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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Never Split the DifferenceNever Split the Difference by Chris Voss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly, I got a weird feeling when I first read the title because it felt almost like a call to arms, like I was being told that the idea of compromise was utterly insane...

and I was right. It is. But not for the sake of arguing for argument's sake. It's funny, but I really liked this book. Any book that has a call to arms like this but keeps a central tenant like "tactical empathy" and "Really, truly listening to someone" isn't crazy.

And besides, it reminds me of the old story of Solomon and the two mothers who both insist that this one baby is their own and they're totally inconsolable about it. Wise old Solomon commands them to split the baby in half and let each mother take the half they want.

That's TOTALLY LEGIT, man.

The Solomon story isn't in this book but it ought to be. Instead, the author just went through Quantico and has done an amazing number of successful hostage negotiations and has helped a ton of people get exactly what they want in the business world.

How? A hint: he's never belligerent. He listens, mirrors what they're saying, and stays in calm control. And when I mean he listens, he truly, actively tries to understand exactly where the other person is coming from... and then finds a solution. Often it's not even the thing the other person asks for, but simply what they need. Understanding, validation, reassurance that they won't be murdered by cops if they come out with their hands up.

Those kinds of things. :)

I simplify, of course, but this book has a ton of great practical exercises to diffuse situations and actively engage whomever you're in negotiations with. When there is a consensus, real progress can be made. That means welcoming every "no" at the table. That merely defines the context. Yes's are fine, but defining the context will get to the heart of what people really want... and oddly enough, it's usually a lot less than or completely different from what they initially demanded.

Of course, it may take a bit more time to figure out the baby situation, but here's a little hint... the mother that screams and gives up her right to the baby probably loves the baby more. I'd trust her.

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