Reading List: Never Split the Difference

UPDATED: April 23, 2016
PUBLISHED: April 23, 2016

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.

Related: How to Stand Up for Yourself 

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.

Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.