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BOOK REVIEW Never Split The Difference, by Chris Voss

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How do you RATE Never Split The Difference by Voss? (READERS ONLY PLEASE!)

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MJ DeMarco

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This month's book discussion is here as voted on by the forum, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

I have not read it, but it is a repeated favorite here at Fastlane.



To get:

To review:
Please use the following format!

3 stars out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::xx::xx:
(The STAR/X emojis are under the emoji icon, under "commenting icons.")

Format: Audible

My thoughts/review:
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is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

Key takeaways:
  1. Key takeaway #1
  2. Key takeaway #2
  3. Key takeaway #3
  4. Key takeaway #4
 

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LightHouse

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Loved it, will edit in my review and also the quick reference guide I found on it that I've sent to a few fastlaners

Here is the cheat sheet/quick reference quide I found to be incredibly useful. I have a paper copy in my backpack.

I wish I could link the author of it, all I know is his name is David Erlich.
 

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amp0193

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I just finished reading this, didn't know it was the book of the month!

4 starts out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::xx:


Format: Hardcover from library (that my 2-year-old drew all over, so now I own!)

My thoughts/review:
For a guy who's one of the world leading hostage negotiators, I expected some better action-packed hostage situation stories. The book didn't really deliver in this aspect, and so it wasn't nearly as engaging to me as it could have otherwise been.

That's my only reason for knocking a star. The meat of the content is great and paradigm-shifting when you've been raised to think of compromise and both sides giving something up as the thing to strive for.

This is not a book I would recommend borrowing, or listening to just once. I really think you need to own a physical copy to reference. This material is dense, and you will not absorb it, or even pretend to be able to put it into practice after one fly-by. You are reprogramming your brain and your whole approach, and it comes with scripts, that until you've practiced, are not natural, and you will not remember.


Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
This book remains on my nightstand for the purpose of being able to quick reference the Appendix: Prepare a Negotiation One Sheet. So I guess it's my favorite "chapter".

The book is difficult to take action on and apply to real-life. There's just too much to remember. The appendix serves as a worksheet that encompasses all of the lessons of the book, and walks you through preparing for a real-life negotiation with a one-page document that has everything you need to prep for the negotiation.

Walking into a negotiation with a supplier last week, I had my goal defined (the best case scenario outcome), wrote down all of the possible things they would say, and my responses to those things (half of which were said in the actual conversation). It made it much easier to say no to things that fell outside of the pre-determined best case scenario path that I had chosen to take in advance. This was in the face of who I would consider an experienced b2b salesman, who was very smooth, and kept trying to preemptively "close" me along the way.

I ended up with the best case scenario... which did a lot for me, and didn't do all that much for the other party. I got 1/4 of the order shipped to me upfront on net-30 terms, with no down payment, with promise to pay for everything else in 4 weeks.

Without a plan... I wouldn't have gotten that.

Key takeaways:
  1. Your goal for a negotiation needs to be the best case scenario... not the compromise. When the compromise is on your radar... you head that direction subconsciously... or worse.
  2. Prepare for a negotiation ahead of time. Think through everything. Write it all down. If you are surprised or caught off guard.. it's your own damn fault.
  3. Use labels to lower their guard and keep them talking and to reveal more to you. For example, summarizing what they just said with a statement like "It seems like ______ is valuable to you".
  4. Get your opponent to say "No" to you. It makes them feel comfortable and in control. "Is now a bad time to talk?" is better than "Do you have a minute to talk".
 
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gryfny

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I will take this as an opportunity to reread the book. I listened to the audible version last year, and I loved it! I'll write a proper review when I have reread it.
 

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I just downloaded it. I have to finish billion dollar lessons, then I will start on it.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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I just finished reading this, didn't know it was the book of the month!

4 starts out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::xx:


Format: Hardcover from library (that my 2-year-old drew all over, so now I own!)

My thoughts/review:
For a guy who's one of the world leading hostage negotiators, I expected some better action-packed hostage situation stories. The book didn't really deliver in this aspect, and so it wasn't nearly as engaging to me as it could have otherwise been.

That's my only reason for knocking a star. The meat of the content is great and paradigm-shifting when you've been raised to think of compromise and both sides giving something up as the thing to strive for.

