Book Review: Never Split the Difference

Posted on Thu 07 May 2020 in Book Reviews • 2 min read

Never Split the difference by Chris Voss & Tahl Raz is a fantastic book how handling negotiations effectively. Chris is a former hostage negotiator for the FBI involving terrorist & kidnapping situations, this book helps you gain insight into how he dealt with negotiations then, and practical examples you can use in your own life.

Key Takeaways

The amount of practical & insightful wisdom in this book is amazing, here I've noted down quotes from the book which make up a fantastic starting point for ensuring a negotiation goes smoothly.


"When the pressure is on, you don't rise to the occasion - you fall to your highest level of preparation"

The Goal

"Think through the best/worse case scenarios, but only write down a specific goal that represents the best case"


"You must be able to summarize a situation in a way that your counterpart will respond with a "That's right", if they don't you haven't done it right"


Prepare 3 to 5 labels which can be used to extract information, or diffuse an accusation

  • "It seems like ____ is valuable to you"
  • "It seems like ____ makes it easier"
  • "It seems like you're reluctant to ____"

Calibrated Questions

"Prepare 3 to 5 calibrated questions to reveal value to you and your counterpart and identify & overcome potential deal killers"

  • "What are we trying to accomplish"
  • "What's the core issue here"
  • "What's the biggest challenge you face"


"Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has said. We fear what's different and are drawn to what's similar. Mirroring is the art of insinuating similarity, which facilitates bonding"

What and How

"Ask calibrated questions that begin with 'What' or 'How'. By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information"

Loss Aversion

"People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realise a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees there is something to lose by inaction"