BOTM: Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss

April 30, 2019



“The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas” 


Why I chose this book: 


I was looking up negotiation articles and videos online and stumbled across Chris Voss’ Talks at Google video. He has a tremendous background with the FBI as a hostage negotiator and even better stories. He bashed the previous negotiation book I read and wrote about, Getting To Yes, so I had to see what his point of view was. 




Voss breaks down each point of the negotiation process from data gathering, working in teams to breaking down negotiation personas. Most of his lessons and points come directly from situations he’s been in or close to. It captivates the reader as these are extremely intense life or death scenarios. 




There are so many takeaways from this book, but I’ll keep it to the top 5. 

  1. Mirroring is a great tactic to use which involves repeating the last few words your counterpart has said right back to them. This will trigger your counterpart to elaborate and sustain the process of connecting for you. 

  1. The contrast to Getting To Yes, trying to get someone to say “no” right off the bat will allow them to let their guard down at the beginning of the conversation. 

  1. Ask a lot of “how” questions as it implies asking for help and also allows your counterpart to negotiate against themselves. 

  1. The three different negotiation styles: Analyst, Accommodating, and Assertive. 

  1. Don’t commit to assumptions, use them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously. 




This is a fantastic and engaging read to really build your foundations on negotiations. I would test this out with small fish where you have nothing to lose. For example, negotiating gym membership pricing, getting a raise, etc. Then step it up to promotions, payment structures and large contracts. 


Recommended for: 


This book is for anyone that has to deal with negotiations regularly (which is everyone really) and anyone that is really fearful of the negotiation process, the person that just wants “everything to be fair”. This book is for you! 


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