Never Split the Difference

by Chris Voss

A former FBI Top Hostage Negotiator’s Filed-Tested Tools for Talking

Chapter 1 The New Rules

One core assumption is that feeling is a form of thinking. Inspired by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything but stable. Thus, do not assume people make rational decision especially when they are in negotiation.

  • Human suffers several behavioural phenomenons or theories, including Cognitive Bias, Framing Effect, Prospect Theory, Loss Aversion, etc.
  • System 1 (fast, instinctive, and emotional) and System 2 (slow, deliberative, and logical) are there to guide and steer the rational thoughts.
  • Tactical Empathy. When individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings. Listening is a martial art.
  • Negotiation servers to distinct (1) information gathering and (2) behaviour influencing

Chapter 2 Be A Mirror

Negotiator should engage the process with a mindset of discovery. The goal is to extract and observe as much information as possible. We start with we know nothing, and get to explore in the negotiation.

  • Don’t commit to assumptions; instead, view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously. Negotiation is not an act of battle, it’s a process of discovery.

  • Slow Down, put together all the puzzle pieces.

  • Use the Late-Night, FM DJ Voice: deep, soft, slow, and reassuring. Clam the other side down. It’s the voice of an easygoing, good-natured person. The attitude is light and encouraging. Relax and smile. Smiling would have an impact tonally.

  • Mirroring, also called isopaxism, is essentially imitation. It’s another neuro-behaviour humans display in which we copy each other to comfort each other. Establish Trust. Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathise and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy.

    • Repeat the last three words of what someone has just said.
    1. Start with “I’m sorry …”
    2. Mirror. Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words).
    3. Silence. At least four seconds, to let the mirror work its magic on your counterpart.
    4. Repeat

Chapter 3 Don’t Feel Their Pain, Label It

Negotiation is about emotional and feelings. How can one separate people from the problem when the emotions are the problem?

Instead of denying or ignoring emotions, good negotiators identify and influence them. Emotion is a tool.

  • Tactical Empathy. The ability to recognise the perspective of a counterpart, and of that recognition.
    • That’s an academic way of saying that empathy is paying attention to another human being, asking what they are feeling and making a commitment to understanding their world.
    • understand the feelings and mindset of another in the moment and also hearing what is behind those feelings so you increase your influence in all the moments that follow.
    • Labeling, by spotting their feelings, turned them into words, and then very calmly and respectfully repeated their emotions back to them.
    • Labeling is a way of validating someone’s emotion by acknowledging it. Give someone’s emotion a name and you show you identify with how the person feels.
    • use the wording with “roughly”: “it looks like you are …”, “it seems you don’t want to go back to jail”.
    • when you phrase a label as a neutral statement of understanding, it encourages your counterpart to be responsive.
    • The last rule of labeling is silence. Once thrown out a label, be quite and listen.
    • Label counterpart’s fears to diffuse their power. When deal with a person who wants to be appreciated and understood. So use labels to reinforce and encourage positive perceptions and dynamics.
    • when people are shown photos of faces expressing strong emotion, the brain shows greater activity in the amygdala, the part that generates fear. But when they are asked to label the emotion, the activity moves to the areas that govern rational thinking. In other words, labeling an emotion-applying rational words to a fear-disrupt its raw intensity.
    • list the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before the other person can.

Chapter 4 Beware “Yes” – Master “No”

“Yes” is often a meaningless answer that hides deeper objection (and “Maybe” is even worse). Pushing hard for “Yes” doesn’t get a negotiator any closer to a win; it just angers the other side. “No” is pure gold. That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want. ‘No’ is not failure, it lead to “Yes”, as the final goal. Don’t get to ‘Yes’ before the final. “No “make people feel safe, “Yes” make people guard.

  • “No” could be one of the alternative, i.e. I am not yet ready to agree;I don’t understand; I don’t think I can afford it.
  • After getting ‘No’, ask solution-based questions or simply label their effect, i.e. what about this doesn’t work for you? what would you need to make it work?
  • Every ‘No’ gets me closer to ‘Yes’. But how to lead to a ‘No’? Two ways as below.
    • Mislabel one’s emotions or desires. Say something that you know is totally wrong, i.e. “So it seems that you really are eager to leave your job”. That forces them to listen and makes them comfortable correcting you by saying ‘No’.
    • Ask the other party what they don’t want. People are comfortable saying ‘No’ because it feels like self-protection. And once you’ve gotten them to say ‘No’, people are much more open to moving forward to new options and ideas.
  • In Email, how ever to be ignored again. Provoke a “No” with a one-sentence email.

Chapter 5 Trigger The Two Words That Immediately Transform Any Negotiation

Never try to get “Yes” at the end point. “Yes” is nothing without “how”. In business negotiation, “that’s right” often leads to the best outcomes. “That’s right” is great, however if “You’re right”, nothing changes. Consider this: whenever someone is bothering you, and they just won’t let up, and they won’t listen to anything you have to say, what do you tell them to get them to shut up and go away? The answer is “You’re right”.

