For readers who are members of the Negotiation Study Group on Facebook, I invite you to join me in a bit of self-study.

One thing I would like to do with this group is to select books to study and share comments on FB.

As the administrator of the group, I am going to assert “executive privilege” and make our first selection in this format.

And (drum roll please!) I have selected Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On It, by Chris Voss.

Why this book? 

I have been studying negotiation theory since the 1980’s and seriously studying it since 2012, when 30 of us formed negotiation study groups at which we met in person, crawled through a number of books, and talked about how the theory applies to our real life situations. That experience led me to publishing “Mastering Negotiation,” which I am proud to report is being used by some high school teachers to encourage behavioral modification.

Most of my knowledge base comes from the study of the many excellent books written at Harvard, beginning with Getting to Yes in 1981. Add a healthy dose of psychology, especially Influence by Robert Cialdini and the ground breaking work of Daniel Khaneman, the wisdom of Herb Cohen, the chiseling techniques of Stuart Diamond and a comprehensive study of the Camp David accords, and here I am.

A few years ago, I stumbled on to Stalling for Time, written by Gary Noesner, the first major player in the world of FBI hostage negotiations. His work on cases such as the Waco siege and the Ruby Ridge disaster present beautiful vignettes of the frustrations of a work in progress: teaching the FBI that tragedies like Waco could be averted through skilled negotiations.

Chris Voss is the next step in the evolution of the process that Noesner began. Through trial and error the FBI has developed methods for negotiating in the trenches rather than in the ivory towers. The stories are fascinating and the lessons learned invaluable.

So, I am going to cover this book, chapter by chapter. Every couple of weeks or so, I will post my comments to each chapter and invite comments. If anyone would like to join me, please chime in!

Happy negotiating!