Never Split The Difference Summary

Never Split the Difference is a comprehensive guide to negotiation that covers everything from the basics of persuasion to the psychology of human behavior.

  • Title: Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
  • Author: Chris Voss
  • Summary: 12 min
  • Total book reading time: 6 hours
  • Score: 9/10
  • Published: 2016

Never split the difference in three sentences:

  • Never Split the Difference is a book about negotiation by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator.
  • The book teaches readers how to use emotional intelligence and empathy to build rapport with their negotiation partners, get them to open up, and ultimately get what they want.
  • It is a practical and effective guide to negotiation that can be used in any setting, from business to personal relationships.

What the book is about:

Never Split the Difference is a comprehensive guide to negotiation that covers everything from the basics of persuasion to the psychology of human behavior. Voss draws on his experience as a hostage negotiator to teach readers how to read people, build rapport, and create a win-win outcome for both parties.

Main takeaways:

  • Empathize with your negotiation partner. The first step to successful negotiation is to understand where the other person is coming from. What are their needs? What are their fears? Once you understand their perspective, you can start to build rapport and trust.
  • Listen more than you talk. Negotiation is a conversation, not a monologue. The more you listen, the more you will learn about the other person’s position. And the more you learn, the better equipped you will be to persuade them.
  • Be patient and persistent. Negotiation is a process, not an event. It takes time to build rapport, trust, and a mutually agreeable outcome. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get everything you want right away. Just keep listening, empathizing, and negotiating.

Never Split the difference Book notes and recap:


  • The book begins with a story about Voss’s experience negotiating with a hostage taker. This story illustrates the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence in negotiation.
  • Voss then introduces the four cornerstones of his negotiation strategy: rapport, trust, curiosity, and control.


  • The middle of the book covers the nuts and bolts of negotiation. Voss discusses how to set goals, build rapport, listen effectively, ask powerful questions, and overcome objections.
  • He also shares some of his favorite negotiation tactics, such as the “gray man” technique and the “mirroring technique.”


  • In the end, Voss argues that negotiation is not about winning or losing. It’s about finding a solution that works for everyone involved.
  • He also stresses the importance of being flexible and adaptable in negotiation. Things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be able to think on your feet and adjust your strategy as needed.

Spicy takeaways:

  • Use the “rule of three.” When you’re negotiating, repeat the last three words of the other person’s statement. This shows that you’re listening and that you understand their point of view.
  • Use the “gray man” technique. When you’re negotiating with someone who is aggressive or hostile, try to blend in and become as non-threatening as possible. This will help to calm them down and make them more receptive to your arguments.
  • Use the “mirroring technique.” When you’re negotiating with someone, try to mirror their body language and tone of voice. This will help to build rapport and trust.

Never Split the Difference is a comprehensive and practical guide to negotiation that can be used by anyone, from business professionals to personal relationships. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to be more successful in negotiations.

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