking, "How am I supposed to do that?" He constantly talks about being "eager to put my new skills to the test" for hostage negotiations without going into depth about what those skills are, or how they'd apply to our real-life scenarios.
The book's saving grace is that there are real-life examples, such as negotiating a sale price or business deal with people at Coca Cola or the local used car dealership. It's just that those examples rarely tie back to the hostage negotiations because the people on the other side are labeled and characterized so differently. I can't frame an experienced landlord as terrorists described as maniacal killers without some guidance.
It also feels robotic at times, like the author -- as FBI negotiator -- is just trying to get a desired result rather than trying to make a genuine emotional connection and effort to understand the other side. When criminals like bank robber Watts and the devout Christian are successfully negotiated to surrender, Voss ends the story, never telling us whether or not the people actually reform, or if they are treated fairly under arrest. As such, the negotiations feel artificial and hollow, in the sense that the FBI got what it wanted, but did the other side? Did they feel betrayed after being handcuffed and led to prison?
Negotiations in everyday life don't end with one party jailed, or terrorists blacklisted. These are real human beings, and how they view the result is as important as the technique used to receive it, because in real life negotiations, you often have to continue the relationship, or see the other party again. The book reads like it was written by a cop -- or worse yet, a government official. He does discuss the psychology and emotional aspect of negotiation to great lengths, but it often reads like he's maniacally trying to bring the other side to justice, overly convinced of being in the right, as the language just smacks of self-righteousness. It dehumanizes the people on the other side of the negotiation, as objects to be manipulated to an end, rather than human beings with whom you have to continue to deal amicably. It feels like I'm talking to a cop that has stopped me for driving over the speed limit, and he's pointing his flashlight at me, treating my explanations like those of a greasy criminal, and then talking me down with an overbearing air of mm-hmm superiority.
Techniques like mirroring, labeling, Ackerman bargaining, and categorization of Analyst/Accommodator/Assertives are applicable! I gained a lot from viewing things from those lenses. The author also redeems himself by writing, "Taking a positive, constructive approach to conflict involves understanding that the bond is fundamental to any resolution. Never create an enemy."
"The person across the table is never the problem. The unsolved issue is. So focus on the issue. This is one of the most basic tactics for avoiding emotional escalations."
Those kinds of statements ring true and applicable!
It's just that the FBI hostage negotiation angle too often focuses on the mental derangement and instability, inhumanity, or opacity of the hostage taker, terrorist or not. Take out some of that thrill and self-pats-on-the-back, and this book is fundamentally solid.
It shows how you can voice your opinion without being harsh by using empathy.
It helps you reveal the "Black Swans" - those hidden motives that make us think the other person's behaviour is crazy.
And most importantly (at least for me) it allows you to show your boundaries and your demands without being seen as harsh and selfish.
The book uncovers and explains more about human nature and you can find references from other persuasion, negotiation and psychology books. The author mentions newly found information that forms a more objective opinion on them.
I give 5 stars because the text is easy to read, easy to digest and easy to implement. There are also key notes at the end of each chapter that makes it easier to go back and study effectively.