Never Split the Difference BOOK REVIEW


Do you dread negotiations for fear of the conflict involved?

The fact is that every aspect of our lives involves some form of negotiation—from a salary discussion to a child’s bedtime, a business deal to a high-stakes hostage crisis.

In these situations, the only way to get what you think is right is to ask for it. In Never Split the Difference, former expert FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss details that the best way to do this is to use a set of tools that allows you to better connect with others, influence them, and negotiate for what you want.


  1. Never split the difference—it leads to dreadful outcomes. If you want to wear your black shoes, but your spouse wants you to wear the brown ones, splitting the difference means you end up wearing one black shoe and one brown. Compromising is a cop-out, a way to feel safe.
  2. Start any negotiation by listening; it’s the only way to create enough trust and safety for a real conversation, to identify what your counterpart actually needs and to get them to feel safe enough to talk about what they really want.
  3. Practice good listening—it will help you develop emotional empathy. Researchers at Princeton University used an fMRI brain-scan to discover that people who paid the most attention, i.e., really good listeners, could actually anticipate what a speaker was about to say.
  4. In her daily TV show, Oprah was a master listener. She was able to get the person she was interviewing to talk about their deepest secrets, using a smile to ease the tension, signaling empathy with subtle verbal and nonverbal signals, and speaking slowly.
  5. Use tactical empathy to encourage your counterpart to expand on their situation. You don’t have to agree with them, just acknowledge their situation. Once the other person realizes that you are listening, they are more likely to tell you something that you can use.
  6. Mirror what your counterpart says. People are drawn to what is similar and fear what is different. Mirroring encourages the other person to keep talking, and ultimately to reveal their strategy.
  7. Label your counterpart’s fears; it disrupts the power of a negative thought or emotion. Labeling essentially short-circuits the amygdala, the part of the brain that reacts to real or imaginary threats.
  8. Pushing for “yes” makes people defensive; you have to get past the counterfeit and confirmation yesses in order to get to the real commitment.
  9. As Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, remarks: “Every ‘No’ gets me closer to a ‘Yes.’” Often, the word “no” just means “wait” or “I’m not comfortable with that.” Once you hear that first “no,” the real negotiation begins.
  10. If you’re trying to work with someone and they keep ignoring your messages, provoke a “no” response with a simple one-sentence email: “Have you given up on this project?” Odds are, the other person will respond with something like, “No, it’s just that other issues have cropped up and…”
  11. Bend your counterpart’s reality. Psychologists Kahneman and Tversky discovered that people will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Use your counterpart’s loss aversion to persuade them that they will lose something if the deal falls through.
  12. Get your counterpart to say, “That’s right!” Once they say this, you’ve reached a breakthrough moment—they are acknowledging that you understand where they are coming from.
  13. Columbia Business School psychologists found that job applicants who named a range received significantly higher salaries than those who offered a single number. If your goal is $60,000, give the range of $60,000-$80,000 and they’ll likely come back with $60,000—or higher. Give the number $60,000, however, and they’ll likely offer you less.
  14. The person who is really in control in a conversation is the one who is listening—the talker is revealing information while the listener can direct the conversation toward his own goals.
  15. The first step to dealing with any counterpart is to identify their negotiating style. Are they an Accommodator, an Assertive, or an Analyst?
  16. Psychologist Kevin Dutton coined the phrase “unbelief”—active resistance to what the other side is saying. As a negotiator, your role is to stop the other side from unbelieving; give them the illusion of control through asking for help with calibrated questions.
  17. Calibrated questions such as, “How can I do that?” gently push your counterpart to search for other solutions. The negotiation becomes an information-gathering process where your counterpart is vested in creating the outcome that you want.
  18. Approaching deadlines—whether real or merely an arbitrary line in the sand—make people do impulsive things. Research by UC Berkeley professor Don A. Moore found that when negotiators tell their counterparts about their deadline, they get better deals.
  19. When someone seems irrational, they most likely are not—they’re just being driven by a constraint or hidden desire that you haven’t uncovered yet, or they’re operating on bad information.
  20. Any negotiation requires preparation, an outline of your tools. This is the “one sheet” that summarizes your approach.


