First of all, I would love to thank my brother River from India, who gave me this book as a present. It means a lot to me, and I’m very grateful for it. It really fits my interest in learning to communicate better. I’m always curious about the ways people give and receive information and how our brain process it.

I was never afraid of conflicts when it comes to debating and different opinions. I have a rebel personality, I need to know why things are the way they are, and if I don’t know, I’m gonna keep asking until I don’t get the answer. I love to debate, it made my argumentation stronger, it made me more resilient and accustomed to stressful situations. I see only benefits in being able to handle conversations, conflicts, or negotiations.
What I didn’t like, what the way people perceived me, so I started to look for a way to deliver my message unchanged and stay in good terms with people who can not handle these kinds of situations.

This book is basically about ways and techniques FBI negotiators were (maybe still do) using and the psychology experience behind it. Through stories, Chris Voss is breaking down how you could be a better negotiator. From learning to use tones of your voice, to learn to listen and develop rapport and empathy, to psychological phenomena that might not be so obvious or grand, but can change the outcome of your negotiation rapidly.
I took many many notes from this book, most about the ways to use language to create a safer environment for conversation. I’m definitely gonna come back to my notes and this book for more guidance.

“If this book accomplishes only one thing, I hope it gets you over that fear of conflict and encourages you to navigate it with empathy. If you’re going to be great at anything—a great negotiator, a great manager, a great husband, a great wife—you’re going to have to do that. You’re going to have to ignore that little genie who’s telling you to give up, to just get along—as well as that other genie who’s telling you to lash out and yell.”

“In my short stay I realized that without a deep understanding of human psychology, without the acceptance that we are all crazy, irrational, impulsive, emotionally driven animals, all the raw intelligence and mathematical logic in the world is little help in the fraught, shifting interplay of two people negotiating.”

“It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing. Psychotherapy research shows that when individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings. In addition, they tend to become less defensive and oppositional and more willing to listen to other points of view, which gets them to the calm and logical place where they can be good Getting to Yes problem solvers.”

“When people are in a positive frame of mind, they think more quickly, and are more likely to collaborate and problem-solve (instead of fight and resist). It applies to the smile-er as much as to the smile-ee: a smile on your face, and in your voice, will increase your own mental agility.”

“Mirroring, also called isopraxism, is essentially imitation. It’s another neurobehavior humans (and other animals) display in which we copy each other to comfort each other. It can be done with speech patterns, body language, vocabulary, tempo, and tone of voice. It’s generally an unconscious behavior—we are rarely aware of it when it’s happening—but it’s a sign that people are bonding, in sync, and establishing the kind of rapport that leads to trust. It’s a phenomenon (and now technique) that follows a very basic but profound biological principle: We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar. As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together. Mirroring, then, when practiced consciously, is the art of insinuating similarity. “Trust me,” a mirror signals to another’s unconscious, “You and I—we’re alike.””

“I always try to reinforce the message that being right isn’t the key to a successful negotiation—having the right mindset is.”

“Research shows that the best way to deal with negativity is to observe it, without reaction and without judgment. Then consciously label each negative feeling and replace it with positive, compassionate, and solution-based thoughts.”

“I’m here to call bullshit on compromise right now. We don’t compromise because it’s right; we compromise because it is easy and because it saves face. We compromise in order to say that at least we got half the pie. Distilled to its essence, we compromise to be safe. Most people i”

“In Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain,2 neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explained a groundbreaking discovery he made. Studying people who had damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated, he found that they all had something peculiar in common: They couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should do in logical terms, but they found it impossible to make even the simplest choice. In other words, while we may use logic to reason ourselves toward a decision, the actual decision making is governed by emotion.”

“In the Ultimatum Game, years of experience has shown me that most accepters will invariably reject any offer that is less than half of the proposer’s money. Once you get to a quarter of the proposer’s money you can forget it and the accepters are insulted. Most people make an irrational choice to let the dollar slip through their fingers rather than to accept a derisory offer, because the negative emotional value of unfairness outweighs the positive rational value of the money.”

“Hope is not a strategy.”

“In any bare-knuckle bargaining session, the most vital principle to keep in mind is never to look at your counterpart as an enemy. The person across the table is never the problem. The unsolved issue is. So focus on the issue”

“In a famous study from the late 1970s,3 Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer and her colleagues approached people waiting for copy machines and asked if they could cut the line. Sometimes they gave a reason; sometimes they didn’t. What she found was crazy: without her giving a reason, 60 percent let her through, but when she did give one, more than 90 percent did. And it didn’t matter if the reason made sense. (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I cut in line because I have to make copies?” worked great.) People just responded positively to the framework.”

never split the difference chris voss