This is not a book I would recommend borrowing, or listening to just once. I really think you need to own a physical copy to reference. This material is dense, and you will not absorb it, or even pretend to be able to put it into practice after one fly-by. You are reprogramming your brain and your whole approach, and it comes with scripts, that until you've practiced, are not natural, and you will not remember.


Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
This book remains on my nightstand for the purpose of being able to quick reference the Appendix: Prepare a Negotiation One Sheet. So I guess it's my favorite "chapter".

The book is difficult to take action on and apply to real-life. There's just too much to remember. The appendix serves as a worksheet that encompasses all of the lessons of the book, and walks you through preparing for a real-life negotiation with a one-page document that has everything you need to prep for the negotiation.

Walking into a negotiation with a supplier last week, I had my goal defined (the best case scenario outcome), wrote down all of the possible things they would say, and my responses to those things (half of which were said in the actual conversation). It made it much easier to say no to things that fell outside of the pre-determined best case scenario path that I had chosen to take in advance. This was in the face of who I would consider an experienced b2b salesman, who was very smooth, and kept trying to preemptively "close" me along the way.

I ended up with the best case scenario... which did a lot for me, and didn't do all that much for the other party. I got 1/4 of the order shipped to me upfront on net-30 terms, with no down payment, with promise to pay for everything in 4 weeks.

Without a plan... I wouldn't have gotten that.

Key takeaways:
  1. Your goal for a negotiation needs to be the best case scenario... not the compromise. When the compromise is on your radar... you head that direction subconsciously... or worse.
  2. Prepare for a negotiation ahead of time. Think through everything. Write it all down. If you are surprised or caught off guard.. it's your own damn fault.
  3. Use labels to lower their guard and keep them talking and to reveal more to you. For example, summarizing what they just said with a statement like "It seems like ______ is valuable to you".
  4. Get your opponent to say "No" to you. It makes them feel comfortable and in control. "Is now a bad time to talk?" is better than "Do you have a minute to talk".
I could have written every word of your review except for the two yr old and the cool closing story. I did start using some of the techniques but I wholeheartedly agree it’s a book that needs to be reread multiple times.

4 stars all the way.
 

Ernman

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:star::star::star::star::star: Very good. I re-listen to it frequently and try to put it into practice.
 

Dylan Hobrecht

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Excellent!

This book is dope! I haven't made it past the first chapter though. I have been reading and rereading over and over again haha...

I've made it through the chapter maybe four times. My favorite part was assumptions blind, hypothesis guide. It really didn't click at first. But if you go in with an open mind and a clue you'll be able to use your mind to your advantage.

Loved the book will go for more.

My trick is mastery vs information overload. When you master a little bit. It helps big time!
 

amp0193

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I wholeheartedly agree it’s a book that needs to be reread multiple times.
Re-read, and more importantly put into practice in real life situations. The content isn't going to stick if you aren't ever negotiating anything.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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Re-read, and more importantly put into practice in real life situations. The content isn't going to stick if you aren't ever negotiating anything.
I actually have put the negotiation stuff into some practice but I need to work on my poker face. I can’t NOT look like I’m having the time of my life. Every time something works I smile or giggle or say yay. Oops. I just get so excited like I learned this new cool trick!!

There’s a reason my friends call me Twink or Twinkle. Smdh.

The biggest aha for me was the part about Tactical Empathy. I use that every day but I learned it as ‘Active Listening’ from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

I still have no clue how to do this though:
“Using all your skills to create rapport, agreement, and connection with a counterpart is useful, but ultimately that connection is useless unless the other person feels that they are equally as responsible, if not solely responsible, for creating the connection and the new ideas they have.”

I keep making the above too hard, my strategy mind keeps thinking “Be DiCaprio in Inception!!” LMAO.

He went on to talk about this:
“Though the intensity may differ from person to person, you can be sure that everyone you meet is driven by two primal urges: the need to feel safe and secure, and the need to feel in control. If you satisfy those drives, you’re in the door.”

The above is gold. I make ppl feel safe every day and I know how valuable it is to project confidence and kindness while letting them take the lead but.. my job doesn’t require me to confront ppl.. ever. So. Hm.

I probably underlined half this book. It’s a lot of excellent stuff and implementing it in multiple arenas has GOT to be the genius factor.

You’re right when you said his book lacked stories though, I wanted a lot more. SO much good info but.. learning it and applying it is going to take time.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Where are all the folks who voted for this book and couldn't wait to sing its praises!?
 