Negotiation is not about creating a win-win situation, finding a compromise, or getting to yes—it’s about connecting with your counterpart so that you can figure out what they really want and using that to get what you want. The key is to practice active listening and tactical empathy: make counterparts feel safe enough to reveal themselves. Frame the negotiation using tools like mirroring (repeating your counterpart’s key words), labeling your counterpart’s fears, and asking calibrated questions that start with “How…?” or “What…?” The first “no” is not the end of the negotiation, but the beginning. Once you get your counterpart to say, “That’s right!” you’ve reached a turning point. Figure out your counterpart’s negotiation style: are they an Analyst, an Accommodator, or an Assertive? Prepare for any negotiation by drawing up a one-sheet list of five key points that summarize your approach.

Zero to One BOOK Summary


Tap into a new way of thinking about business and ambition by reading this book summary. Zero to One will challenge you to think for yourself on topics such as technology verus globalization, business monopolies versus competitive markets, and the mindset you really need to make a difference in the world. Learn from tech superstar Peter Thiel (PayPal, Palantir) and his protégé Blake Masters why the only opportunities really worth pursuing are those that create something truly unique – that go from “zero to one” rather than from “one to n.” And, learn the seven questions you should be asking yourself to find out if what you’re working on passes that test.


  1. Creating truly innovative technology requires progressing from “zero to one” rather than from “one to n.” This means creating something entirely new rather than incrementally adding to what already exists.
  2. One way to move from “one to n” is globalization, or enabling new markets to access something that has already been created. But, because resources are not infinite, globalization needs to be accompanied by new technologies to make the consumption of goods more efficient and sustainable, or else global ills will result.
  3. The world needs startups as an engine to both envision and create the future. Though there has been new technology lately, there are still many aspects of everyday life that are begging for improvement, given the right vision and strategy.
  4. The dot-com crash of the 1990s taught entrepreneurs lessons about how to build a business that, when followed today, hinder the development of real technological innovations and sustainable growth. These “rules” should be ignored.
  5. Monopolies generate good for the world. If a business has achieved a monopoly, it indicates that the business has truly gone from “zero to one,” and created something for society that did not exist before or improved upon an existing technology to such a degree that it has made the old technology obsolete.
  6. To create this sort of change it is helpful to be a “definite optimist” – someone who believes that “the future will be better than the present if he plans and works to make it better.” This kind of worldview enables the vision, gumption, and persistence to go from zero to one.
  7. Monopolies also generate good for the world because of the privilege that major profits allot. “Since [Google] doesn’t have to worry about competing with anyone, it has wider latitude to care about its workers, its products, and its impact on the wider world.”
  8. Monopolies are more ubiquitous than we’re led to believe and shape their stories to avoid scrutiny and regulation. For example, if Google is seen primarily as a search engine company, they own 68% of that market. In contrast, if they’re described as playing in the global advertising market, they only own 3.4%.
  9. Monopolies are only bad when a business lingers in that position unchallenged for too long. Ideally, new monopolies take over, “adding entirely new categories of abundance to the world.” (Think of how Apple’s “mobile computing” replaced Microsoft’s hold on the PC market, who itself supplanted IBM’s “hardware monopoly” of the 1960s and 1970s.)
  10. The key to creating a monopoly is to resist copying others’ business models and instead to think for yourself. Prioritize four aspects of your business over a hyper-focus on growth: proprietary technology, network effects, economies of scale, and branding.
  11. Rather than initially painting a grandiose vision of global market dominance, the best way to build a monopoly is to start small. Capture a small, specific market with the tentacles to easily branch to related markets over time.
  12. Know that venture capital firms typically make their money by finding the one single startup that will outperform all their other investments. The bar really is that high for your pitch.
  13. The one single startup that will outperform all the others in a VC’s firm’s portfolio has solved a previously unaddressed problem or need in the world. In other words, they have unearthed and solved a “secret.” The good news is that, despite common knowledge, there are many secrets left to find and solve.
  14. The foundation you set for your startup is disproportionally important to the success of your company. The most crucial aspects to get right are related to personnel – selecting your co-founder and board.
  15. Offering equity as a form of compensation can be a good way to weed out those who lack the long-term commitment to and passion for the vision of your venture.
  16. The CEO of a startup should either receive the lowest salary at the company (and set an example of frugality) or the highest salary at the company (setting a maximum compensation), though if high it should be modest. If not, he or she risks getting too comfortable.
  17. While the fundamental innovation your business offers is crucial, sales and distribution tactics are necessary too. Sales acumen is a key distinguisher between success and failure. “Whatever the career, sales ability distinguishes superstars from also-rans.”
  18. Humans have nothing to fear from technology’s increasing presence in the marketplace. Instead, technology will create more opportunities for humans to do what they are uniquely good at, while the machine fills in the gaps by doing what is difficult for humans.
  19. Because it requires a distinctive vision to go from zero to one, successful founders are often eccentric individuals not afraid to pursue a seemingly eccentric vision. This explains both why founders are so successful and also why they can become scapegoats for corporate dysfunction.
  20. You don’t have to be the founder of a brilliant company to benefit from this knowledge. As an employee, search for these qualities in the companies and leaders you work for to ensure you have the right support to develop and to keep exploring new ideas.


