Never Split the Difference

by Christopher Voss
Life Communication Reading

In Never Split the Difference Chris Voss, the author, explains why most of what we have been thought about negotiation is wrong and that concepts such as fairness and rational decisions do not exist. The real negotiation doesn’t start or end with Yes but rather with No. This book will make you appreciate hearing No more often, and you will learn that No often gets you further then Yes.

Chriss Voss is a battle-tested FBI negotiator with years of experience with life-or-death situations. In Never Split the Difference, he not only shows what works but also why. His teaching is based on real-life, experience not only with hostage situations but also with teaching and guiding people in business to close the best deals possible.

We spend a lot of our lives unknowingly negotiating, so we might as well get better at it. Never Split the Difference provides a strong foundation for negotiation with many easy and useful takeaways. What sets this book and techniques in it apart from others is the focus on empathy and emotional intelligence. These leanings were game-changers for FBI, and Voss brings them into real-life situations with lively examples and stories from his clients.

Be a Mirror

Concept of Being a Mirror stuck with me the most and has already helped me tremendously in my everyday life. Mirroring works by repeating words of what someone has just said back to them. Mirroring makes your counterpart elaborate, often yielding more vital information for you. People fear difference and are drawn to similarities. Mirroring evokes the feeling of bonding which encourages the other side to keep talking and often reveal more then they wanted to. This skill is also very convenient for keeping conversation up and running with whoever you might want to, if it’s your boss, new teammate, or potential significant other.

Listening and labeling

Voss stresses it multiple times through the book - listing is the key. People want to be heard and understood. Listening is a cheap and easy way to demonstrate empathy and show a desire to hear more. Another essential skill to learn is labeling. Labeling means naming someone’s emotions, acknowledging them, and letting them now that you identify and understand their feeling. To label an emotion, you almost always begin with “It seems like…”, “It sounds like…”, or “It looks like…”. Once you throw the label into the open, it is good to stay quiet and listen. By naming (labeling) the emotions, we diffuse or defuse the bad ones and reinforce the good ones. Both these skills go hand in hand and will once again help you bond and build a more reliable connection with the counterpart.


Never Split the Difference might be your key to a better salary or happier relationship. This book has a ton to offer to absolutely anyone and does so in easy to understand manner. Voss’s writing is easy to follow, and all the concepts are clear, with plenty of examples and proofs.

Read more

If you want to learn more about the negotiation skills without reading the book, take a look at the following links:

  1. Book summary by ReadingGraphics
  2. Book summary by Tejas Kinger
  3. Book summary by Sam Thomas Davies

Or print the Summary Cheat Sheet.


Title: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Author: Christopher Voss
ISBN10: 0062407805
ISBN13: 9780062407801