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Brewmacker

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@MJ DeMarco I started the book yesterday & already a third of the way through.

It is already paying dividends when dealing with the engineering project managements (aka the peacocks) upstairs.

Will give it a proper review inline with your template when complete
 

Roli

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I just finished reading this, didn't know it was the book of the month!

4 starts out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::xx:


Format: Hardcover from library (that my 2-year-old drew all over, so now I own!)

My thoughts/review:
For a guy who's one of the world leading hostage negotiators, I expected some better action-packed hostage situation stories. The book didn't really deliver in this aspect, and so it wasn't nearly as engaging to me as it could have otherwise been.

That's my only reason for knocking a star. The meat of the content is great and paradigm-shifting when you've been raised to think of compromise and both sides giving something up as the thing to strive for.

This is not a book I would recommend borrowing, or listening to just once. I really think you need to own a physical copy to reference. This material is dense, and you will not absorb it, or even pretend to be able to put it into practice after one fly-by. You are reprogramming your brain and your whole approach, and it comes with scripts, that until you've practiced, are not natural, and you will not remember.


Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
This book remains on my nightstand for the purpose of being able to quick reference the Appendix: Prepare a Negotiation One Sheet. So I guess it's my favorite "chapter".

The book is difficult to take action on and apply to real-life. There's just too much to remember. The appendix serves as a worksheet that encompasses all of the lessons of the book, and walks you through preparing for a real-life negotiation with a one-page document that has everything you need to prep for the negotiation.

Walking into a negotiation with a supplier last week, I had my goal defined (the best case scenario outcome), wrote down all of the possible things they would say, and my responses to those things (half of which were said in the actual conversation). It made it much easier to say no to things that fell outside of the pre-determined best case scenario path that I had chosen to take in advance. This was in the face of who I would consider an experienced b2b salesman, who was very smooth, and kept trying to preemptively "close" me along the way.

I ended up with the best case scenario... which did a lot for me, and didn't do all that much for the other party. I got 1/4 of the order shipped to me upfront on net-30 terms, with no down payment, with promise to pay for everything else in 4 weeks.

Without a plan... I wouldn't have gotten that.

Key takeaways:
  1. Your goal for a negotiation needs to be the best case scenario... not the compromise. When the compromise is on your radar... you head that direction subconsciously... or worse.
  2. Prepare for a negotiation ahead of time. Think through everything. Write it all down. If you are surprised or caught off guard.. it's your own damn fault.
  3. Use labels to lower their guard and keep them talking and to reveal more to you. For example, summarizing what they just said with a statement like "It seems like ______ is valuable to you".
  4. Get your opponent to say "No" to you. It makes them feel comfortable and in control. "Is now a bad time to talk?" is better than "Do you have a minute to talk".


Thank you for your very comprehensive review, it has pretty much sold me on the book.

I just have a quick question for you, or anyone else who has studied it as extensively as you have. I'm just wondering if the whole book is necessary?

The reason I ask is the sheet you talk about, and the bullet points you put above, pretty much seem to cover it.

Maybe I'm not quite asking the right question... I guess I'm honing in on the fact that you said it's very difficult to action this book, and I'm just wondering if there are any other cheats within its pages, like the sheet you mentioned.
 

eagleye101

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Rating:
:star::star::star::star::star:

Format: Audible & Paperback

My thoughts/review:
A great book about negotiation that brakes the "Getting-To-Yes" rules.

The author is a former FBI agent and many of the rules explained come straight from the field. I have listened to the book twice as an audiobook and have gotten the paperback in order to keep notes. The book is a negotiation "bible" in my opinion. I'm keeping the book with me when I travel to read some chapter when in an airplane or a bus. There are so many good points to the book that I cannot really remember most of it but they come to me when the occasion appears.

The tone of the book reminded me of the book "What every BODY is saying", a book about body language written also from a former FBI agent.

Favorite part:
Favorite part of the book is the explanation of the power of "NO"

Key takeaways:
  1. "NO" removes the insecurity of people thinking that you are making their decisions
  2. Tactical Empathy
  3. Bargain hard
  4. In order to become good at negotiation, you have to practice it continually, so I try to negotiate anything (even if I don't need to, like the price of something small like a cup of coffee) just to improve my skills.
  5. Remove the bad atmosphere by starting a conversation by addressing the negative verbally (i.e. start with "look, I'm an a**hole") instead of doing the opposite we often do (i.e. don't get mad but...)
  6. Black Swan. You never know what you don't know so stop making assumptions
 

John P.