Zero to One is about the value of true innovation made accessible to the masses through startups. It outlines several tenets that keen-minded business people should hold dear, including why technology trumps globalization, why we should be supporting monopolies instead of “healthy competition,” why successful innovators have the worldview of a “definite optimist,” and why no one should be afraid of losing their job to a robot. Zero to One also delivers unique business insights, such as the four most important things to pay attention to about your product (hint: they’re not quantitative) and the seven questions every business must answer for itself.

How to have a MEMORY like a SUPER COMPUTER.

How to have a MEMORY like a SUPER COMPUTER.

Today, more than in any other time in history we are bombarded with information. Facebook, Instagram, blogs, emails, infographics…data, data, data.

While it is important to filter out what is signal and noise by using rapid reasoning, once you have worked that out, there are lots to recall, therefore, improving your memory is not an option if you want to be competitive, it’s critical. For those that have had a classical education, the following technique, I am about to share with you is not a new “hack”, it’s tried and tested and has been used by the Greeks, Romans, British, and is commonly employed in memory competitions. It’s a technique used by Royalty to recall the inventory of their collections, hence the name the “Memory Palace.”

The Memory Palace, or otherwise, known as the method of the loci (latin for “location”) is a technique which uses visualisation and spatial learning to place and then recall information. When you need to remember anything you imagine yourself on a journey or in a room you know well and “take the first step” of the journey by having the same starting point every time. Choose a journey or location you know well and can recall the details, all you will do is place the items you wish to recall in certain places of the journey. In order to make it most effective it should be integrated with elaborative significance (i.e., adding visual, auditory, or other details) to strengthen the mental picture.. However, due to the strength of spatial memory, simply mentally placing objects in real or imagined locations without further elaboration can be effective for simple associations. Follow these steps:

1. Decide on a blueprint by choosing a familiar place or location. This can be a building, your room, journey you take to work or the gym etc.

 (This pictures is a representation of Game of Thrones Capital, Kingslanding built on Minecraft).

2. Choose a route, its important that you know the order to the items you will “walk” past, therefore you will need a specific route you know really well.

3. Highlight specific locations on your way along this journey. When you first use this system you will need to place things in specific locations, therefore draw attention to what are landmarks on the walk. For example if you are using from you bedroom, to your bathroom, to you kitchen etc..make a clear mental note the very first object you notice in the morning, then as you get up, the second thing that you see..then what you notice most about entering your get the gist of this..

4. Imagine you are taking that journey. You must be able to commit to memory the location of the events on the journey, its much better to choose places you know really well and are everyday occurences to you, don’t’ trouble yourself with places you don’t’ know that well, just the most familiar. Practice going through the building when you are not there..close your eyes and mentally rehearse going through the building or location, ensure your mental image includes their colors, sizes, smells, and any other defining characteristics. You want to recall as much detail as possible.

5. Place things you want to recall on your journey. Once you have constructed your building or journey, your “palace” and find it easy to recall important aspects of it in your mind, you are ready to use it. Insert a manageable amount of information in each place. For example, if your palace is your house, and you are trying to remember a speech you might place the first few sentences next to your bed and the next few on the first thing you see when you get out of bed. However, its imperative to refrain from too much information in any one place, furthermore to keep certain things separate from others, put them in different places. Make sure that you place things along your route in the order in which you need to remember them, if applicable.

