The biggest error of conventional negotiating theory, says Chris Voss, formerly the FBI’s top international kidnap negotiator, is the assumption people are logical and behave in their own best interests. In fact, no one behaves rationally, leaving emotion to dominate pressure situations. That’s as true in business, Voss writes, as it is in the FBI. After all, life is one negotiation after another—from buying a car to starting a business to asking for a raise.
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Voss provides lists and tips throughout the book, breaking effective negotiating into nine general principles: Be a mirror; don’t feel their pain; beware of yes, master no; trigger the two words that immediately transform any negotiation; bend reality; create the illusion of control; guarantee execution; bargain hard; and find black swans. Voss illustrates points with anecdotes from his FBI career, lending the book some suspense—rare for a business treatise.
Never Split the Difference
By Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
May; HarperBusiness; $29
This article appears in the May 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.