Resume format for the Novice

Hi everybody

I would like to share this resume which I cut out from the book ‘Java/J2EE Resume Companion’. This book teaches how to write a resume for the novice, the intermediate, and the advanced professional.

I’m sharing the novice resume. I think that it is particularly challenging for a novice to write a resume because he or she do not know what to include. The author Arulkumaran Kumaraswamipillai has laid out exactly what to include and in what order, and he claims it to be the most effective format.

Futhermore, I think almost all WSU CS students can fill the various sections of this format, because such is the design and layout of the curriculum.  I am going to try this format and see how it goes.


Also please don’t take offense at my posting of this copyrighted material. Copyrights were broken for educational purposes only, but if you think otherwise let me know and I’ll proceed accordingly.
“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”


Preparation for Coding Interview

Hi everybody,

Here’s some blogs and books I find extremely useful for preparing for coding interviews.


Java-Success is a very good blog. Also, check on his books they are very good.

He provides 6 tips to get an entry level job, which I totally agree with. Here’s the link to that page:

The books I recommend are:


I kind find this book anywhere else. I don’t know why.

The Last Lecture 


The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch

January 11, 2017

But engineering isn’t about perfect solutions; it’s about doing the best you can with limited resources

January 11, 2017
Chapter 1 – An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

What makes me unique?” That was the question I felt compelled to address. Maybe

January 11, 2017
Chapter 1 – An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

January 11, 2017
Chapter 1 – An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

An injured lion wants to know if he can still roar

January 11, 2017
Chapter 1 – An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

Whatever my accomplishments, all of the things I loved were rooted in the dreams and goals I had as a child…and in the ways I had managed to fulfill almost all of them. My uniqueness, I realized, came in the specifics of all the dreams—from incredibly meaningful to decidedly quirky—that defined my forty-six years of life. Sitting there, I knew that despite the cancer, I truly believed I was a lucky man because I had lived out these dreams. And I had lived out my dreams, in great measure, because of things I was taught by all sorts of extraordinary people along the way. If I was able to tell my story with the passion I felt, my lecture might help others find a path to fulfilling their own dreams.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 1 – An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.’ ”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 2 – My Life in a Laptop

When the waitress brought our meals, I congratulated her on her pregnancy. “You must be overjoyed,” I said. “Not exactly,” she responded. “It was an accident.” As she walked away, I couldn’t help but be struck by her frankness. Her casual remark was a reminder about the accidental elements that play into both our arrival into life… and our departure into death

January 11, 2017
Chapter 3 – The Elephant in the Room

the logo on my short-sleeved polo shirt was an emblem of honor because it’s the one worn by Walt Disney Imagineers—the artists, writers and engineers who create theme-park fantasies

January 11, 2017
Chapter 3 – The Elephant in the Room

I was paying tribute to that life experience, and to Walt Disney himself, who famously had said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 3 – The Elephant in the Room

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 4 – The Parent Lottery

If you have a question,” my folks would say, “then find the answer.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 4 – The Parent Lottery

stories should be told for a reason

January 11, 2017
Chapter 4 – The Parent Lottery

When I was studying for my PhD, I took something called “the theory qualifier,” which I can now definitively say was the second worst thing in my life after chemotherapy. When I complained to my mother about how hard and awful the test was, she leaned over, patted me on the arm and said, “We know just how you feel, honey. And remember, when your father was your age, he was fighting the Germans.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 5 – The Elevator in the Ranch House

Anybody out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let them do it. It’ll be OK. Don’t worry about resale value on the house.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 6 – Getting to Zero G

IT’S IMPORTANT to have specific dreams.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 6 – Getting to Zero G

As an aside, there’s a lesson here: Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 6 – Getting to Zero G

It just proves that if you can find an opening, you can probably find a way to float through it.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 7 – I Never Made It to the NFL

You’ve got to get the fundamentals down, because otherwise the fancy stuff is not going to work

January 11, 2017
Chapter 7 – I Never Made It to the NFL

Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 9 – A Skill Set Called Leadership

Shatner, was the ultimate example of a man who knew what he didn’t know, was perfectly willing to admit it, and didn’t want to leave until he understood

January 11, 2017
Chapter 9 – A Skill Set Called Leadership

I don’t believe in the nowin scenario.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 11 – The Happiest Place on Earth

The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something

January 11, 2017
Chapter 16 – Romancing the Brick Wall

Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

but you are not more interesting than lunch. Delegate

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

Time must be explicitly managed, like money.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

You can always change your plan, but only if you have one

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

Develop a good filing system

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

Rethink the telephone

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

In fact, it’s better to stand when you’re on the phone

January 11, 2017
Chapter 23 – I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me . . .

Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 24 – A Recovering Jerk

I always saw the value in that, sure. But in my mind, a better number one goal was this: I wanted to help students learn how to judge themselves.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 28 – Dream Big

When you use money to fight poverty, it can be of great value, but too often, you’re working at the margins. When you’re putting people on the moon, you’re inspiring all of us to achieve the maximum of human potential, which is how our greatest problems will eventually be solved.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 32 – Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder

TOO MANY people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 32 – Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder

My favorite non-complainer of all time may be Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball. He endured racism that many young people today couldn’t even fathom. He knew he had to play better than the white guys, and he knew he had to work harder. So that’s what he did. He vowed not to complain, even if fans spit on him.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 34 – Don’t Obsess Over What People Think

I’VE FOUND that a substantial fraction of many people’s days is spent worrying about what others think of them. If nobody ever worried about what was in other people’s heads, we’d all be 33 percent more effective in our lives and on our jobs.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 35 – Start By Sitting Together

Phrase alternatives as questions: Instead of “I think we should do A, not B,” try “What if we did A, instead of B?” That allows people to offer comments rather than defend one choice.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 37 – Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

My colleague told me: “It took a long time, but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

January 11, 2017
Chapter 38 – If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. That comes from Seneca, the Roman philosopher who was born in 5 B.C. It’ll be worth repeating for another two thousand years, at least.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 38 – If at First You Don’t Succeed…

I love a lot of pop culture clichés, too. I don’t mind when my children watch Superman, not because he’s strong and can fly, but because he fights for “truth, justice and the American way.” I love that line.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 38 – If at First You Don’t Succeed…

