This Business Book Was So Good That I Took 41 Pages of Notes


Every week I silo for three uninterrupted hours to invest in myself. For this self-improvement exercise, I’ve attended a webinar, read a book, watched a Ted Talk, or sat with a mentor over coffee. If I’m in my office during this three-hour window, my phone is on Do Not Disturb and my inbox is paused.

Two weeks ago I sipped Syrah and read one of the best communication books I’ve ever read. (It was 5 o’clock somewhere.)

I read, “Never Split the Difference: Negotiate As If Your Life Depended On It,” by Chris Voss. It took me two of my 3-hour blocks to finish it, in part because of my waves of notetaking. I am so astonishingly excited about this book that I have to share it with you!

My Review of Chris Voss’s “Never Split the Difference: Negotiate As If Your Life Depended On It.”

I was using some of Voss’s tactics with complete success before I finished the final chapter. The book is chock-full of examples that genuinely teach strategies for not just negotiating better, but communicating better — with a focus on listening, empathy and making a call to action.

Cover to cover, this is a fantastic book that delivers value — my biggest takeaways were the surprise techniques, the high-level of engagement, and application to de-escalating intense interactions.

Unexpected Tactics

Voss gives robust negotiation strategies with rung-by-rung application advice on everything from salary negotiations, to paying not $1 more than your bottom-line for a new car or home, to high-level contracts.

What I didn’t expect was tactical advice on such things as “How to Get Any Email Answered,” a tool I used this morning and smiled when the reply boomeranged in less than ten minutes, and how to use empathy to make a person feel heard and understood and to open up to you entirely.

Engaging and Hard to Put Down

I listened to the audiobook, and Michael Kramer delivered a superb performance – credible and entertaining. One con, if indeed it is a con, is that I took 41 pages of notes, copiously dittoing every tactic and scribing examples I want to remember.

De-escalation Application

I took this book in through the lens of de-escalating intense interactions, a skill I teach, and the tactics are near magic wand useful in pre-empting an escalation and getting a challenging customer to cool from a boil down to a simmer.

Labeling a customer’s emotions (“It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating experience.”), Mirroring (repeating back the customer’s last three words and stating the words as a question), and using tactical pauses are astonishingly effective in talking an unreasonable customer down from the ledge.

I loved the book, and I’ll encourage my daughter to read it before graduating from college. I think you’ll like it and get application ideas as well.

Continue the Conversation With Me?

I talked about a skill I teach, De-escalation, in this review. I’ve learned the most potent de-escalation tactics known from the martial art Aikido, trial lawyers, and law enforcement. And I now add to these insights, skills from former FBI hostage negotiator.

And on Friday, March 1st I’m hosting my refashioned De-escalation Training in a webinar. Join me and I’ll give your customer service employees the power to get any customer to back down.

Published by


Myra is a favorite training partner to Fortune 500 companies with her customized, engaging, behavior-changing (and fun) customer service workshops, working with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Michelin, Vera Bradley and other brands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s