My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is worth reading for the hostage negotiation stories alone. Easily. A very entertaining and interesting read.
Beyond that, Voss does a great job in the purpose of the book, which is to teach negotiation skills. Another plus that made this book worth my time was the fact that most of the skills are listening skills and people skills, both of which I need. They are supremely valuable skills for many matters of life that extend beyond negotiation.
One helpful tip had to do with discovering dishonesty. If you suspect a claim may not be true, ask the person about it three times, with different words. Telling a convincing lie take a lot of effort, and it’s difficult to do that three times.
Another helpful tip for me is the “mirroring” skill. People naturally want to connect with one another and be in sync with each other (notice friends sitting together at the park who take a drink or cross their legs about the same time, or walk with their steps n sync). When you mirror someone’s behavior or words (in a way that’s natural, not obnoxious), it makes them feel in sync with you and they want to participate in that. The mirroring exercise is simple–just repeat the last 2 or three words they said. Then be silent. This prompts them to expand on it. This exercise has a lot of value in negotiation, but aside from that, I see it as a helpful tool for making conversation (for those of us who are challenged in that area).
I found the book fascinating from beginning to end (which is saying a lot. I rarely find any book fascinating.)
What I Didn’t Love
The only negatives are:
1) He uses profanity and obscenity (it’s a secular book).
2) Voss seems to take an approach to life that drives him to get the best possible outcome for himself in every negotiation. This is not compatible with Christian morality. Just because I can talk my boss into giving me a salary higher than he can afford, or my landlord a rental rate lower than he can afford, doesn’t mean I should. Sometimes we should say, “You’re offering a fair price–I’ll take it” even if we have the skills to get them to agree to less.
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