I love the movie Rocky. I even love the theme music. And what I liked most about the original Rocky movie was that Rocky didn’t care if he won the fight that ends the film. He just didn’t want to get knocked out. That was his goal. During the most painful times of my treatment, Rocky was an inspiration because he reminded me: It’s not how hard you hit. It’s how hard you get hit …and keep moving forward.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 39 – Be the First Penguin

The other students came to understand: “First Penguin” winners were losers who were definitely going somewhere. The title of the award came from the notion that when penguins are about to jump into water that might contain predators, well, somebody’s got to be the first penguin. I originally called it “The Best Failure Award,” but failure has so many negative connotations that students couldn’t get past the word itself.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 39 – Be the First Penguin

EXPERIENCE IS what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 39 – Be the First Penguin

Start-up companies often prefer to hire a chief executive with a failed start-up in his or her background. The person who failed often knows how to avoid future failures. The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 39 – Be the First Penguin

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 41 – The Lost Art of Thank-You Notes

think that thank-you notes are best done the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 41 – The Lost Art of Thank-You Notes

I’ve told her this story, and now she tells it to others. Despite all that is now going on in my life and with my medical care, I still try to handwrite notes when it’s important to do so. It’s just the nice thing to do. And you never know what magic might happen after it arrives in someone’s mailbox.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 43 – The Friday Night Solution

lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 43 – The Friday Night Solution

As I see it, if you work more hours than somebody else, during those hours you learn more about your craft. That can make you more efficient, more able, even happier. Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 46 – All You Have Is What You Bring With You

I’ve often told my students: “When you go into the wilderness, the only thing you can count on is what you take with you.” And essentially, the wilderness is anywhere but your home or office. So take money. Bring your repair kit. Imagine the wolves. Pack a lightbulb. Be prepared.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 47 – A Bad Apology Is Worse Than No Apology

I’d start by describing the two classic bad apologies: 1) “I’m sorry you feel hurt by what I’ve done.” (This is an attempt at an emotional salve, but it’s obvious you don’t want to put any medicine in the wound.) 2) “I apologize for what I did, but you also need to apologize to me for what you’ve done.” (That’s not giving an apology. That’s asking for one.) Proper apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I feel badly that I hurt you.

January 11, 2017
Chapter 47 – A Bad Apology Is Worse Than No Apology

3) How do I make this better?

January 12, 2017
Chapter 48 – Tell the Truth

IF I could only give three words of advice, they would be “tell the truth.” If I got three more words, I’d add: “All the time.” My parents taught me that “you’re only as good as your word,” and there’s no better way to say it.

January 12, 2017
Chapter 51 – No Job Is Beneath You

My advice has always been: “You ought to be thrilled you got a job in the mailroom. And when you get there, here’s what you do: Be really great at sorting mail.”

January 12, 2017
Chapter 51 – No Job Is Beneath You

No job should be beneath us. And if you can’t (or won’t) sort mail, where is the proof that you can do anything?

January 12, 2017
Chapter 54 – Be a Communitarian

Rights have to come from somewhere, and they come from the community. In return, all of us have a responsibility to the community. Some people call this the “communitarian” movement, but I call it common sense.

January 12, 2017
Chapter 55 – All You Have to Do Is Ask

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true.

January 12, 2017
Chapter 55 – All You Have to Do Is Ask

Ask those questions. Just ask them. More often than you’d suspect, the answer you’ll get is, “Sure

January 12, 2017
Chapter 61 – The Dreams Will Come to You

paused. The room was quiet. “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

All Excerpts From


Pausch, Randy. “The Last Lecture.” Hyperion. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.



“Mind is the Master power that molds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:–
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.”

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so
every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and
could not have appeared without them

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits;
thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been
restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening
or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this–that man is
the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and
shaper of condition, environment, and destiny.
As a being of Power, Intelligence, and Love, and the lord of his own
thoughts, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within
himself that transforming and regenerative agency by which he may
make himself what he wills.

Only by much searching and mining, are gold and diamonds obtained,
and man can find every truth connected with his being, if he will
dig deep into the mine of his soul; and that he is the maker of his
character, the molder of his life, and the builder of his destiny,
he may unerringly prove, if he will watch, control, and alter his
thoughts, tracing their effects upon himself, upon others, and upon
his life and circumstances, linking cause and effect by patient
practice and investigation, and utilizing his every experience, even
to the most trivial, everyday occurrence, as a means of obtaining
that knowledge of himself which is Understanding, Wisdom, Power. In
this direction, as in no other, is the law absolute that “He that
seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened;” for
only by patience, practice, and ceaseless importunity can a man
enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.

Man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently
cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or
neglected, it must, and will, -bring forth.- If no useful seeds are
-put -into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will -fall
-therein, and will continue to produce their kind.
Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds,
and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man
tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and
impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and
fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts. By pursuing this
process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the
master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also
reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands, with
ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought-forces and mind elements
operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny.

The soul attracts that which it secretly harbors; that which it
loves, and also that which it fears; it reaches the height of its
cherished aspirations; it falls to the level of its unchastised
desires,–and circumstances are the means by which the soul receives
its own.
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to
take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into
act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.
Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.

object upon which his heart is set. This is as true of earthly as of
heavenly things. Even the man whose sole object is to acquire wealth
must be prepared to make great personal sacrifices before he can
accomplish his object; and how much more so he who would realize a
strong and well-poised life?

Men imagine that thought can be kept secret, but it
cannot; it rapidly crystallizes into habit, and habit solidifies
into circumstance

A man cannot -directly- choose his circumstances, but
he can choose his thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape his

Nature helps every man to the gratification of the thoughts, which
he most encourages, and opportunities are presented which will most
speedily bring to the surface both the good and evil thoughts

“So You will be what you will to be;
Let failure find its false content
In that poor word, ‘environment,’
But spirit scorns it, and is free.
“It masters time, it conquers space;
It cows that boastful trickster, Chance,
And bids the tyrant Circumstance
Uncrown, and fill a servant’s place.
“The human Will, that force unseen,
The offspring of a deathless Soul,
Can hew a way to any goal,

Though walls of granite intervene.
“Be not impatient in delays
But wait as one who understands;
When spirit rises and commands
The gods are ready to obey.


Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a
bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as
surely though less rapidly.


Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent
accomplishment. With the majority the bark of thought is allowed to
“drift” upon the ocean of life. Aimlessness is a vice, and such
drifting must not continue for him who would steer clear of
catastrophe and destruction.
They who have no central purpose in their life fall an easy prey to
petty worries, fears, troubles, and self-pitying’s, all of which are
indications of weakness, which lead, just as surely as deliberately
planned sins (though by a different route), to failure, unhappiness,
and loss, for weakness cannot persist in a power evolving universe.
A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart, and set
out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing
point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or
it may be a worldly object, according to his nature at the time
being; but whichever it is, he should steadily focus his
thought-forces upon the object, which he has set before him. He
should make this purpose his supreme duty, and should devote himself
to its attainment, not allowing his thoughts to wander away into
ephemeral fancies, longings, and imaginings. This is the royal road
to self-control and true concentration of thought. Even if he fails
again and again to accomplish his purpose (as he necessarily must
until weakness is overcome), the -strength of character gained- will
be the measure of -his true- success, and this will form a new
starting-point for future power and triumph.

Having conceived of his purpose, a man should mentally mark out a
-straight- pathway to its achievement, looking neither to the right
nor the left. Doubts and fears should be rigorously excluded; they
are disintegrating elements, which break up the straight line of
effort, rendering it crooked, ineffectual, useless. Thoughts of
doubt and fear never accomplished anything, and never can. They
always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong
thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in.
The will to do springs from the knowledge that we -can- do. Doubt
and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages
them, who does not slay them. thwarts himself at every step.
He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failure. His
every, thought is allied with power, and all difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome. His purposes are seasonably
planted, and they bloom and bring forth fruit, which does not fall
prematurely to the ground.
Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who
-knows- this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a
mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who
-does -this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his
mental powers.


He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish
thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free.

Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of
thought. By the aid of self-control, resolution, purity,
righteousness, and well-directed thought a man ascends; by the aid
of animosity, indolence, impurity, corruption, and confusion of
thought a man descends.

Victories attained by right thought can only be maintained by
watchfulness. Many give way when success is assured, and rapidly
fall back into failure.

He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would
achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must
sacrifice greatly.


he dreamers are the saviors of the world. As the visible world is
sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and
sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of
their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it
cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows
them as they -realities- which it shall one day see and know.

He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart,
will one day realize it. Columbus cherished a vision of another
world, and he discovered it; Copernicus fostered the vision of a
multiplicity of worlds and a wider universe, and he revealed it;
Buddha beheld the vision of a spiritual world of stainless beauty
and perfect peace, and he entered into it.
Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that
stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the
loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will
grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these,
if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve. Shall man’s basest
desires receive the fullest measure of gratification, and his purest
aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the Law: such
a condition of things can never obtain: “ask and receive.”

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your
Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is
the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

In all human affairs there are -efforts,- and there are -results,-
and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance
is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual
possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed,
objects accomplished, visions realized.
The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you
enthrone in your heart–this you will build your life by, this you
will become.


Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the
result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is
an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary
knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to
adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual
strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The
more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his
influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find
his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater
self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal
with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable.
The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a
shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a
storm. “Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered,
balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or
what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are
always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character,
which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage
of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold–yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money
seeking looks in comparison with a serene life–a life that dwells
in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of
tempests, in the Eternal Calm!

Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever
conditions ye may live, know this in the ocean of life the isles of
Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits
your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the
bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep:
wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery;
Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”



















LET YOUR LIFE SPEAK: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

CHAPTER 1 | Listening to Life

“Then I ran across the old Quaker saying, “Let your life speak.” I found those words encouraging, and I thought I understood what they meant: “Let the highest truths and values guide you. Live up to those demanding standards in everything you do.” Because I had heroes at the time who seemed to be doing exactly that, this exhortation had incarnate meaning for me—it meant living a life like that of Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks or Mahatma Gandhi or Dorothy Day, a life of high purpose.”

“Today, some thirty years later, “Let your life speak” means something else to me, a meaning faithful both to the ambiguity of those words and to the complexity of my own experience: “Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.”

“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.”

“That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live—but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.”

“We listen for guidance everywhere except from within.”

“We are like plants, full of tropisms that draw us toward certain experiences and repel us from others. If we can learn to read our own responses to our own experience—a text we are writing unconsciously every day we spend on earth—we will receive the guidance we need to live more authentic lives.”

“The soul speaks its truth only under quiet, inviting, and trustworthy conditions.”

“The soul is like a wild animal—tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”

CHAPTER 2 | Now I Become Myself


“Today I understand vocation quite differently—not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”

“From the beginning, our lives lay down clues to selfhood and vocation, though the clues may be hard to decode. But trying to interpret them is profoundly worthwhile—especially when we are in our twenties or thirties or forties, feeling profoundly lost, having wandered, or been dragged, far away from our birthright gifts.”

“The deepest vocational question is not “What ought I to do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding “Who am I? What is my nature?”

“Everything in the universe has a nature, which means limits as well as potentials, a truth well known by people who work daily with the things of the world. Making pottery, for example, involves more than telling the clay what to become. The clay presses back on the potter’s hands, telling her what it can and cannot do—and if she fails to listen, the outcome will be both frail and ungainly. Engineering involves more than telling materials what they must do. If the engineer does not honor the nature of the steel or the wood or the stone, his failure will go well beyond aesthetics: the bridge or the building will collapse and put human life in peril.”

“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.”



“A scholar is committed to building on knowledge that others have gathered, correcting it, confirming it, enlarging it.”


“There are at least two ways to understand the link between selfhood and service. One is offered by the poet Rumi in his piercing observation: “If you are here unfaithfully with us, you’re causing terrible damage.”7 If we are unfaithful to true self, we will extract a price from others. We will make promises we cannot keep, build houses from flimsy stuff, conjure dreams that devolve into nightmares, and other people will suffer—if we are unfaithful to true self.”

“I call this the “Rosa Parks decision” because that remarkable woman is so emblematic of what the undivided life can mean. Most of us know her story, the story of an African American woman who, at the time she made her decision, was a seamstress in her early forties. On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks did something she was not supposed to do: she sat down at the front of a bus in one of the seats reserved for whites—a dangerous, daring, and provocative act in a racist society.
Legend has it that years later a graduate student came to Rosa Parks and asked, “Why did you sit down at the front of the bus that day?” Rosa Parks did not say that she sat down to launch a movement, because her motives were more elemental than that. She said, “I sat down because I was tired.” But she did not mean that her feet were tired. She meant that her soul was tired, her heart was tired, her whole being was tired of playing by racist rules, of denying her soul’s claim to selfhood.8”

“In the Rosa Parks story, that insight emerges in a wonderful way. After she had sat at the front of the bus for a while, the police came aboard and said, “You know, if you continue to sit there, we’re going to have to throw you in jail.”
Rosa Parks replied, “You may do that …,” which is a very polite way of saying, “What could your jail of stone and steel possibly mean to me, compared to the self-imposed imprisonment I’ve suffered for forty years—the prison I’ve just walked out of by refusing to conspire any longer with this racist system?”

“In the Rosa Parks story, that insight emerges in a wonderful way. After she had sat at the front of the bus for a while, the police came aboard and said, “You know, if you continue to sit there, we’re going to have to throw you in jail.”
Rosa Parks replied, “You may do that …,” which is a very polite way of saying, “What could your jail of stone and steel possibly mean to me, compared to the self-imposed imprisonment I’ve suffered for forty years—the prison I’ve just walked out of by refusing to conspire any longer with this racist system?”
CHAPTER 3 | When Way Closes

“Have faith,” they said, “and way will open.”

“The message was that both the universe and I were without limits, given enough energy and commitment on my part. God made things that way, and all I had to do was to get with the program.”

“Our problem as Americans—at least, among my race and gender—is that we resist the very idea of limits, regarding limits of all sorts as temporary and regrettable impositions on our lives. Our national myth is about the endless defiance of limits: opening the western frontier, breaking the speed of sound, dropping people on the moon, discovering “cyberspace” at the very moment when we have filled old-fashioned space with so much junk that we can barely move. We refuse to take no for an answer.”

“Despite the American myth, I cannot be or do whatever I desire—a truism, to be sure, but a truism we often defy. Our created natures make us like organisms in an ecosystem: there are some roles and relationships in which we thrive and others in which we wither and die.”

“Once again the questioner called me back to the original question. But this time I felt compelled to give the only honest answer I possessed, an answer that came from the very bottom of my barrel, an answer that appalled even me as I spoke it.
“Well,” said I, in the smallest voice I possess, “I guess what I’d like most is getting my picture in the paper with the word president under it.”

“But what happens to the theory of limits when what I want to do is not to get my picture in the paper but to meet some human need? What happens to that theory when my vocational motive is virtuous, not egotistical: to be a teacher from whom students can learn or a counselor who helps people find themselves or an activist who sets injustice right? Unfortunately, the theory of limits can work as powerfully in these cases as it does with my presidential prospects. There are some things I “ought” to do or be that are simply beyond my reach.”

“Dorothy Day was saying, “Do not give to the poor expecting to get their gratitude so that you can feel good about yourself. If you do, your giving will be thin and short-lived, and that is not what the poor need; it will only impoverish them further. Give only if you have something you must give; give only if you are someone for whom giving is its own reward.”

“May Sarton, in her poem “Now I Become Myself,” uses images from the natural world to describe a different kind of giving, grounded in a different way of being, a way that results not in burnout but in fecundity and abundance:
   As slowly as the ripening fruit
   Fertile, detached, and always spent,
   Falls but does not exhaust the root …2
When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself—and me—even as I give it away. Only when I give something that does not grow within me do I deplete myself and harm the other as well, for only harm can come from a gift that is forced, inorganic, unreal.”

“The God I know does not ask us to conform to some abstract norm for the ideal self. God asks us only to honor our created nature, which means our limits as well as potentials. When we fail to do so, reality happens—God happens—and way closes behind us.”

“The God whom I know dwells quietly in the root system of the very nature of things. This is the God who, when asked by Moses for a name, responded, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14), an answer that has less to do with the moral rules for which Moses made God famous than with elemental “isness” and selfhood. If, as I believe, we are all made in God’s image, we could all give the same answer when asked who we are: “I Am who I Am.” One dwells with God by being faithful to one’s nature. One crosses God by trying to be something one is not. Reality—including one’s own—is divine, to be not defied but honored.”

“Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are a part of our God-given nature, with us from the moment we drew first breath, and we are no more conscious of having them than we are of breathing.”

“When way closes behind us, it is tempting to regard it simply as the result of some strategic error: had I been smarter or stronger, that door would not have slammed shut, so if I redouble my efforts, I may be able to batter it down. But that is a dangerous temptation. When I resist way closing rather than taking guidance from it, I may be ignoring the limitations inherent in my nature—which dishonors true self no less than ignoring the potentials I received as birthright gifts.”

“We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us. We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer—and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives.”
CHAPTER 4 | All the Way Down

“I started to understand that I had been living an ungrounded life, living at an altitude that was inherently unsafe. The problem with living at high altitude is simple: when we slip, as we always do, we have a long, long way to fall, and the landing may well kill us. The grace of being pressed down to the ground is also simple: when we slip and fall, it is usually not fatal, and we can get back up.”

“For a long time, the “oughts” had been the driving force in my life—and when I failed to live “up” to those oughts, I saw myself as a weak and faithless person. I never stopped to ask, “How does such-and-such fit my God-given nature?” or “Is such-and-such truly my gift and call?” As a result, important parts of the life I was living were not mine to live and thus were doomed to fail.”

CHAPTER 5 | Leading from Within

“The power for authentic leadership, Havel tells us, is found not in external arrangements but in the human heart. Authentic leaders in every setting—from families to nation-states—aim at liberating the heart, their own and others’, so that its powers can liberate the world.”

“A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there. A leader shapes the ethos in which others must live, an ethos as light-filled as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A good leader is intensely aware of the interplay of inner shadow and light, lest the act of leadership do more harm than good.”

“The insight we receive on the inner journey is that chaos is the precondition to creativity: as every creation myth has it, life itself emerged from the void. Even what has been created needs to be returned to chaos from time to time so that it can be regenerated in more vital form. When a leader fears chaos so deeply as to try to eliminate it, the shadow of death will fall across everything that leader approaches—for the ultimate answer to all of life’s messiness is death.”