6. Use meaningful symbols and images. Store in each location an image or a symbol that will trigger your memory of whatever it is you would like to associate, be creative, if you are trying to remember something look for a short hand version or metonymy that you can associate..if you need to remember, here are some examples of a variety of metonymy in everyday usage:

* Crown — in place of a royal person

* The White House — in place of the President or others who work there
 * The suits — in place of business people
 * Dish — for an entire plate of food
 * The Pentagon — to refer to the staff
 * The restaurant — to refer to the staff
 * Ears — for giving attention (“Lend me your ears!” from Mark Antony in Julius Caesar)
 * Eyes — for sight
 * The library — for the staff or the books
 * Pen — for the written word
 * Sword — for military might

7. Creativity. The images you put in your palace work well when they are as memorable as possible. Images are most memorable if they are bizarre and absurd or if they are attached to some strong emotion or personal experience. To recall numbers here is a useful visualization technique, creating a visual link with the number itself.

0 = ball

1 = magic wand

2 = swan

3 = fork

4 = sailboat

5 = seahorse

6 = bomb

7 = crowbar

8 = hourglass

9 = balloon

Therefore, if you wanted to recall the number 778595:

Two crowbars fall onto an hourglass cracking it open and revealing a seahorse holding a balloon with a picture of a seahorse on it.

8. Explore your “palace.” Once you have placed what you need to recall in your palace with evocative images, it’s imperative you go through your journey. The more often you wander through your palace, the more easily you will recall its contents on demand. In your mind you want to see a drunken cartoon stag leaping over the sofa, for example, sitting on your there and was really an integral part of your bathroom decor.

In addition to the memory palace

For more information on how to improve your memory

and the decision making process click here.

Originally published at

How to convince your boss to book a workshop, training course..

How to convince your boss to book a workshop, training course..

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to….If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” — Sir Richard Branson

Workshops, training courses, summits: an inspiring one can teach you something that can change your career, a purposeful one may even change your life.

Personally, I believe that engaging and immersive active workshops really boost productivity, morale, idea sharing, and ultimately create a positive atmosphere that encourages top performance. This is what we focus on when we deliver our own workshops at Rapid Reasoning. All of our workshops include a transformative hands-on approach in which attendees experience, and apply the knowledge, our instructors deliver.

During our working life, it’s imperative that we grow our skills and continue to evolve, otherwise, we risk becoming obsolete in our fast-changing industries. New technologies, methodologies, and automation tools that show a better way of working rapidly emerge across all industries and as employees and bosses it’s our job to ensure we stay on top of the best of these.

People and the value they deliver and receive are what make our companies and their corporate cultures what they are, therefore, ensuring the people that make our corporate culture are knowledgeable and up to date then by extension the company is also knowledgeable and up to date.

As an employee then, it is unavoidable you either pay for your own training or have your company pay, which for some can be rather difficult. Here are five tips you can use to encourage your boss to pay for your training/coaching/workshop:

1. Understand the training and its benefits for you and the business

You must be able to articulate to your boss a quick “elevator pitch” of the training. Explain to them what you can learn at the training, how it will improve the quality of your work and the positive effects this can have on the business and its clients. Hint: bosses are interested in things that can make clients/users happier, processes easier and profits higher 😉 For example, you know when the atmosphere in a team is awkward and they spend time avoiding each other or engage in passive-aggressive battles that make working life difficult? Yes? Well, we make sure that doesn’t happen. This leads to less staff turnover and increased productivity.

2. Openly discuss pros and cons

Be open and honest about any downsides as well as upsides to the training, openly discuss them. If you find your boss is resistant pitch it as a “one-off” experiment if you have to. Nevertheless, you will find it easier if you can make sure the pros outnumber and outweigh the cons.

3. Take ownership after training to coach others in the company

“I approve the budget for the training. Then what?” — Tell your boss that whoever attends the training they will take responsibility for coming back to the office and reporting on what was learned and will help define specific actionable points for how the company will employ this transformational knowledge.

4. Time it right

Approach your boss at the right moment. Refrain from speaking to them if they’re busy or stressed first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Use your Emotional Intelligence and wait to catch them when they’re relaxed and open.

5. If cost is an issue, offer to pay 50% or to cover travel expenses

Cost sharing is even an option. If budget is an issue with your boss, you may offer to pay 50% of the ticket price yourself. It’s hard to argue with a deal like that. Rather than spending, you can pitch it as the company actually saving 50% on training costs!

Good luck!

If you have any questions or need more help getting budget for any training, feel free to email!


I’m the founder of Rapid Reasoning: delivering human-centred design workshops, training and coaching. Ask me anything: