HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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yamrzouonDec 31, 2020

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

I read it after seeing it recommended here on HN. It paid off :)

scardineonMar 26, 2019

I think you may like the book "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It" by Chris Voss. There are pretty insightful tricks there for dealing with extreme situations (the guy used to be a hostage negotiator for FBI).

alexkonJan 26, 2019

I think you would find negotiation practices helpful, e.g. check out the book "Never split the difference" to learn some negotiation techniques and "Elephant in the brain" to understand that this behavior is likely not about technology.

tuckerconnellyonDec 12, 2018

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is an excellent book on negotiation, the antithesis of Getting to Yes. Written by FBI negotiator. Says you want to get to _no_ as quickly as possible. Recommend.

jeffshekonSep 30, 2018

Ironically, this book brings up how it disagrees with the most upvoted comment's book "Getting To Yes".

This book (Never Split the Difference) was also pretty helpful to me, but it's easy to forget to apply in scenarios.

CardenBonMay 22, 2018

"Never split the difference" has made a huge difference for my communication style.

Reading that book represented a step change in my productivity, because I learned to communicate in a way that better prioritized my tasks. I've read it three times now.

tmalyonJuly 2, 2019

I really enjoyed Never Split the Difference. The stories are good, and I still use the practical tips on negotiation and conversation all the time.

AmericanChopperonAug 27, 2018

Start With No by Jim Camp, and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss are two very good books on how to use/work with "No" in negotiations.

danvoellonMay 19, 2021

Never Split the Difference is another good book to read.

tmalyonJan 17, 2019

Try reading the book Never Split the Difference. While it is primarily about negotiation, there is a huge component to listening and empathy.

I think if you try to apply some of what is in the book, you may reconsider this idea of a divorce.

VibrellionAug 12, 2020

Read 'Never Split the Difference', great book on negotiating.

slipwalkeronSep 10, 2018

Great list. I would add:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It - Chris Voss

tmalyonDec 23, 2018

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, it taugh me very important negotiation skills that I use everyday.

Extreme Ownership by Willink and Babin has taught me about good leadership.

ucacianonDec 23, 2018

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

This book could be the most important investment you make.
By using the techniques introduced in the book, I was able to raise my contract rate from $35 to $60. It totally changed my life.

llaollehonMay 30, 2021

Never Split the Difference is a great book.

FaaakonJan 22, 2018

Sadly, humans are not rational thinkers. "Never Split the Difference" is a good book about that. I recommend anyone to read it !

scastielonJuly 17, 2020

I would add “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. Very easy to read (great storytelling) and a lot of useful advice for negotiation.


kemiller2002onMay 12, 2020

Never Split the Difference is an amazing book. I use what I learned from that everyday, and I've coached people (successfully) to get out of bad situations with management using those techniques. It is literally one of the most helpful books I ever read.

scottm01onDec 12, 2019

I’m certainly just learning myself, but quite enjoyed Never Split the Difference...


RecursingonFeb 11, 2018

If you liked "Getting To Yes" you might also enjoy "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It" https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062407805/ that has a somehow different perspective on negotiation

tmalyonSep 4, 2018

I really enjoyed Never Split the Difference. It has helped me with negotiation in life.

I enjoyed 4 Hour Work Week when I first read it. I am still trying to create a profitable side hustle.

giantg2onJuly 27, 2021

It will take a lot more than books to help my career.

I've read Getting to Yes, The Coaching Habit, and Never Split the Difference. They seemed to have decent information.

andendauonMay 30, 2018

Never Split the Difference is really good highly recommended and based in science.

quickpostonApr 21, 2018

Reminds me a lot of the book Never Split the Difference. If you enjoyed this post, I highly recommend that book. It's fantastic and really opened my eyes to all the areas I could improve my ability to relate to other people and negotiate more effectively.

crooonOct 19, 2018

If you are curious about the topic check out the book "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It" written by FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss. No first hand experience with the book but it's on my to-read list because of all the good recommendations.

TomteonNov 20, 2019

I think "Never split the difference" by Chris Voss is the better book if you can tolerate a bit of bragging.

ExumaonJune 26, 2021

Never Split the Difference - a negotiation book by famous hostage negotiator.

It's so immediately useful and practical, my entire team used it to collect massive amount of debts and enact other business changes. It was invaluable, and I make everyone I know read it.

meigwilymonJuly 2, 2019

Someone recommended Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss here recently. I read it and found it invaluable.

Packed full of quality advice and techniques that you can use out of the box. The real-life stories he had from his FBI negotiating days make it an easy read.

kumartanmayonAug 23, 2018

I just checked Never Split the Difference. The context of the book is intriguing. Thank you so much :-)

tmalyonMay 30, 2018

I recently finished reading Never Split the Difference. I would highly recommend reading this if you want to improve your negotiation skills.

Even if you just took away the points on mirroring and asking calibrated questions, you would be far ahead from where you are now.

dkerstenonJune 11, 2020

Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator. Not a textbook exactly, but its the book on negotiation I think everybody should read. His interviews and lectures on youtube are pretty good too.

tmalyonJune 28, 2018

There is a part in the negotiation book Never Split the Difference that covers salary negotiation. I would highly recommend it.

js2onSep 24, 2019

You might be interested in the book “Never Split The Difference” which has been recommended on HN frequently:


You might also be interested in looking into nonviolent communication.

lignuxonFeb 3, 2020

Read "Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss. It was the best book i read in 2019 and it will change your mind on how you look at negotiating.

lhhonJuly 13, 2018

Never Split the Difference” - fascinating read on negotiation. Author is a former FBI hostage negotiator and his stories were themselves worth the read, but it’s full of good advice on negotiation generally as well.

toivoonJuly 6, 2021

Well I'm not American and I read mostly "self-help" books, from "In Search of Meaning" to "Code Complete" to "Extreme Ownership" to "High Output Management" to "Never Split The Difference". I always read one before I go to sleep.

joshxyzonJuly 12, 2021

Yep, still a good read. Great in cultivating some empathy and social acuity.

Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss is also worth checking out.

zackbloomonSep 2, 2016

Never Split the Difference is ostensibly a book on negotiation, but I found it also a great primer on the more subtle and emotional side of human communication.

flamtaponNov 18, 2020

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. This relatively short book has made more of a difference to my personal livelihood than maybe any other pice of literature or advice.

You really don’t realize how much negotiating you do in day to day life. Its good to be comfortable with it.

srijanshettyonNov 6, 2019

Never split the difference by Chris Voss - so many practical tips to ensure that you get the better side of a bargain.

Mythos by Stephen Fry - an irreverent take on Greek mythology which is fun and entertaining.

tmalyonNov 16, 2018

I would highly recommend reading or listening to audio of book Never Split the Difference.

Take some of those negotiation tips and get the title change. I have had good success applying these in my role.

w4tsononNov 13, 2019

I’ve “read” 19 books this year (thanks Audible)

These were my faves:

“Wolf hall” by Hilary Mantell

“The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins

Never Split the difference” by Chris Voss

“How to talk so kids will listen” by Joanna Faber & Julie King

SN76477onMay 13, 2021

I am working my way though Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

He goes through some very powerful negotiating techniques and strategies.