“A good scientist does not fear the death of a hypothesis, because that “failure” clarifies the steps that need to be taken toward truth, sometimes more than a hypothesis that succeeds. The best leaders in every setting reward people for taking worthwhile risks even if they are likely to fail. These leaders know that the death of an initiative—if it was tested for good reasons—is always a source of new learning.”

“The gift we receive on the inner journey is the knowledge that death finally comes to everything—and yet death does not have the final word.”
“allowing something to die when its time is due, we create the conditions under which new life can emerge.”

“The gift we receive on the inner journey is the knowledge that death finally comes to everything—and yet death does not have the final word.”
CHAPTER 6 | There Is a Season

“Our lives participate in the myth of eternal return: we circle around and spiral down, never finally answering the questions “Who am I?” and “Whose am I?” but, in the words of Rilke, “living the questions” throughout our lives.1”

“Seasons is a wise metaphor for the movement of life, I think. It suggests that life is neither a battlefield nor a game of chance but something infinitely richer, more promising, more real. The notion that our lives are like the eternal cycle of the seasons does not deny the struggle or the joy, the loss or the gain, the darkness or the light, but encourages us to embrace it all—and to find in all of it opportunities for growth.”

“Autumn is a season of great beauty, but it is also a season of decline: the days grow shorter, the light is suffused, and summer’s abundance decays toward winter’s death. Faced with this inevitable winter, what does nature do in autumn? It scatters the seeds that will bring new growth in the spring—and scatters them with amazing abandon.”

“Does death possess a beauty that we—who fear death, who find it ugly and obscene—cannot see? How shall we understand autumn’s testimony that death and elegance go hand in hand?
For me, the words that come closest to answering those questions are the words of Thomas Merton: “There is in all visible things … a hidden wholeness.”2 In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of “hidden wholeness.”

“In a paradox, opposites do not negate each—they cohere in mysterious unity at the heart of reality. Deeper still, they need each other for health, as my body needs to breathe in as well as breathe out.”
“Autumn constantly reminds me that my daily dying’s are necessary precursors to new life. If I try to “make” a life that defies the diminishments of autumn, the life I end up with will be artificial, at best, and utterly colorless as well. But when I yield to the endless interplay of living and dying, dying and living, the life I am given will be real and colorful, fruitful and whole.”

“It is a season when death’s victory can seem supreme: few creatures stir, plants do not visibly grow, and nature feels like our enemy. And yet the rigors of winter, like the diminishments of autumn, are accompanied by amazing gifts.”

“Our inward winters take many forms—failure, betrayal, depression, death. But every one of them, in my experience, yields to the same advice: “The winters will drive you crazy until you learn to get out into them.” Until we enter boldly into the fears we most want to avoid, those fears will dominate our lives. But when we walk directly into them—protected from frostbite by the warm garb of friendship or inner discipline or spiritual guidance—we can learn what they have to teach us. Then we discover once again that the cycle of the seasons is trustworthy and life-giving, even in the most dismaying season of all.”

“I love the fact that the word humus—the decayed vegetable matter that feeds the roots of plants—comes from the same root that gives rise to the word humility. It is a blessed etymology. It helps me understand that the humiliating events of life, the events that leave “mud on my face” or that “make my name mud,” may create the fertile soil in which something new can grow.”

“The gift of life, which seemed to be withdrawn in winter, has been given once again, and nature, rather than hoarding it, gives it all away. There is another paradox here, known in all the wisdom traditions: if you receive a gift, you keep it alive not by clinging to it but by passing it along.”
“From autumn’s profligate seeding to the great spring giveaway, nature teaches a steady lesson: if we want to save our lives, we cannot cling to them but must spend them with abandon.”

“Where I live, summer’s keynote is abundance. The forests fill with undergrowth, the trees with fruit, the meadows with wild flowers and grasses, the fields with wheat and corn, the gardens with zucchini, and the yards with weeds. In contrast to the sensationalism of spring, summer is a steady state of plenty, a green and amber muchness that feeds us on more levels than we know.”

“But nature normally takes us through a reliable cycle of scarcity and abundance in which times of deprivation foreshadow an eventual return to the bountiful fields.”

“This fact of nature is in sharp contrast to human nature, which seems to regard perpetual scarcity as the law of life. Daily I am astonished at how readily I believe that something I need is in short supply. If I hoard possessions, it is because I believe that there are not enough to go around.”

“Here is a summertime truth: abundance is a communal act, the joint creation of an incredibly complex ecology in which each part functions on behalf of the whole and, in return, is sustained by the whole. Community doesn’t just create abundance—community is abundance. If we could learn that equation from the world of nature, the human world might be transformed.”

“In summer, it is hard to remember that we had ever doubted the natural process, had ever ceded death the last word, had ever lost faith in the powers of new life. Summer is a reminder that our faith is not nearly as strong as the things we profess to have faith in— a reminder that for this single season, at least, we might cease our anxious machinations and give ourselves to the abiding and abundant grace of our common life.”

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your Life Depended on it

CHAPTER 1 | THE NEW RULES: How to Become the Smartest Person . . . in Any Room

“I was employing what had become one of the FBI’s most potent negotiating tools: the open-ended question.”

“Today, after some years evolving these tactics for the private sector in my consultancy, The Black Swan Group, we call this tactic calibrated questions: queries that the other side can respond to but that have no fixed answers. It buys you time. It gives your counterpart the illusion of control—they are the one with the answers and power after all—and it does all that without giving them any idea of how constrained they are by it.”

“I knew what she meant: While I wasn’t actually saying “No,” the questions I kept asking sounded like it. They seemed to insinuate that the other side was being dishonest and unfair. And that was enough to make them falter and negotiate with themselves. Answering my calibrated questions demanded deep emotional strengths and tactical psychological insights that the toolbox they’d been given did not contain.”


“I’m just asking questions,” I said. “It’s a passive-aggressive approach. I just ask the same three or four open-ended questions over and over and over and over. They get worn out answering and give me everything I want.”
“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.”

“Yes, perhaps we are the only animal that haggles—a monkey does not exchange a portion of his banana for another’s nuts—but no matter how we dress up our negotiations in mathematical theories, we are always an animal, always acting and reacting first and foremost from our deeply held but mostly invisible and inchoate fears, needs, perceptions, and desires.”

