Non Fiction

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

I changed a bit my reading habits by incorporating this non-fiction book about negotiation into my TBR

Themes: nonfiction, negotiation, psychology, self-help

The synopsis

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a kidnapping negotiator brought him face-to-face with bank robbers, gang leaders and terrorists. Never Split the Difference takes you inside his world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the nine key principles that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed when it mattered the most – when people’s lives were at stake.

Rooted in the real-life experiences of an intelligence professional at the top of his game, Never Split the Difference will give you the competitive edge in any discussion.

The review

I want to begin this post by underlying how easy this book is to read. Since Voss made a partnership with a journalist to write it, you really find the same writing style as articles. It’s also very well organised with chapters composed of the study of a case/event linked to the study of a negotiation theory or tool. I really appreciated the summaries at the end of each chapter which allow you to come back quickly to the techniques if you want to refresh your memory.

The argumentation is clear with concrete examples from diverse situations from the kidnapping to the guy negotiating his rent. The concepts are not far-fetched but ones that are drawn from everyday psychology to which we usually don’t pay much attention. I don’t understand some criticism I was that were saying Voss is boasting about his past experiences while he gives us examples where he screwed up too. Obviously, a big part of the book is about his experience but it’s logical since he’s trying to give us the tools that he discovered and that he’s currently teaching to students or workers. And, yes this is (partly) manipulation but after all, negotiation is about getting what you want and is just a process, what can be ethically criticised are the goals people are trying to achieve by it.

In brief: A very good book about negotiation with techniques you can use at any moment of your life. I enjoyed the examples drawn from Voss’s life since it make the book less conceptual and very easy to understand!

My rating: 5/5

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