If you are short on time, try a summary like this. It will help you will be better equipped for your negotiation when the time comes.


halbrittonAug 26, 2018

First and foremost, learn how to negotiate. Read the book, "Never Split the Difference".

Secondly, start looking for another job. Once you have an offer in hand that you'd be willing to accept, you'll be in a better place to negotiate a raise.

DoreenMicheleonMay 26, 2019

Never Split the Difference is amazing for negotiation.

I don't know that one, but here are a couple of research-based negotiating books:

Getting to yes

The mind and heart of the negotiator.

They were required texts for my college class on Negotiating and Conflict Management. I was already good at certain kinds of negotiating, but it helped put a finer point on my abilities.

quickthrower2onAug 3, 2020

Reading "Never Split The Difference" - sounds like the police will work with families pay off kidnappers is some countries, but get it down from millions to a token amount. I think he aims for zero though most of the time.

charliemil4onJune 9, 2020

This type of agreement is best pursued as a non-technical, non-legal endeavor.

There’s a book “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss that will get you up to speed. His videos on YouTube are also potent.

Ideally, you want to avoid the “I brought this” style of language; what else is someone to do than think, “well I brought this, too!” It gets especially tense if the evidence is too damming, so the protection mechanisms kick over rather than the empathy and cooperation channels.

Good luck - you got this

tmalyonFeb 5, 2019

Read the book Never Split the Difference. It has a whole section on the strategy to use for salary negotiation.

btownonDec 6, 2019

This is a really refreshing and inspiring approach, and it speaks to the importance of "tactically deployed empathy." You're one of the good ones :)

Do you have any recommendations on resources/articles/books, either for "rank and file" trying to ensure their messages are framed well, or for consultants or others who find themselves in situations helping ideas to cut through the noise?

I'll share one that I've found incredibly helpful in the past: "Never Split The Difference" by Chris Voss https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014DUR7L2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?...

rpedenonJuly 30, 2018

I've found Never Split the Difference to be a good complement to the two books you mentioned. It offers some additional approaches that might work well when negotiating startup financing.

kgantchevonMay 10, 2021

I recommend reading "Never Split The Difference," the book is great and it has served me well in negotiations.

Where you're right: yes, you need to foster the conversation. It's a skill that one develops with practice.

Where you're wrong: I negotiate for my consulting business and I can guarantee you that the companies don't have "the power." The power is held by whoever is better at negotiating. If you're good at negotiating, you will hold the power.

adroitbossonDec 12, 2018

Books Read:
Never Split the difference by Chris Voss (FLIPPING AMAZING! This book is so good I didn't want to share it here.)

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
(Fantastic Look into how we as humans work and how to deal with each other and ourselves)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
(Enjoyable and entertaining)

The Martian by Andy Weir
(The Audiobook of this was AMAZING! The book is still amazing especially for technical people)

The Hard thing about Hard things by Ben Horowitz
(I think it would be a great book for people who are already running companies.)

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
(It had some interesting parts. Wasn't a bad book, but also not crazy memorable)

Boundaries in Dating by Henry Cloud
(I found the advice for the christian dating relationship to be a honest eye opener. This book taught me a lot about myself.)

The Launch Pad by Randall Stross
(How I found Y Combinator and Hacker news. I really enjoy the startup community and love the fact that this introduced me to it)

The richest man in Babylon by George S Clason
(OMG EVERYONE SHOULD OWN THIS BOOK!!! It teaches you about handling money in one of the most entertaining ways I've ever read. It was crazy good and I reread it often.)

Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull

(Great read about the interesting problems solved and the fight for survival to one day bring about a worthy ideal)

arikronJuly 20, 2018

Read a few books on salary negotiation.

Try Negotiating Your Salary by Jack Chapman.

Fakespot says that Fearless Salary Negotiation by Doody is loaded with fake amazon reviews, so I might give that one a miss.

And, read "Never Split the Difference" by Voss.

meigwilymonSep 24, 2019

Another recommendation for "Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it" by Chris Voss. An insightful look at negotiation and how to be better at it.

I read it after seeing it recommended here a few months ago.

francis-lionDec 13, 2020

This seems on point, having curiosity (and potentially summarising what they're saying) is a good way to demonstrate understanding. Much more believable than saying "I understand".

Chris Voss (author of Never Split the Difference) recommends a similar strategy. He often says that having the mindset of genuine curiosity is a great hack for having emotional control during a negotiation and potentially getting into flow state.

AmericanChopperonJan 1, 2019

>Is there a way for people to learn to be good negotiators?

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss is the best book on negotiation I’ve ever read, and it’s also pretty entertaining. I negotiate a lot at work, and that book helped me quite a bit. The negotiation style he advocates, aside from being effective, is also very personable. Which is great if you don’t have the stomach for the (less effective) sleazy and aggressive styles.

asplakeonApr 6, 2020

On how to say no without actually saying no, see also Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by former hostage negotiator Chris Voss. Thoroughly enjoyed the book, recommmended

adamfaliqonApr 23, 2019

I have read Chris Voss's book, Never Split the Difference and it has really changed the way I see human interactions. The worst negotiation is one where you do not realize about it.

aaghaonFeb 15, 2021

To this end, do you (or anyone else reading this) have suggestions on good books to learn negotiation strategy and tactics?

I've read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss [0] and found it interesting but I'm curious as to other reads folks might recommend.

0 - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26156469-never-split-the...

lloyddeonDec 23, 2018

Never Split the Difference” was fantastic. Still it was super weird that unlike the advice in the book, some of the book comes across as bragging. Also, Chris Voss does not perform the audiobook although in the book he discusses his mastery of voice, his smooth radio jockey voice and covers different speaking techniques. Still, one of my favorites of 2018.

tmalyonJuly 14, 2018

I finished Never Split the Difference a month back. Fantastic read.

I am almost finished with Thinking Fast and Slow. I kinda wish I had read it years back given all the useful insights.

I just bought a copy of the 1961 version of Stranger in a Strange land.

Buttons840onMay 12, 2021

Lots of good advice here. But also remember there are good books on negotiation, business dealings, communication, etc.

I recommend a book on negotiation called "Never Split the Difference". It's written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, it's filled with interesting stories and good advice.

Some negotiation books seem like a "bag of tricks" which only work if the other person doesn't know the tricks, not this book, this book is filled with advice that would work even if both parties are using the negotiation techniques described in the book.

gsharmaonMay 22, 2018

"Never Split the Difference"[1] - A book on negotiation, which can be used at work or personal life.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Never-Split-Difference-Negotiating-De...

dkerstenonMar 28, 2021

Facts can't win if emotions are involved. Facts only work when everyone is rational, but, to quote former FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, from his excellent book on negotiation (Never Split the Difference): humans are inherently irrational. A large chunk of his book is how you rarely succeed in arguments or negotiations based on facts, because humans are irrational emotional creatures. I highly highly recommend reading the book (because its great, not because it says this particular thing).

pawelmionFeb 14, 2021

For me 'Getting to yes' was too idealistic. It is a classic and good starter but did find it that usable for me.
I was impressed though by radical approach of Chris Voss on 'Never Split the Difference'. Author is a former hostage negotiator, so there are also a lot intriguing stories included w high makes it a great read.

srijanshettyonSep 16, 2019

"JCIP - Java Concurreny in Practice", finally was able to complete this monster and now I see the world differently. I had a aha moment, just like Neo in the Matrix.

"The Sandman: Kindly Ones" and "The Sandman: Wake", masterpieces from the master writer Neil Gaimann.

Reading "Never Split the Difference" which is about the art of negotiation and has been an enlightening read as of now. It argues negotiation isn't rational but is an affective exercise and I couldn't agree more.

patricklouysonDec 27, 2017

- A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

- Tools of Titans (was positively surprised by this one)

For developers I can highly recommend the Domain Driven Design books by Vaughn Vernon.

WrtCdEvrydyonJuly 11, 2020

Never Split the Difference is one of my favorite books.

There's a section in there about being right that basically sums it up as "always be worried when someone says 'you're right' as can mean they just want you to stop talking".

You probably want it to be something along the lines of "that's right" since it implies they also think that's the right outcome regardless of whether it's your or their idea.

js2onMar 26, 2019

The book “Never Split the Difference” was recommended on HN recently:


muzanionJune 26, 2021

There are so many books that have given me an unfair advantage. I could easily list a dozen but the question asks for one.

I'd say we live in an age of overinformation. There are books that give you an edge, like Never Split the Difference, and then everyone reads it, and then everyone reads the summary of it, then everyone criticizes the summary (which the original book itself has addressed), then everyone reads the criticism and concludes that the book is bad.

You can ask people what a startup is, or what a MVP is, or TDD, and I assure you most would not have the original definitions or purposes from the books. A lot of people think TDD is 100% test coverage or that a startup is a business, but these are all wrong by definition.

pkaleronOct 16, 2020

I would recommend that you read a book a week, every week, for the rest of your life. :)

Just start with the ones in the article and Amazon/Kindle will get good at recommending books.

Here's some books recently read on my Kindle:

  - No Rules Rules
- Never Split The Difference
- The Manager's Path
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
- Ultralearning
- The Hard Thing About Hard Things
- What You Do is Who You Are
- User Story Mapping
- Inspired
- The Lean Product Playbook
- Competing Against Luck
- Domain Driven Design
- Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture
- Data-Driven Marketing
- Designing Data-Intensive Applications
- Monetizing Innovation
- Super Thinking
- The Great Mental Models
- Nonviolent Communication
- High Growth Handbook
- Powerful
- Trillion Dollar Coach

chillacyonMar 23, 2019

I first saw this principle as a negotiation tactic in "Never Split the Difference", he talks about how FBI hostage negotiators talk to understand the motivations of hostage-takers and terrorists without necessarily giving in or agreeing with any of those motivations.

It turns out even hardened criminals want to be heard/understood, and by using (author calls) "tactical empathy", you can start your negotiation off on the right footing.

tmalyonDec 12, 2018

Never Split the Difference - I loved this book and would highly recommend it to sharpen your negotiation skills.

Extreme Ownership - I also really enjoyed this book. I listened to the audio and it was read by the authors. Both Navy Seals, the stories they used about their time in war was very eye opening. The concepts are all about leadership, and if you a manager or part of a team, you will get some benefit.

Getting Things Done - 2001 edition, very practical approach to organizing everything on your plate. I will probably re-read this again.

Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens - a great book that has great tips on learning for kids and adults.

A Philosophy of Software Design - still reading it, I really am enjoying it so far. I like the big picture approach it takes to discussing software design and complexity.

Mindset - I just started this book. So far it is just explaining the general concept in different ways. I am hoping the latter part will get into some practical tips and methods.

tmalyonDec 30, 2019

Getting Things Done - the 2001 version I read two years ago, I use the general idea and it helps to have a clear head when your fighting fires daily.

Never Split the Difference - some very practical negotiation strategies.

Mini Habits by Stephen Guise - short book but awesome method. I am still doing the one pushup habit since last March.

How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck by Steve Stockman - I wanted to improve my video production for my programming course for kids. I am still learning but this book has been a huge help.

The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking by Barbara Minto - huge help with improving my written communication at my job.

The Coaching Habit by Michael Stanier - short book but huge help when your transitioning to managing people.

Made to Stick by Dan Heath - was a huge help in planning how I would teach elementary students last month about programming.

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch - aside from application of Pareto principle, I took away the idea that books provide the best bang for your buck for knowledge density.

The 4 Hour Work Week - great inspiration to start your own thing.

The $100 Startup - like the 4HWW but with more details.

ericskiffonFeb 5, 2019

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
- As someone who doesn't want to "negotiate" and be a hard bargainer across the table, this book taught me how to bring empathy to every negotiation, and to use that get both parties what they really want most. It's also a fascinating read that details a number of his negotiations as chief hostage negotiator for the FBI.

everdevonApr 24, 2019

Glad you were released, I'm sure it was an intense experience.

It reminded me of a book called "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss where he talks about his approach to negotiating hostage releases. The basic strategy is instead of saying "no" to the price, say some version of "How am I supposed to do that?" which communicates a willingness to negotiate but an inability to accept the price. The side effect is that it builds empathy as it sounds like you'd accept the price if there was any possible way of doing so.

The final move is to throw out a precise, random low ball offer like "$5,470" where it sounds like you've scrounged up all the money you can. The idea is that with kidnappers, time is money. If after a few days or weeks they don't get paid, the low ball offer sounds like better than nothing.

In some negotiations, he kept talking to them for months elegantly saying these empathetic "no" statements until they actually gave up and stopped guarding the captive.

It's a fascinating read that goes into other forms of negotiation too like salary discussions.

shawnpsonDec 23, 2018

Favorites that I read in 2018:

* Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34466963-why-we-sleep)

* Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4806.Longitude)

* Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26156469-never-split-the...)

* Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25852784-evicted)

* Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11084145-steve-jobs)

PSA: if you use an e-reader or like audiobooks, check out Libby: https://meet.libbyapp.com/

I'm not affiliated with them. Nice app for borrowing ebooks and audiobooks from your local library.

meowzeroonDec 25, 2020

Maybe not A book, but some books that helped me change my behavior just a little bit.

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five - if you're thinking of having children or have young children already. This book gives some good insight on possible, data-driven ways to raise a happy and smart kid. I currently have a newborn and have altered some ways I behave around her. It also helps to think about how you were raised, and if that impacted the way you are.

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness - if you're into meditation, I think this is the book to get. I started out with Headspace and this book takes it to the next level.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life - This was an entertaining book on how Scott Adams failed and succeeded. He gives some practical tips on what he did to get to where he is. Of course, there is survivorship bias, but I found some of it helpful.

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism - People aren't born Charismatic. You can practice it.

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It - A book about negotiation. I used to hate negotiating. Heck I still do. While I might not use the exact tactics outlined in the book, it helped me realize that I should try to negotiate more. And it might have helped me to get good deals or better salary just by asking.

gistonMay 25, 2019

> Never Split the Difference is amazing for negotiation.

I have done thousands of negotiations (for vastly different things) and have been paid to do so. [1] I have never read a single book on negotiations. I can always tell when someone else has. (Read that again). [2] I could most likely write a book myself on negotiations and my experiences. The problem is it's a seat of the pants thing. It's nearly impossible to be able to say what to do unless you are in the exact situation and reading all the signals. Also it's creative at it's core so if you are a narrow type thinker you are most likely not going to be good at it no matter what (very generally). And of course what you are negotiating for and in particular who you are dealing with and their motivations are super important to the process. That said I am sure a book can help with an adversary that is not particular difficult and of course better than nothing. But like with most other things it is in no way even close to a substitute for actual experience over time and the right base attributes personally. Some people just aren't perceptive enough of others emotions and reactions to be good at it. No way around it. Also their own emotions and the ability to control them.

[1] The largest fee I made (recently) was close to $200k and I've been paid as little as $500 (or have done it for free in some cases).

[2] Because their delivery and actions appear canned and predictably fit another pattern that I have seen in the exact same way over time.

RaceWononJuly 5, 2019

The Godfather -Mario Puzo

The Running Man -Richard Bachman (A Stephen King pen name)

Never Split The Difference -Chris Voss

"The Godfather" is a classic that features my 2nd favorite evil genius Don Corleone (Hannibal Lecter being the 1st). Great character development and a fine tale to boot.

"The Running Man" isn't Kings best, but there's something about it, well that book and "The Long Walk"--also by Bachman, that makes it an entertaining read.

"Never Split the Difference" is the best negotiating book I've ever read and, I have negotiated deals for a living at various times in my career.

WrtCdEvrydyonMar 25, 2019

Chris Voss' book "Never Split the Difference" goes into this.

He posits that bad deals come from people being strict about artificial deadlines... and it's better to have no deal than a rushed deal. Try it next time someone tells you there's a hard deadline... just tell them you'll deliver when it's done.

phaitouronAug 8, 2016

Fiction: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is beautifully written and I've recommended it to many people. I've gotten lost in Carlos' worlds over and over again, and the cemetery of forgotten books is mesmerizing.

Humor: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I've recommended this to many friends who needed a good laugh. I don't remember another book that made me laugh so hard that I dropped the book.

Non-fiction: this one's a tough one because many good books are mentioned already, but two that I really enjoyed and have recommended in the last year are: Boyd by Robert Coram and How the Other Half Banks by Mehrsa Baradaran. Boyd tells the story about a brilliant but petulant air force pilot who rewrote the guidelines of US military aviation. How the Other Half Banks is an eye opening account of how broken our banking system is and the history of how we got to where we are.

Business: again, a lot of good books are mentioned already, but two I've enjoyed are Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Both are fascinating books that'll leave you thinking about how to improve your own game.


Bonus: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a tremendous piece. It's a short read but a must read!

gooeykabukionMay 30, 2021

In any negotiation, your best bet is having leverage. In this scenario that would be other offers at the rate you would like or other benefits/flexibility.

In terms of framing, instead of saying you're in S. Asia and $30/hr is a big deal, you could figure out a rough $ value of your work to the company. In this case it's clearly more than $30, but is it $100 or $300 or $500? Having that clarity in your mind and articulating it to potential clients is going to be super helpful in the future, and change how you see yourself and sell yourself to clients.

Finally, you may want to invest in building your negotiating experience. I would start with the Appendix: Negotiating one sheet and ideally read and practice what's mentioned in Never Split the Difference: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08W57YLHR/.

Good luck!

simon_accaonJuly 31, 2018

"Never split the difference" by Chriss Voss, an FBI lead kidnapping negotiator, brings your attention to the unspoken substrate of every interaction where something is at stake.

Voss rejects the confrontational, haggling style of communication that often distinguishes the police in movies and instead teaches how to achieve a joint problem solving mentality with your counterpart.

The book is full of practical advice but also explains how the author refined his technique throughout his career, which grounds the advice in reality as opposed to many self-help books that dispense advice in a Deus ex machina sort of way.

I really enjoyed the book and recommend reading it at least twice in short order to interpret the stories from the author's career in light of the methods described in the book.


Buttons840onMay 30, 2021

Another question might be something like: I know you need to pay me less than the value I create, because this needs to be a mutually profitable arrangement. How much value do you expect I can bring to the company?

Or maybe the more open ended question is better?

I do like Never Split the Difference, great book. The most common complaint against it is that the author is a bit arrogant, but having read a couple other negotiation books first, I found the author's approach more fair and "real" than the bag-of-manipulative-tricks I found in the other books.

Also, since it's the CTO your talking to, try to establish an (for lack of a better term) "tech people versus the rest of the world" mentality, then he will be more likely to side with you. As we've all seen, people side with their own perceived group. I don't mean this to be as aggressive as it sounds, just try to use the natural camaraderie between tech workers.

franzeonDec 23, 2018

I went back to the basics this year. Re-read my favorites from Jerry Weinberg ( August 7, 2018)

- The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

- An Introduction to General Systems Thinking

- Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach

- Are your lights on?

based on his references I went back to Virginia Satir, her Books are kinda hard to order:

- The new Peoplemaking

- The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond

- Your Many Faces.

And as always once a year:

- Thinking in Systems: A Primer - Donella H. Meadows

Just writting this list makes me realize that this was a kinda classic year for me. Still read a lot of coding books i.e.: about JS, CloujourScript but nothing stood out.

- Understanding ECMAScript6: The Definitive Guide for JavaScript Developers - Nicholas C. Zakas

was good. Some points I did not know and a good read.

- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It - Chris Voss

was great as it gave me new insights how to structure my speech and thoughts behind it.

But well, my favorite book this year was and is mine

- "Understanding SEO - A Systematic Approach to Search Engine Optimization" - Franz Enzenhofer

Taking what i learned from Weinberg and Meadows (with some E. Bono) and apply it to the system that is search(-behaviour and the marketplace Google). https://www.fullstackoptimization.com/b/understanding-seo

jplahnonFeb 1, 2019

I recently finished reading the book Never Split the Difference and I would highly recommend it. It's a slightly different take on the traditional negotiation tropes we've all heard.

I've managed to employ many of the techniques in my day to day as a PM with success, but his discussions on salary negotiation resonated with me. I'm sure you can find some notes on the book to derive 50% of the value, but the author's stories and explanations drove it home for me.

djcooleyonSep 12, 2016

I highly recommend reading Never Split the Difference, by Chris Voss. The book offers a different take to negotiation, written by a former FBI negotiator.

In his words, he could never split the difference in a hostage negotiation. When you enter the process understanding this, you do things differently.

zaplinonMar 23, 2020

Know why people all they want is to be understood. Everybody wants to be heard. These books tell you how and why. Quote from Never Split the Difference, "Interesting people are interested"

- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss

crooonFeb 5, 2019

In another book titled "Never split the difference" the author distincts empathy and sympathy. You can be empathic aka. understand how and why the other person feel. This helps you understand the other person and ask the right questions. You don't necessarily have to agree with it (sympathy).

Both have an important role in your connections with other people but its useful if you learn to separate them.

lwansbroughonDec 27, 2018

There’s a lot of better ways to work out than crossfit. But I agree with the basic premise! Learn the skill of lifting heavy things and running farther than you’re willing to walk.

I’d add to presentation skills: negotiation skills. I’ll recommend Chris Voss’ book “Never Split the Difference” as I have been to all my relatives this Christmas.

crooonSep 10, 2019

"Never Split the Difference" and "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Before reading those I thought talking just happens between people with some of them being more resourceful. It never occurred to me before that simple tricks can be so useful in everyday conversations.