“Their core assumption was that the emotional brain—that animalistic, unreliable, and irrational beast—could be overcome through a more rational, joint problem-solving mindset.”
“Their system was easy to follow and seductive, with four basic tenets. One, separate the person—the emotion—from the problem; two, don’t get wrapped up in the other side’s position (what they’re asking for) but instead focus on their interests (why they’re asking for it) so that you can find what they really want; three, work cooperatively to generate win-win options; and, four, establish mutually agreed-upon standards for evaluating those possible solutions.”


“This mentality baffled Kahneman, who from years in psychology knew that, in his words, “[I]t is self-evident that people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything but stable.”
“Through decades of research with Tversky, Kahneman proved that humans all suffer from Cognitive Bias, that is, unconscious—and irrational—brain processes that literally distort the way we see the world. Kahneman and Tversky discovered more than 150 of them.”


“There’s the Framing Effect, which demonstrates that people respond differently to the same choice depending on how it is framed.”


“Prospect Theory explains why we take unwarranted risks in the face of uncertain losses. And the most famous is Loss Aversion, which shows how people are statistically more likely to act to avert a loss than to achieve an equal gain.”


“Kahneman later codified his research in the 2011 bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow.3 Man, he wrote, has two systems of thought: System 1, our animal mind, is fast, instinctive, and emotional; System 2 is slow, deliberative, and logical. And System 1 is far more influential. In fact, it guides and steers our rational thoughts.”


“System 1’s inchoate beliefs, feelings, and impressions are the main sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. They’re the spring that feeds the river. We react emotionally (System 1) to a suggestion or question. Then that System 1 reaction informs and in effect creates the System 2 answer. Now think about that: under this model, if you know how to affect your counterpart’s System 1 thinking, his inarticulate feelings, by how you frame and deliver your questions and statements, then you can guide his System 2 rationality and therefore modify his responses. That’s what happened to Andy at Harvard: by asking, “How am I supposed to do that?” I influenced his System 1 emotional mind into accepting that his offer wasn’t good enough; his System 2 then rationalized the situation so that it made sense to give me a better offer.”


“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.”
“The whole concept, which you’ll learn as the centerpiece of this book, is called Tactical Empathy. This is listening as a martial art, balancing the subtle behaviors of emotional intelligence and the assertive skills of influence, to gain access to the mind of another person. Contrary to popular opinion, listening is not a passive activity. It is the most active thing you can do.”


“The majority of the interactions we have at work and at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: I want.”


“But allow me to let you in on a secret: Life is negotiation.”
“Negotiation serves two distinct, vital life functions—information gathering and behavior influencing—and includes almost any interaction where each party wants something from the other side.”


“The first step to achieving a mastery of daily negotiation is to get over your aversion to negotiating. You don’t need to like it; you just need to understand that’s how the world works. Negotiating does not mean browbeating or grinding someone down. It simply means playing the emotional game that human society is set up for. In this world, you get what you ask for; you just have to ask correctly. So claim your prerogative to ask for what you think is right.”


“Effective negotiation is applied people smarts, a psychological edge in every domain of life: how to size someone up, how to influence their sizing up of you, and how to use that knowledge to get what you want.”


“Chapter 5 teaches the flip side of Getting to Yes. You’ll learn why it’s vitally important to get to “No” because “No” starts the negotiation. You’ll also discover how to step out of your ego and negotiate in your counterpart’s world, the only way to achieve an agreement the other side will implement. Finally, you’ll see how to engage your counterpart by acknowledging their right to choose, and you’ll learn an email technique that ensures that you’ll never be ignored again.”


“After this, Chapter 7 is dedicated to that incredibly powerful tool I used at Harvard: Calibrated Questions, the queries that begin with “How?” or “What?” By eliminating “Yes” and “No” answers they force your counterpart to apply their mental energy to solving your problems.”


“Finally, Chapter 10 explains how to find and use those most rare of negotiation animals: the Black Swan. In every negotiation there are between three and five pieces of information that, were they to be uncovered, would change everything. The concept is an absolute game-changer; so much so, I’ve named my company The Black Swan Group. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to recognize the markers that show the Black Swan’s hidden nest, as well as simple tools for employing Black Swans to gain leverage over your counterpart and achieve truly amazing deals.”

CHAPTER 2 | BE A MIRROR: How to Quickly Establish Rapport


“Good negotiators, going in, know they have to be ready for possible surprises; great negotiators aim to use their skills to reveal the surprises they are certain exist.”


“Your goal at the outset is to extract and observe as much information as possible.”


“Most people approach a negotiation so preoccupied by the arguments that support their position that they are unable to listen attentively. In one of the most cited research papers in psychology,1 George A. Miller persuasively put forth the idea that we can process only about seven pieces of information in our conscious mind at any given moment. In other words, we are easily overwhelmed.”


“When they’re not talking, they’re thinking about their arguments, and when they are talking, they’re making their arguments.”


“Often those on both sides of the table are doing the same thing, so you have what I call a state of schizophrenia: everyone just listening to the voice in their head (and not well, because they’re doing seven or eight other things at the same time). It may look like there are only two people in a conversation, but really it’s more like four people all talking at once.”


“There’s one powerful way to quiet the voice in your head and the voice in their head at the same time: treat two schizophrenics with just one pill. Instead of prioritizing your argument—in fact, instead of doing any thinking at all in the early goings about what you’re going to say—make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say. In that mode of true active listening—aided by the tactics you’ll learn in the following chapters—you’ll disarm your counterpart. You’ll make them feel safe. The voice in their head will begin to quiet down.”


“The goal is to identify what your counterparts actually need (monetarily, emotionally, or otherwise) and get them feeling safe enough to talk and talk and talk some more about what they want. The latter will help you discover the former. Wants are easy to talk about, representing the aspiration of getting our way, and sustaining any illusion of control we have as we begin to negotiate; needs imply survival, the very minimum required to make us act, and so make us vulnerable. But neither wants nor needs are where we start; it begins with listening, making it about the other people, validating their emotions, and creating enough trust and safety for a real conversation to begin.”


“Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to making. If we’re too much in a hurry, people can feel as if they’re not being heard and we risk undermining the rapport and trust we’ve built. There’s plenty of research that now validates the passage of time as one of the most important tools for a negotiator. When you slow the process down, you also calm it down. After all, if someone is talking, they’re not shooting.”


“I switched into my Late-Night, FM DJ Voice: deep, soft, slow, and reassuring.”


“That’s why your most powerful tool in any verbal communication is your voice. You can use your voice to intentionally reach into someone’s brain and flip an emotional switch. Distrusting to trusting. Nervous to calm. In an instant, the switch will flip just like that with the right delivery.”


“Most of the time, you should be using the positive/playful voice. It’s the voice of an easygoing, good-natured person. Your attitude is light and encouraging. The key here is to relax and smile while you’re talking. A smile, even while talking on the phone, has an impact tonally that the other person will pick up on.”


“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.”


“Playful wasn’t the move with Chris Watts. The way the late-night FM DJ voice works is that, when you inflect your voice in a downward way, you put it out there that you’ve got it covered. Talking slowly and clearly you convey one idea: I’m in control. When you inflect in an upward way, you invite a response. Why? Because you’ve brought in a measure of uncertainty. You’ve made a statement sound like a question. You’ve left the door open for the other guy to take the lead, so I was careful here to be quiet, self-assured.”


“It’s the same voice I might use in a contract negotiation, when an item isn’t up for discussion. If I see a work-for-hire clause, for example, I might say, “We don’t do work-for-hire.” Just like that, plain, simple, and friendly. I don’t offer up an alternative, because it would beg further discussion, so I just make a straightforward declaration.”


“You can be very direct and to the point as long as you create safety by a tone of voice that says I’m okay, you’re okay, let’s figure things out.”


“Chris Watts came back on the phone trying to act like nothing had happened. He was a little rattled, that’s for sure, but now he was talking.
“We’ve identified every car on the street and talked to all the owners except one,” I said to Watts. “We’ve got a van out here, a blue and gray van. We’ve been able to get a handle on the owners of all of the vehicles except this one in particular. Do you know anything about it?”
“The other vehicle’s not out there because you guys chased my driver away . . .” he blurted.
“We chased your driver away?” I mirrored.
“Well, when he seen the police he cut.”
“We don’t know anything about this guy; is he the one who was driving the van?” I asked.
The mirroring continued between me and Watts, and he made a series of damaging admissions. He started vomiting information, as we now refer to it in my consulting business. He talked about an accomplice we had no knowledge of at the time. That exchange helped us nail the driver of the getaway car.”


“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.”


“Once you’re attuned to the dynamic, you’ll see it everywhere: couples walking on the street with their steps in perfect synchrony; friends in conversation at a park, both nodding their heads and crossing the legs at about the same time. These people are, in a word, connected.”


“While mirroring is most often associated with forms of nonverbal communication, especially body language, as negotiators a “mirror” focuses on the words and nothing else. Not the body language. Not the accent. Not the tone or delivery. Just the words.”


“It’s almost laughably simple: for the FBI, a “mirror” is when you repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. Of the entirety of the FBI’s hostage negotiation skill set, mirroring is the closest one gets to a Jedi mind trick. Simple, and yet uncannily effective.”


“By repeating back what people say, you trigger this mirroring instinct and your counterpart will inevitably elaborate on what was just said and sustain the process of connecting. Psychologist Richard Wiseman created a study using waiters to identify what was the more effective method of creating a connection with strangers: mirroring or positive reinforcement.”


“One group of waiters, using positive reinforcement, lavished praise and encouragement on patrons using words such as “great,” “no problem,” and “sure” in response to each order. The other group of waiters mirrored their customers simply by repeating their orders back to them. The results were stunning: the average tip of the waiters who mirrored was 70 percent more than of those who used positive reinforcement.”


“I only half-jokingly refer to mirroring as magic or a Jedi mind trick because it gives you the ability to disagree without being disagreeable.”


“If you take a pit bull approach with another pit bull, you generally end up with a messy scene and lots of bruised feelings and resentment. Luckily, there’s another way without all the mess.
It’s just four simple steps:
1.Use the late-night FM DJ voice.
2.Start with “I’m sorry . . .”


“4.Silence. At least four seconds, to let the mirror work its magic on your counterpart.


“The language of negotiation is primarily a language of conversation and rapport: a way of quickly establishing relationships and getting people to talk and think together. Which is why when you think of the greatest negotiators of all time, I’ve got a surprise for you—think Oprah Winfrey.”


“Her daily television show was a case study of a master practitioner at work: on a stage face-to-face with someone she has never met, in front of a crowded studio of hundreds, with millions more watching from home, and a task to persuade that person in front of her, sometimes against his or her own best interests, to talk and talk and keep talking, ultimately sharing with the world deep, dark secrets that they had held hostage in their own minds for a lifetime.”


“Here are some of the key lessons from this chapter to remember:
■A good negotiator prepares, going in, to be ready for possible surprises; a great negotiator aims to use her skills to reveal the surprises she is certain to find.”
“Don’t commit to assumptions; instead, view them as hypotheses and use the negotiation to test them rigorously.”


“People who view negotiation as a battle of arguments become overwhelmed by the voices in their head. Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.”


“To quiet the voices in your head, make your sole and all-encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say.
■Slow. It. Down. Going too fast is one of the mistakes all negotiators are prone to making. If we’re too much in a hurry, people can feel as if they’re not being heard. You risk undermining the rapport and trust you’ve built.
■Put a smile on your face. 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). Positivity creates mental agility in both you and your counterpart.”


“Mirrors work magic. Repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said. We fear what’s different and are drawn to what’s similar. Mirroring is the”


“The art of insinuating similarity, which facilitates bonding. Use mirrors to encourage the other side to empathize and bond with you, keep people talking, buy your side time to regroup, and encourage your counterparts to reveal their strategy.”