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Coincidence, just started reading this one, less than 100 pages gone but hooked me once authors started with the System 1 and System 2 concepts from the book "Thinking fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman , which I found super useful also... more dots to connect

Even come up with one headline idea for a post on my company's blog: "What a software developer can learn from an FBI guy" :)
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Just started reading (er, listening) love it thus far.
 

LightHouse

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Loved it, will edit in my review and also the quick reference guide I found on it that I've sent to a few fastlaners

Here is the cheat sheet/quick reference quide I found to be incredibly useful. I have a paper copy in my backpack.

I wish I could link the author of it, all I know is his name is David Erlich.
Just added the cheat sheet as promised, take a look! Review coming soon, been working on writing a few other things first!
 

Roli

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Just added the cheat sheet as promised, take a look! Review coming soon, been working on writing a few other things first!
The link doesn't work for me...


Also @MJ DeMarco, this post by Lighthouse made me think of a great feature for the forum, which I don't think would be too hard to code in.

It would be great if we could have a find posts in this thread by this user button. Or am I being too overambitious with that one?
 
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MJ DeMarco

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It would be great if we could have a find posts in this thread by this user button. Or am I being too overambitious with that one?
Love that idea, but it's not within the scope of my expertise. It would have to come from a outsourced job from a developer ... and right now the developer I've been using is AWOL and is behind 2 weeks on the last project I gave him.
 

LightHouse

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The link doesn't work for me...


Also @MJ DeMarco, this post by Lighthouse made me think of a great feature for the forum, which I don't think would be too hard to code in.

It would be great if we could have a find posts in this thread by this user button. Or am I being too overambitious with that one?
It is in the second post in this thread as an attachment. I just tried it and it worked.

direct: BOOK REVIEW - Never Split The Difference, by Chris Voss
 

Roli

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Love that idea, but it's not within the scope of my expertise. It would have to come from a outsourced job from a developer ... and right now the developer I've been using is AWOL and is behind 2 weeks on the last project I gave him.
Me neither, I can sort of see how it would be done. All posters would be added to some kind of dynamic array, with the look up being activated by the button. Then some JS jiggery pokery to get it to display.

Shame, if I did, I'd happily do it for free, you and this forum have done a lot for me over the years.

It is in the second post in this thread as an attachment. I just tried it and it worked.
Thanks, I've actually just bought the book, however it's good to have in .pdf format as well.
 

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Primeperiwinkle

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Story Time!!!!

I told a friend about this book. He was hesitant but finally read it. (Der. If I tell you a book is good trust me!!)

Anyhoo.. he read the book and loved it. About two weeks later he needed me to do some PR for his site. I really didn’t want to. He offered me more money. I countered. He withdrew his entire offer!

So I did the weird number thing and threw in taking him out for coffee and closed the deal!!

I can’t do math right now so I dunno how much of an increase this is .. but he was gonna pay me $25 per thing and he ended up paying me $109!!!!!

Squeeeeeeee!!!

The REALLY funny thing is that as soon as I closed and he agree he was like.. “I knew you were doing the Voss thing but I couldn’t resist!!!”

Lmfao. This is like selling cars or jewelry to me. It’s just so. much. fun! Hahaha..
 

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Read this a few years ago, on my list to reread.

I remember it being extremely good, with many tips and ideas I have successfully used in my life.

One thing I remember clearly is this: instead of saying no, put the burden on your counterpart to argue against themselves, asking something like "how am I supposed to do that?".
Extremely powerful. Use it all the time.
 

MILIANARD134

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Well, reading your reviews make me a buyer, i go to my boosktore in 1hour and grab this book, sadly, they don't have it in english, only in french..
 

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I've listened to this multiple times and loved it every time. Lots of good information. Just like with any book, if you don't practice the methods than it was just a story. I use his methods when selling/buying things on Craiglist and Facebook Marketplace with great results.
 

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I am half way through the book now for the second time :)

4 starts out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::xx:

Format: Audible (but will definitely ask Santa for the paperback)

My review:

Paradigm shift.
This booked delivered a new way of thinking & approaching conflict for me and therefore was extremely novel. Then again so was "The Game" by Niel Strauss hahaha. Unlike the "The Game" the author has his shit together, so I am definitely not making a comparison of the content of the two books. Rather the books, like Unscripted, induced a personal paradigm shift.

I have already began playing with the concepts taught & these are being reinforced on the second read. It will be a while before I adopt them into serious business with the belief of success, but already the smaller negotiations in life are becoming much more pleasant.

Structure of book
As an engineer with logical thinking and balanced introverted & extroverted characteristics this is a great book as the method and prescription is clear and systematic. There is so much valuable information in this book that it will take years to perfect, but practicing is no confrontational so it is actually really good fun.

Like "The Power of Now" this is a book I wish I could read until I knew every word by heart and could live by it. So it will be a book that will be picked up on a yearly basis at least.

Rating - Star deduction
My reason for knocking a star off was that I was left a little unsatisfied in the end. I am not sure why, maybe because of my practical side that learns best from story telling, or learning from others examples. Maybe as I begin to tryout and practice these methods and skills the experience will show that the Author gave precisely the right level of examples. In that case I will feed that back to this thread. This could also come from the fact that it was an audible version, but sitting down with a book is just not feasible at this time (time management ;)).


Conclusion
I always started a negotiation off the cuff, without really thinking about the whole process. Even from the beginning, "what do I actually want, or what is the minimum I am prepared to accept/offer".

The book has given me a respect for negotiation, to plan/strategise, to prepare using 'how' or 'what' style questions to let the other person work the negotiation for you, develop techniques to build rapport and use these to disarm/make comfortable your opposition and to aim high to reach your desired goal in the end.

Thanks for the book suggestion and I look forward to the next one! (?)
 

amp0193

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Another shout out to this book.

Had to negotiate with a contractor.... goal: get current project done for free, because he never delivered on a past project.

Having the goal clearly defined in my head of "I want this current project done this month for zero dollars", allowed me to easily deflect and shoot down his repeated offers to do more future work to make up for the non-delivered projects.

He is a very good communicator and savvy negotiator (which is how he convinced me to pay upfront for the past project!), and it was fun to see him buckle under the skills I learned from this book.
 

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5 stars out of 5 stars
:star::star::star::star::star:

Format: Paperback

My thoughts/review:
Wow this book was awesome.
The hostage stories were really cool to read.
Unlike the other persuasion book we read, "Influence" by Cialdini, this one wasn't a chore to read through.

This book is so well written i've actually absorbed a lot of useful advice in just one read through.
Just of the top of my head i can recall,
1)Mirroring
2)Calibrating Questions(starting with How,What)
3)the strategic power of "fair"
4)Label statement(It seems....)
5)Ackerman haggling(start with insultingly low offer at 65% of ur target, then go 85%, 95%,100%)
6)Embrace EMPATHY, understand your counterpart and talk to them based on their worldview.
7)Black Swans, the unknown unknowns in a negotiation, probably at least 3 of them that could be a game changer.
8)The power of silence, let your last sentence do the work in their mind.
9)3 main personality types: assertive, accommodating, analytical
10)the power of "THAT'S RIGHT" Versus "Yes", if they say "that's right" it means you got through to them without feeling like you forced it.
11)Accusation Audit, lay out all the potential grievances at the beginning to take away their power since its all out in the open from the start.
12)the power of "no" without saying no, its a confrontational word so better to say something like "im really sorry but im afraid this won't work for us"
13)People often make decisions based on emotion, irrationally.

I remembered some of the hostage sitations too, like the terrorist group in the Philippines stories and how fuked up things got, the bank robbers in NYC, the crazy suicide by cop story, and various business type negotions.

Favorite (or least favorite) chapter:
Man the whole book was just awesome, each further chapter used stuff mentioned in previous chapters.
That's how i was able to remember so much stuff.
Once Voss discussed Calibrating Questions and labels, he used them over and over and over again throughout the book in different situations.

Key takeaways:
Pretty much the numbered list i wrote above.

Honestly this may be my favorite book that we've read so far in the book club.

my favorite line is now "How am i supposed to do that" lol
 
Last edited:

MHP368

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One of the two books I recommend for nee psych nurses (psych nursing is a lot more like hostage negotiation than you'd think)
 

luniac

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Also forgot to mention,
this book is a classic example of street smart vs book smart.

The guy learned from actual in the field experience, real hostage negotiations, and openly talks about how wrong the negotiation theories of the time often were.
 

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