Why we sleep - changed my perception of sleep. I used to sleep the least I could get away with. Not anymore, I stand corrected by science.

r0flonMar 12, 2018

Would it be ridiculous if you upvoted this comment??

Never Split The Difference - Chris Voss

This book has made a much greater negotiator both professionally and personally.

“Would it be ridiculous if” and
“How am I supposed to do that?” Have saved me 100s of thousands of dollars!! The only negative point is that the negotiation style does not work on my wife ever since she read the book.

Moto7451onJan 4, 2020

Hehe. The comparison is both amusing and apt. I’m often in the “executive” position in this scenario and this barrier between the angry team/customer/partner and the people doing engineering work really pays in spades. The people doing the “real” work on both sides usually avoid animosity and the management teams slugging it out in conference rooms usually understand that the dance they’re doing is just business as usual and not personal. When the separation is violated you can have engineers doing shoddy work because they’re stressed or emotionally overloaded. Early in my career I was in that situation and made some very pointed comments that the company’s CEO had to smooth over.

If you do a really good job at handling the communication separation the business relationship is stronger after and each side better understands one another’s needs and motivations. My foot in mouth moment ended up turning into a larger business arrangement because the CEO turned it into a positive experience.

While not a universally perfect negotiating book, I’ve found “Never Split the Difference” to be an interesting tome on making the best of adversarial business situations.

MrVuonMay 4, 2021

I run 3 Business, Realtor/Landlord, Cleaning Homes, and Photography (events).

The Business Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
(gave me insight on what it takes to keep grinding, and knowing the potential in any idea)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
(a classic, every CEO or high performer i know and met practice this)

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It
(Gave me the technique to understand what I have to know on the other side, to come out making a win-win situation)

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition
(Allowed me to understand the other side before talking)

The Art of Communicating
(Great good for networking, which opened alot of doors for me getting new clients and making friends)

7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals
(Made me understand the importance of certain communication levels to use on certain situation to get better results.)

Overall this is only a few, but really it helped me, meet the people that knew more then me to become what i am now. Knowing that i have a circle that will give me guidance is worth more then gold.

citrablueonMay 2, 2018

A strategy for this is outlined in the (great, IMO) book "Never Split the Difference": treat the interaction as a negotiation, and adopt a EQ-first approach. The book has some good phrasing hacks and other subtle messaging techniques designed to place both people on the same team, solving a common challenge.

Yes, it can be exhausting if you do this in every interaction. But I've been picking 1 interaction per day and implementing those techniques to significant success.

[edit] Relevant article from the author's site: http://blog.blackswanltd.com/the-edge/the-key-to-disarming-t...

hakejamonMay 22, 2018

"Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss

Chris was an FBI hostage negotiator. His book takes you through some of his hostage negotiations and demonstrates his techniques.

As a software developer, I "negotiate" all day long from code reviews to getting a promotion. His advice has helped more times than I can count.

KboPAacDA3onAug 13, 2021

From FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, in his book Never Split the Difference, the US government always negotiates with terrorists.

peterlkonJan 4, 2020

> I assume that the best part of the best books will surface in daily conversations, YouTube videos, CliffsNotes, podcasts, Reddit posts/comments, blog articles, etc

I don't think this is true. In theory, you may be able to find all the information contained in the books, but it's drowning in garbage. The benefit of books is that the information has been distilled for you. Good books distill information better than bad books.

> One issue for me is that books are a very big time investment. I read very slowly and I don't remember everything I read either.

I hardly read books any more, though I do enjoy a day of reading in the sun when it's warm. I listen to audiobooks while I'm traveling, working out, or doing housework.

> I have thousands of non-fiction (mostly self-improvement) books in my reading list on GoodReads, but almost never bother to read any.

Different folks will tell you different things, but for me, the following self-help content covered most of what I've read to date:

* Any Alan Watts lecture series - I listened to "Out of your mind" (listen to the whole thing)
* The Book of Joy (Dalai Lama and Desmond TuTu)
* Never split the Difference (Chris Voss)
* The hard thing about hard things (Ben Horowitz)

And then read (or listen to) whatever strikes your fancy.

The concentrated focus of books makes them stick better, in my opinion, than blog posts, online commentary, etc.

stuxnet79onFeb 1, 2019

I recently finished Never Split The Difference too. It was a good read and provides a different perspective on the whole negotiation process. I couldn't help but think however, that the various techniques outlined in the book were nothing more than parlor tricks. Seems like the more these techniques are known, the less useful they become.

Am I wrong? Now that I know how it 'works' I can pick out Ackerman bargaining tactics from a mile away so it's basically a moving target. I feel truly great negotiating tactics are an artform. To succeed you need creativity and flair that can't be duplicated mechanically.

goostavosonJune 25, 2021

I've been working on this, too (admittedly... for years)! I similarly have a 'very direct' style of communication. I've received formal feedback on more than one occasion calling me 'abrasive'.

fwiw, two books helped me massively in this area:

1. The Field Guide to Human Error. This book I read on a whim just because I thought it would be useful for software development. The first few chapter's ended up being kind of life altering. It felt like along personal attack on my character. In short, it was about perspectives we take when dealing with other people, and how viewing from our vantage point is not only frequently wrong, but it's lazy.

Even with things like CR comments. I now ask myself "_why_ do they think that's the right approach?"

2. Never Split the Difference. While it's about negotiations, it deals a lot with how humans think, and despite what we tell ourselves or want to believe about we being rational creatures, emotion dominates almost all interactions. It gives all kinds of useful advice for framing conversations and using language which avoids being confrontational or accusatory.

This was another huge one for me, as it shifted just about all of my conversations from starting with "you're dumb and here's why" to "let's make sure we agree on what the problem is" and then making finding the solution a collaborative effort, rather than a top down directive.

Buttons840onJune 20, 2019

> The US makes it illegal to pay kidnapper ransom

What? I read the book "Never Split the Difference" written by a former FBI hostage negotiator, and it had stories of him helping with some kidnapping cases and offering a ransom. If I remember correctly his goal was not to avoid paying a ransom, but to make it as small as possible.

Good book by the way.

simon_accaonOct 28, 2018

My background is also CS and I'd recommend wholeheartedly "The personal MBA"[0].
It organizes the fundamentals of business in a clear and concise fashion that will be easy to understand and hard to forget.
The book is not in depth of course but rather a comprehensive overview.

protip: skip the first self-promotional chapter, I was so put off by its poor taste that it made me delay reading the book by a few months. The rest is great though!

As others have mentioned, startup school[1] is also a goldmine. In my opinion it's less thorough on fundamentals and more focused on key lessons and understandings that only come with handling a successful startup. Many authors cover the same topics but the startup school presenters are actually authoritative on them, kudos!

The lean startup[2] is also a must, offering solid advice on how not to waste time, which equals runway, as a founder.

Another good one is Never Split the Difference[3], which teaches you a few tricks to fend for yourself while raising money in the world of VCs which, may I remind you, negotiate for a living.

