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How To Negotiate - Never Split The Difference - Book Review

I'm a proper introvert and have always found it hard to stand my ground, mainly because letting the other person win is less exhausting. Who wants to spend mental energy convincing someone of something?

But I've always wanted to learn how to negotiate since I encounter it often and admire it when it's done well. So in my research, I've come across "Never Split The Difference," and it's SO GOOD.

White, yellow, and red, "Never Split The Difference" book cover

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One of the things I like most is that Chris touches on the human aspect of negotiating. The fact that you might feel manipulative or stupid following these steps. You might feel like a fraud and that it's apparent that you're following a script.

The truth? No one will know. And if they do, they'll be impressed and aware that they're dealing with someone that's come prepared.

Never Split The Difference


Here's a quick summary:

1. There are always emotions involved

People are emotional beings. Believing negotiating is devoid of emotion is untrue.

Pay close attention to, accept, and understand the other person's emotional attachment to the negotiation.

Emotions usually reveal the person's "why."

2. Be a mirror

Repeat what the other person is saying, not mockingly, but as an indication that you're listening and following along closely.

This validates feelings and builds rapport and trust.

3. Label it

When you recognize and label emotions, you help your opponent uncover details about themself.

"I can see that you're very passionate about XYZ."

Labeling emotions keeps people thinking about themself, their feelings, wants, and needs. This, in turn, gives you insight into their motivations.


4. Get to "no" quickly

If you get a "yes" early in a negotiation, it's usually insincere and manipulation for moving the negotiation along.

A "no," on the other hand, sets a clear foundation and allows you to figure out how to move up (or down) from there.

The "no" tells you how to get to the "yes."

5. "That's right"

You don't want "you're right"; you want "that's right."

"That's right" means you're both looking at the problem from the same point of view - it's a shared problem.

"You're right" means the person agrees with what you're saying, but now it's about you, not about finding a shared solution.

6. Set deadlines and be fair

Setting a deadline creates pressure and urgency, which most people need to get going.

It works both ways, but deadlines thrown at you are always flexible.

To build the idea of fairness, be genuine and sympathetic.


7. Open-ended questions

Ask questions that require the other person to think about their answers.

Be wary of questions that have one-word answers; these will bring you no insight. It also won't get them closer to revealing their "why."

8. The Rule of Three

You need to get them to agree three times verbally.

  • The first time counts as the first agreement.

  • Next, the goal is to get a "that's right."

  • Then you ask what you can do to make it happen, which indicates you have a mutual goal in mind, the final agreement.


9. Three types of negotiators

Accommodators, assertive negotiators, and analysts.

  • Accommodators trade information and work hard to find a win-win.

  • Assertive negotiators don't mess around; time is money.

  • Analysts are detailed, and they arrive with a plan.

Knowing which one you are and which type your opponent is essential.

10. Black Swans

Black swans are the hidden reasons someone is doing what they're doing.

When someone sticks to their guns even when it seems they're shooting themself in the foot, there's usually a deeper reason for this behavior.

If you figure out this "why," you have immense power and can use it to your advantage in a big way.


The Bottom Line

This is a book you'll read, reread, and take off your shelf to double-check something and then read again. The anecdotes illustrate each step perfectly, and it's such an easy read. I kept nodding, putting the book down, and thinking, "it's that simple."


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