  • The more person feels understood, and positively affirmed in that understanding, the more likely that urge for constructive behaviour will take hold.
  • “That’s right” is better than “Yes”. Strive for it. Reaching “That’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.
  • Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right”. The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing. Identify, reariculate, and emotionally affirm “the world according to…”

Chapter 6 Bend Their Reality

People are emotional, irrational beasts who are emotional and irrational in predictable, pattern-filled way. Using the knowledge and tools to bend the reality is rational, not cheating. Tools are:

  • Don’t let yourself be fooled by the surface.
  • Not not Compromise by a split difference.
    • The win-win mindset pushed by so many negotiation experts is usually ineffective and often disastrous.
    • Compromise is often a ‘bad deal’. No deal is better than a bad deal.
  • Approaching deadlines. Deadlines regularly make people say and do impulsive things that are against their best interest, because we all have a natural tendency to rush as a deadline approaches. Having a deadline pushes you to speed up your concessions, but the other side, thinking that it has time, will just hold out for more. So, reveal the deadline to the counterpart could reduce the risks of impasse, and lead to a quickest concession.
  • Page 120
  • The F-word, “Fair”, is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them.
  • Bend the counterpart’s reality by anchoring one’s starting point.
  • People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realise a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is more things to lose by inaction. (Prospect Theory)

The Shortest History of Europe

Chapter 1

  • 古典时期 (1 – 476) 到 中世纪 (476 – 1400)

古典时期: BNG: 1AD 耶稣; 313君士坦丁改奉基督教; END: 476罗马帝国灭亡

中世纪: 476 – 1400

  • 古希腊学术 + 基督教 + 日耳曼




三者之间达成了融合与传承:1. 希腊城邦体制,人们开始探索哲学数学等理论。2. 罗马帝国扩张疆域、接纳古希腊学术,但起初并不融合基督教。3. 君士坦丁大帝改奉基督教313年,罗马帝国开始融合基督教。4. 基督教会将希腊和罗马的知识成就保留下来。

  • Key Stages: 1. 公元313年,君士坦丁大帝改奉基督教使得教会与罗马帝国融合。2. 日耳曼灭罗马,但保留基督教(目的为帮助统治)。3.基督教帮助保留希腊的知识、思想、哲学etc.

常识的力量 书评


摘自李迅雷 书评



  • 1. 重视行业竞争格局


( 国企牌照经营带来垄断 )


( 行业是否高增长 v.s. 行业的行业内竞争情况 竞争即考虑 entry difficulty and substitution)



  • 选择最具竞争力的优秀公司




  • 3. 做优秀公司的长期朋友



( 长期投资 )

  • 4. 留足安全边际,相信均值回归的力量


不要过分相信相对估值,因为相对估值往往基于假设市场有效 价格已经反应价值 某公司 或者 某些公司价值正确且 无 anomaly无behaviours 或其deducted,再用ratio估target firm。

明显假设难以holds, especially in Chinese market that illusion largely exist.

  • 5. 追求正确的非共识,从定价错误中寻找超额收益

Clear, and similar as above

  • 6. 选择优秀公司构建组合,并注重组合均衡

allocate risks and eliminate unsystematic risks.

  • 7. 区分“重要的事”和“能力圈内的事”





( Macroeconomy in China does not largely depend on the market, but policy. Therefore, marecoeconomy is about the collusion control, health of firms, support from gov – policy, and another key fact international finance or international relationship )


第一,行业竞争格局好不好? industry orgnisation

第二,公司壁垒深不深? entry barrier

第三,公司抗风险能力强不强? risk control or inner control

第四,公司是不是为股东赚钱? Profitability

第五,公司业务会否被替代颠覆? substitutivness


  • 8. 了解并避免决策盲区







Thinking, Fast and Slow

A book was written by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize of Economics winner in 2002.

  • This book introduces a fact that our brain is running with system 1 and system 2.

System 1 is also called the “automatic system”, which is controlled by our innate and automatic consciousness. System 2 is also called “effortful system”, which could be understood as the ability to actively control our common-sense – system 1. However, system 2 takes more working memory that is limited in our brain, so doing anything using system 2 would reduce your ability to think.

System 2 also monitor the suggestion of System 1, modifying and adjusting the direct conscious idea of System 1.

System 2 has limited capacity. Two aspects of effortful tasks are (1) difficulty of the question, and (2) thinking fast the get the results.

  • Pupils are sensitive indicators of mental efforts.

Pupils dilate substantially when people make two digits multiplication, and they dilate more this problem is harder. People, when engaged in a mental sprint, may become effectively blind.

  • Ego depletion refers to the idea that self-control or willpower draws upon a limited pool of mental resources that can be used up

System 2 has limits.

  • Self-control requires efforts and attentions. Or says, controlling thoughts and behaviours is one of the tasks that system 2 performs.

Remember system 2 has limits.

Activities that impose high demands on system 2 require self-control, and the exertion of self-control is depleting and unpleasant. After exerting self-control in one task, you do not feel like making an effort in another, although you could do it if you really had to.

Maintenance of a coherent train of thought and the occasional engagement in effortful thinking also requires self-control.

  • The nervous system consumes more glucose than most other parts of the body, and effortful mental activity appears to be especially expensive in the currency of glucose.











好的领导的标准: 首先,好领导要有宽广的心胸,忍住脾气,忍得了比自己强的人;其次,领导要愿意从下属的角度来思考问题,这一点其实是从面试的时候就能发现的,如果这位领导总是从自己的角度来考虑问题,几乎不听你说什么,这就危险了。第三,领导敢于承担责任,如果出了问题就把责任往下推,有了功劳就往自己身上揽,这样的领导不跟也罢。