0: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9512985-the-personal-mba
1: https://www.startupschool.org/
2: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10127019-the-lean-startu...
3: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26156469-never-split-the...

dot1xonFeb 3, 2020

My approach to negotiations is described in the book "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss.

asavadattionFeb 5, 2019

That reminds me of Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. Getting a "no" in a negotation is not the end but the beginning

Buttons840onMay 22, 2018

I like that the techniques in that book work even if both parties have read the book -- especially if both parties have read the book.

Some psychological books teach a person to play psychological games, and if both parties have read the book, they both just play games and no communication actually happens. Not so with "Never Split the Difference", the book teaches that simply listening is one of the most effective yet difficult things you can do to get what you want.

conistonwateronMay 31, 2020

If you're interested in improving your social skills at work, you might also enjoy the book How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk.

Um, seriously, all effective communication techniques are based on basically the same principles; there's a book by a former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss (Never Split the Difference) where he describes hostage negotiations with terrorists, and it all works in the workplace too. These two are significantly better than How to Win Friends and Influence Friends, which is mostly about sales rather than negotiations.

vo1donDec 19, 2017

- The Innovator's Dilemma by Clay Christensen

- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

- The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross

- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

- Start with No by Jim Camp

- How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

- The Everything Store by Brad Stone

- The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

yodononFeb 8, 2018

> The way in which "places that don't matter" have taken their political revenge fits this pattern, too. They have put a premium on drawing attention to themselves even if it costs them.

Fascinating. That analysis sounds very much like the assessment of hostage-taker motivations that FBI hostage negotiators have built their more modern negotiation techniques around (see for example the book “Never Split the Difference”). Riffing on that thought, it feels like Trump’s verbal handling of them aligns much more closely with the FBI negotiators’ recommended techniques than Hilary’s verbal handling of them (hers is a better fit to the FBI’s older more intellectually focused less emotionally focused strategy that was abandoned in the wake of the Waco disaster).

dkerstenonJune 7, 2019

> then I learned that that's actually a very bad salesperson in many cases.

I recently read the book "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss[1], a book on negotiation by a former FBI hostage negotiator. It actually covered this, how the stereotypical sales tactics are actually pretty bad and he covers approaches that work much better. I highly recommend the book (or to watch some of his youtube videos).

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Never-Split-Difference-Negotiating-De... and his Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/NegotiationCEO

lwansbroughonMay 28, 2019

This probably isn't the immediate answer you're looking for, but I've found a lot of value in a book called Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (no affiliation, just loved the book.) It provides practical guidance on the subject of negotiation. However, in reading it you'll find that a lot of these rules of negotiation apply to broader aspects of life. The author, Voss, was a former negotiator for the FBI and was involved in a number of high profile hostage negotiations. (You can't be much more of an asshole than a kidnapper!)

Anyway, he says you can look at most situations as a negotiation. Once you fully understand the needs of your counterpart, you can assess your ability to meet those needs, or work with them (using "tactical empathy" and other strategies) so that both parties understand what the realistic outcomes are. Once both parties truly understand what the other is ultimately capable of providing, they will see no use in demanding more than that.

elhudyonMar 26, 2019

>This is speculatively projecting a lot of thoughts and feelings on the brother-in-law, which is quite patronizing.

Isn't that what negotiation is about, when dealing with someone who won't effectively communicate their thoughts? Speculating the wants/needs of that person and addressing them directly? This isn't something I'm making up, I've just read it in "Never Split the Difference". The book was written to address situations just like OPs.

The example sentence structure was meant to be paraphrased. I was hoping for critique on the subject matter not the grammar. I feel uncomfortable turning OP's anecdote into a hypothetical anyway so I'll back off.

RaceWononOct 14, 2019

If you're in the space of being an Entrepreneur, you should understand sales, and ultimately negotiation.

Sales comes down to building desire, different people can desire the same product for different reasons. Understand this fact and you will be head and shoulders above 80% of all Entrepreneurs.

Negotiating come down to two things, the first one is Sales related: you do NOT negotiate with someone who does NOT desire what you have. The second is being willing to walk away. Loathe or Love--Trump he owns this. If you are not willing to walk even when it hurts--you are Not negotiating you are capitulating.

Zig Ziglar explains sales well. And "Never Split The Difference" by Voss is the best negotiating book I've ever read, and not to brag; but my name is on plaques in more than one company as the Top Performer where they hold sales meetings. Side note; Voss does advocate for splitting the difference--at times. And so do I, because it is one tool of many that works.

BeetleBonDec 4, 2020

Books I liked:

- Bargaining For Advantage (https://www.amazon.com/Bargaining-Advantage-Negotiation-Stra...)

- Negotiation Genius (https://www.amazon.com/Negotiation-Genius-Obstacles-Brillian...)

- Getting To Yes (https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Yes-Negotiating-Agreement-Wit...)

- The Coursera course from the University of Michigan (and not the Yale one).

- Getting Past No (https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Past-Negotiating-Difficult-Si...)

- Difficult Conversations/Crucial Conversations/Nonviolent Communications

The last bullet (arguably the last two bullets) are about conversation skills, but that is an essential part of negotiations.

I won't claim to be good at this stuff. It takes a lot of effort and practice to change habits you've formed your whole life. But still, I've improved somewhat. What I do think I've become much better at is identifying why someone's efforts succeeded (or in this case, failed).

I would also recommend Influence by Cialdini. It is not a negotiation book at all, but will make much of the material in those books more meaningful if you've read this book.

Books/courses I discourage:

- Never Split The Difference

- The Lynda course (there may be more than one now, but the one I took years ago was bad).

mrks_onMay 2, 2018

Never Split the Difference by Christopher Voss

brown-dragononJan 20, 2017

I found this advice on negotiating to be most helpful:

1. Always stay polite. Getting emotional works against you in most cases.

2. Don't give ultimatums. Saying "I want this and this" is fine - don't add "or else...".

3. In your current situation, you have lost some negotiating leverage (your previous salary, your experience) but it's not unsalvageable. Simply bring them up and counter them yourself:

* Your previous salary is not relevant - only what you want to accept now. HR has a desire to lowball you so you should counter with a higher-than-market request.

* Your experience is not an issue. If they want you for the job then you are qualified for the salary that job entails.

4. Use the fact that you are _already_ giving them something by accepting an offer one level below! Make this a big deal and ask for compensation for doing a higher level job.

5. Pick a price that is 10% above market value and have a list of reasons you want it (new house, car, ...). Do not be afraid to stick to your ask. After all, they need you to do the job just as much as you need their job.

6. When picking a number do not pick a round number (numbers like 30% sound like you have not given it much thought. Numbers like 101,300/- sound like you have figured out your finances and have a good reason for your ask).

7. Be patient and remember you both want something out of this.

Good luck!

Edit: The Lightning Guide to Software Resumes has a short section on negotiating that is a good summary. A better book is "Never split the difference" by Chris Voss which is, I think, the best book on the subject.

exclusivonMar 26, 2019

I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. The family is in a very difficult spot right now and people all cope and behave differently.

I'd recommend the book Never Split the Difference which was written by a former hostage negotiator. From what I learned from that book, anchoring his emotions and asking How questions might have helped you. Why questions are accusatory and put people on the defensive, often leading to escalation.

dkerstenonMar 22, 2019

> The internet and its resources are available, yet no amount of reasoning or information gets through to a lot of people.

This is a "normal" thing, there was a HN article about it some weeks back: often if someone has their mind made up about something, often no amount of facts, figures, logic and proof will change their minds. They may even see these things as personal attacks. Facts are, sadly, not an effective way to convince people.

I'm currently reading the book "Never split the difference" by Chris Voss, a book on negotiation by a former FBI hostage negotiator. In it, he talks at length about why traditional negotiation techniques don't work: they assume that both sides are rational and can be persuaded through facts and value propositions. People aren't rational, they're emotional and to get through to someone, you need to get through to their emotional mind. The book then talks about different techniques he's used to do this, but the fundamental foundation seems to be to listen to what the other person is saying -- really, really listen -- and put yourself into their emotional shoes so you can understand not just what emotion they're feeling, but also why. He then uses rather simple techniques: he verbalises the emotions he thinks their feeling and the reasons. This forces the other person to acknowledge them (or correct him if he got it wrong), which has a calming effect, provides you with more information to work with and often makes the person realise if they're being unreasonable. That's only one technique used, of course, but you can see how he's not trying to engage their logical factual minds, but rather find a way to put out the emotional fires going on in the persons mind.

I think these same principles apply when trying to convince someone of anything. If they have an emotional stake in the debate, then facts and logic aren't going to cut it, but talking to their emotions hostage-negotiator-style just might.

jonvillageonDec 26, 2017

This year I've read:

Maxims - Epictetus

The road to serfdom - Friedrich Hayek

De officiis - Cicero

De divinatione - Cicero

Lives of eminent philosophers - Diogenes Laertius

Confessions - Al ghazali

Illiad - Homer

Odyssey - Homer

Influence - Robert Cialdini

Guns, Germs and steel - Jared Diamond

Poor Charlie's Almanack - Charlie Munger - 2nd reading

Andrew Carnegie's Biography - Joseph Frazier

Fooled by Randomness - Nassim Taleb - 2nd reading

Bed of Procrustes - Nassim Taleb

Never Split the Difference - Christopher Voss

The intelligent investor - Benjamin Graham

Autobiography - Benjamin Franklin

I always remember this quote:

"In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time -- none, zero." Charlie Munger

ericskiffonMar 27, 2017

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss


As someone who never wanted to read negotiation books because I was worried I would try to "win" all the time, I can't tell you how much this book changed my way of thinking. It's affected how I deal with my kids, how I seek resolution in confrontations, and how I listen to people in general.

For anyone with empathy as a strong facet of your personality, I highly recommend reading this book. It's also a fun read, with each chapter's lesson following the events of a hostage negotiation that the author took part in as his role at the FBI.

karatestomponMay 12, 2020

> 1. Seven habits - I can't get past Covey's personal 'experiences'. They are just seemingly so contrived and fake that they just ruin the entire thought process for me. It seems like he had to make up things that related to the covenants. Is that just me?

Lots of self-help and pop-business books do this and above other factors like all the padding (so very much of it), it's ruined the genre for me. Hate that crap. Makes me think their advice is bullshit.

I made it a ways into Never Split the Difference and got a little useful material out of it, but bounced off when I reached a can't-possibly-be-real story about the author buying a car and getting a great price by (he claims) just repeatedly asking "how can I do that?" (or similar) when presented with a price above what he'd offered. Give me a break. "Well, you're in luck, our rates on 5-year loans are great right now, let me introduce you to our finance guy", the salesman, implausibly, never says, instead just acting confused and stupid the whole time and eventually giving in. Dafuq? Either the author actually got had and didn't realize it, or that story was at best a half-truth.

acconradonOct 17, 2018

I'm a technical consultant so the business isn't the same but I do have to do a ton of sales and I've done multiple six-figure deals and generated multiple six figures in revenue per year, so I am able to sell to some regard.

I'd recommend just reading a ton of books. There's a formula to sales that is well documented, you just have to adapt the pieces that work with your personality. The ones I'd recommend reading are:

* SPIN Selling

* Never Split the Difference

* Getting to Yes

* To Sell is Human

* Read any free information online about SPIN/NEAT/Sandler

I read all of those cover-to-cover right before I started my consulting business and it made a marked impact on my ability to sell. Like anything, it's a combination of study and practice. Read a book, figure out the nuggets that are important, then practice those tactics. Learn, rinse, repeat.

vladmarinonJune 26, 2021

* Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy. The book explains how to think of a platform systematically. It's valuable because it applies to everything else in life, any business, any industry - not just IT platforms. Based on the findings of 2 Nobel prize winners.

* Never Split the Difference. Don't even think about it - read it. The book is a life coaching chapter that everyone should learn.

* The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks. Everything is a network. From wars, to economy, to minorities, to terrorism. Understanding what truly lies behind the concept of "network" is just as well one of those life coaching chapters everyone should learn.

Buttons840onMay 1, 2017

I think you might find some solutions in a great negotiation book called "Never Split the Difference". Written by a former hostage negotiator. If you can negotiate with someone who thinks they are the Messiah and has a gun you might stand a chance online.

The problem is negotiation requires care and a lot of work. It's hard. And in public forums others will probably mess up your progress.

My best guess in a public forum would be to play the "good cop" and quote and defend the person I wanted to persuade. And while looking like I'm defending them, and being their friend, I would put forth an idea that is more moderate and thus move them towards being persuaded. This would be hard to do in the chaos of an online forum like HN or Reddit though.

Buttons840onMay 1, 2017

I think you might find some solutions in a great negotiation book called "Never Split the Difference". Written by a former hostage negotiator. If you can negotiate with someone who thinks they are the Messiah and has a gun you might stand a chance online.

The problem is negotiation requires care and a lot of work. It's hard. And in public forums others will probably mess up your progress.

My best guess in a public forum would be to play the "good cop" and quote and defend the person I wanted to persuade. And while looking like I'm defending them, and being their friend, I would put forth an idea that is more moderate and thus move them towards being persuaded. This would be hard to do in the chaos of an online forum like HN or Reddit though.

motohagiographyonJuly 9, 2020

I didn't encounter much in the way of quantitative stuff other than DeMesquita's "Logic of Political Survival," and related papers and code, which is what people should understand after they have read the foundational books like Getting To Yes, Influence, Never Split the Difference, the guidebook to negotiations A-Z from The Economist, etc.

People who haven't read laterally in it tend to only have one or two tools that have worked for them up to their level. Haggling, bargaining, and auction models aren't really negotiation. Reality is, it's the process of price discovery, often with people who are looking for rules they can break and points of leverage.

Rasta1sonJune 13, 2021

For the attacker, this may just be another bullet, another target. Killing or erasing your company's data, for the attacker, may mean absolutely nothing.

How do we go from here? Your job as a negotiator is to get them get them off their "fight mode" through the use of time, dialogue, and empathy.

By saying "I wont negotiate" you're building a gloom vision that there is no future. If the threat is real, you're out of time and out of luck. As Voss says, "She's dead"*

Further readings:

Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator ( by Gary Noesner)

Never Split the Difference (Chris Voss)

Ego, Authority, Failure (Derek Gaunt)

Movie: A Hijacking (IMDB)

* "60 seconds or she dies" challenge on Youtube (Chris Voss).

chillacyonAug 21, 2020

Reminds me of some of the stories in Never Split The Difference, where the author was a hostage negotiator for the FBI who would reduce ransoms (on human hostages) from millions to in one case, a few thousand. He relayed a similar reasoning, at the end of the day they want to get paid and a dead person is worth $0 (and potentially the swat team coming in).

js2onMay 26, 2019

On your last point, you might be interested in reading Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.

The author would advise you to ask a negative question in your email such as "have you given up on this project?" People don't like to say no and it often motivates a reply.


steveeq1onDec 28, 2019

"Never Split the Difference" is a negotiation book with what I feel are manipulative and dirty tricks. HNer's should definately read it so you can recognize the common techniques negotiators, salesmen, and lawyers use in their jobs. It will help prevent you from being taken advantage of in a situation like that.

But for god sakes, don't employ these techniques yourself.

q-baseonApr 1, 2019

Your friend has either gambled - and it payed off (He did not have another offer)
Or he did have another offer in which case he negotiated from a leveraged position.

Allow me to be all internet-meta-psychologist. You are having difficulties with this because you are not ready to gamble your current position, as you do not have another offer lined up. You like the positive outcome of the gamble (a raise) but cannot stand the negative (loss of job).

You should only bluff if you are ready to be called on it.

I would concur with a lot of other advice here and perhaps add a little from the book "Never split the difference".

I would probably start as others said with explaining how much you like being there and enjoy your work. But with the market is and what other people in your position gets paid either there or other places you are having a hard time not looking at other career opportunities. So you would really appreciate your managers input on how he could help you stay in your current position and not be forced to look for other opportunities.

therobot24onDec 18, 2018

  - Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon by Valley John Carreyrou
- Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep by Matthew Walker
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
- How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World by Hans Rosling
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
- The Phoenix Project by D.M. Cain
- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
- Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Tia T. Farmer
- Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
- Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
- Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
- Linear Algebra by Jim Hefferon
- 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
- Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
- Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Atomic Habits by James Clear

Most are about self improvement...i wonder if this bias says something about those who recommended the books. Was hoping for some new fiction books to put on my audiobook list.

specialistonFeb 20, 2021

> People have this instinct that "silence is consent".


Part of my impulse to speak up IRL comes from the example of the activism to tackle HIV/AIDS. Literally, silence meant death. That left a huge imprint on me.

There a few times in my life when I didn't speak up, didn't act. And it fills me with shame.

Examples (of failure) help:

At a music festival. Mid '90s. Two white guys were harassing two black couples. I thought one of the white guys was going to get physical. I was so flabbergasted. I had no idea what to do. I was also in no physical condition to get into or break up a fight.

I saw a young parent assault her kids. Like punches, not spanking, Kids had signature abuse victims response. I should have called the cops.

Young gay couple were being harassed in a movie theater. I didn't act.

Old white dude at a public townhall talking about "those people" and advocating Jim Crow laws (in Washington State! in the early 2000s!).

> Our instincts are built of some assumptions that no longer work on internet. One possible approach is to learn new skills.


My IRL impulses are sabotage online. I've been on social media since the late 80s. (BBSs, CompuServe, BIX.) Trolling and smack talk have always been part of the medium. It was fun. But now it isn't. It just keeps getting worse.

Next book on my reading list is Adam Grant's Think Again. Some of the recent book promotion interviews (eg Vox Pivot) have been great.

Chris Voss' Never Split the Difference, how to use "radical empathy" in tough situations, is really really good. I'm now looking for workbooks, training, or something. Like role playing exercises to practice.

Recommendations please.

satvikpendemonOct 3, 2019

This approach was coined as "forced empathy"[0] by Chris Voss, author of the book on negotiating Never Split the Difference[1]. I would highly recommend reading it. Blackswan LTD is the consulting group he made based on his experiences, also mentioned in the book.

[0] https://blog.blackswanltd.com/the-edge/the-1-tactic-for-nego...

[1] https://info.blackswanltd.com/never-split-the-difference

tmalyonApr 30, 2018

Here are my 3 recent favorites:

Never Split the Difference, its about how to negotiate in life

The Pyramid Principle for learning how to structure your ideas and write logically.

Getting Things Done, the 2001 version on how to apply a simple workflow to managing all the tasks you have both personal and professional.

razvanhonDec 22, 2016

I would recommend most of the books I read this year:

* Born a Crime by Noah Trevor

* Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi

* Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Alexievich, Svetlana

* Ex-Formation by Hara, Kenya (best book I read this year)

* A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson, Bill

* Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human
Decisions by Brian Christian (applying algorithm theory to daily life)

* Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Voss Chris (meh)

* Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Knapp Jake (meh)

* All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr Anthony (loved it)

* The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro Kazuo (loved it)

langitbiruonFeb 4, 2020

Here are what I am learning in 2020. I try to be a holistic person. So I am learning technical skills, business skills, and social skills.

Technical: Blockchain programming (mostly on Ethereum). I believe Ethereum is the future. Programmable money. How cool is that?

However if you think blockchain is fad, you could replace it with cybersecurity.

Business: Corporate finance (stocks, bonds, future contracts, options, etc). This is related with blockchain because I believe a lot of financial applications will move to blockchain platform.

However if you think blockchain is fad, corporate finance itself is a useful skill for investment and analyzing company's finance. Just now, I learned that you could make two bonds with different risks and yields into one security which you can divide into senior tranches and junior tranches. It's very interesting.

Social: Negotiation. I am reading Chris Voss' book (Never Split The Difference). He has a class in MasterClass as well. Coursera has a couple of negotiation courses. In the past, I received the shorter end of the stick because I'm not good at negotiation. So I'll try to change that.

Happy acquiring skills!

peterlkonJuly 17, 2018

This story reminds me of a book that I read a few months ago called "Never Split the Difference". It's a negotiation book by a former FBI hostage negotiator. I think the context of that book offers some color to this story, and I'd highly recommend it.

EDIT: I think the contextual question that arises from that book is: How does the idea of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" play out in multi-sided negotiations with such high stakes?

tmalyonJune 17, 2020

My company does not buy any unless specifically requested.

I would recommend the following books:

Never Split the Difference - we are always negotiating, I use things from this book on a daily basis.

One Minute Manager - if you managing people this is a much simpler method. It is like the Kent Beck TDD of management rules in its simplicity.

How to Win Friends and Influence People - classic, but very useful in soft skills.

saimiamonOct 13, 2017

I'd refer you back to this -

> Even if they never buy from you, if they recommend you to a peer, they've given you a patina of credibility that no online marketing effort can match.

Marketers have this rule of thumb that you need between 3-7 touchpoints before your target becomes a customer. So, after one interaction with someone at a seminar, you are about 1/5 the way towards making the sale.

Don't lose heart - marketing and sales is as much, if not more, about the grind as it is about the product itself.

Don't organize events.

Also, there's a difference between listening for features which can usually be asked as "What" questions and questions which are designed to get your counterpart to solve your problem for you. I'd recommend a book called "Never Split the Difference" on how to ask questions to make the other person work for you without them even realizing it. It's by an ex-FBI hostage negotiator. His insights were used to save lives and personally, I found the book useful.

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