CHAPTER 3 | DON’T FEEL THEIR PAIN, LABEL IT : How to Create Trust with Tactical Empathy


“In tense situations like this, the traditional negotiating advice is to keep a poker face. Don’t get emotional. Until recently, most academics and researchers completely ignored the role of emotion in negotiation. Emotions were just an obstacle to a good outcome, they said. “Separate the people from the problem” was the common refrain.
But think about that: How can you separate people from the problem when their emotions are the problem? Especially when they are scared people with guns. Emotions are one of the main things that derail communication. Once people get upset at one another, rational thinking goes out the window.
That’s why, instead of denying or ignoring emotions, good negotiators identify and influence them. They are able to precisely label emotions, those of others and especially their own. And once they label the emotions they talk about them without getting wound up. For them, emotion is a tool.”


“Empathy is a classic “soft” communication skill, but it has a physical basis. When we closely observe a person’s face, gestures, and tone of voice, our brain begins to align with theirs in a process called neural resonance, and that lets us know more fully what they think and feel.”


“Just ask former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
A few years ago during a speech at Georgetown University, Clinton advocated, “showing respect, even for one’s enemies. Trying to understand and, insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.”
You can predict what happened next. A gaggle of pundits and politicians pounced on her. They called her statement inane and naïve, and even a sign she had embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. Some said that she had blown her chances at a presidential run.”


“Labeling is a simple, versatile skill that lets you reinforce a good aspect of the negotiation, or diffuse a negative one. But it has very specific rules about form and delivery. That makes it less like chatting than like a formal art such as Chinese calligraphy.
For most people, it’s one of the most awkward negotiating tools to use. Before they try it the first time, my students almost always tell me they expect their counterpart to jump up and shout, “Don’t you dare tell me how I feel!”
Let me let you in on a secret: people never even notice.
The first step to labeling is detecting the other person’s emotional state. Outside that door in Harlem we couldn’t even see the fugitives, but most of the time you’ll have a wealth of information from the other person’s words, tone, and body language. We call that trinity “words, music, and dance.”


“Once you’ve spotted an emotion you want to highlight, the next step is to label it aloud. Labels can be phrased as statements or questions. The only difference is whether you end the sentence with a downward or upward inflection. But no matter how they end, labels almost always begin with roughly the same words:
It seems like . . .
It sounds like . . .
It looks like . . .
Notice we said “It sounds like . . .” and not “I’m hearing that . . .”


“That’s because the word “I” gets people’s guard up. When you say “I,” it says you’re more interested in yourself than the other person, and it makes you take personal responsibility for the words that follow—and the offense they might cause.”


“The last rule of labeling is silence. Once you’ve thrown out a label, be quiet and listen. We all have a tendency to expand on what we’ve said, to finish, “It seems like you like the way that shirt looks,” with a specific question like “Where did you get it?” But a label’s power is that it invites the other person to reveal himself.”


“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 sensing some hesitation with these projects,” she said in what she hoped was a level voice.
As if she’d been uncorked, the woman exclaimed: “I want my gift to directly support programming for Girl Scouts and not anything else.”


“Sensing the potential donor’s growing frustration, and wanting to end on a positive note so that they might be able to meet again, my student used another label. “It seems that you are really passionate about this gift and want to find the right project reflecting the opportunities and life-changing experiences the Girl Scouts gave you.”


“The real obstacle was that this woman needed to feel that she was understood, that the person handling her money knew why she was in that office and understood the memories that were driving her actions.
That’s why labels are so powerful and so potentially transformative to the state of any conversation. By digging beneath what seems like a mountain of quibbles, details, and logistics, labels help to uncover and identify the primary emotion driving almost all of your counterpart’s behavior, the emotion that, once acknowledged, seems to miraculously solve everything else.”


“In court, defense lawyers do this properly by mentioning everything their client is accused of, and all the weaknesses of their case, in the opening statement. They call this technique “taking the sting out.”


“The first step of doing so is listing every terrible thing your counterpart could say about you, in what I call an accusation audit.”


“She’s right. As you just saw, the beauty of going right after negativity is that it brings us to a safe zone of empathy. Every one of us has an inherent, human need to be understood, to connect with the person across the table. That explains why, after Anna labeled Angela’s fears, Angela’s first instinct was to add nuance and detail to those fears. And that detail gave Anna the power to accomplish what she wanted from the negotiation.”


“In front of him at the gate, a very aggressive couple was yelling at the gate agent, who was barely looking at them as she tapped on the computer in front of her; she was clearly making every effort not to scream back. After she’d said, “There’s nothing I can do,” five times, the angry couple finally gave up and left.
To start, watch how Ryan turns that heated exchange to his advantage. Following on the heels of an argument is a great position for a negotiator, because your counterpart is desperate for an empathetic connection. Smile, and you’re already an improvement.
“Hi, Wendy, I’m Ryan. It seems like they were pretty upset.”
This labels the negative and establishes a rapport based on empathy. This in turn encourages Wendy to elaborate on her situation, words Ryan then mirrors to invite her to go further.
“Yeah. They missed their connection. We’ve had a fair amount of delays because of the weather.”
“The weather?”
After Wendy explains how the delays in the Northeast had rippled through the system, Ryan again labels the negative and then mirrors her answer to encourage her to delve further.”


“It seems like it’s been a hectic day.”
“There’ve been a lot of ‘irate consumers,’ you know? I mean, I get it, even though I don’t like to be yelled at. A lot of people are trying to get to Austin for the big game.”
“The big game?”
“UT is playing Ole Miss football and every flight into Austin has been booked solid.”
“Booked solid?”
Now let’s pause. Up to this point, Ryan has been using labels and mirrors to build a relationship with Wendy. To her it must seem like idle chatter, though, because he hasn’t asked for anything. Unlike the angry couple, Ryan is acknowledging her situation. His words ping-pong between “What’s that?” and “I hear you,” both of which invite her to elaborate.
Now that the empathy has been built, she lets slip a piece of information he can use.
“Yeah, all through the weekend. Though who knows how many people will make the flights. The weather’s probably going to reroute a lot of people through a lot of different places.”
Here’s where Ryan finally swoops in with an ask. But notice how he acts: not assertive or coldly logical, but with empathy and labeling[…]”


“As you internalize these techniques, turning the artifice of tactical empathy into a habit and then into an integral part of your personality, keep in mind these lessons from the chapter you’ve just read:
■Imagine yourself in your counterpart’s situation. The beauty of empathy is that it doesn’t demand that you agree with the other person’s ideas (you may well find them crazy). But by acknowledging the other person’s situation, you immediately convey that you are listening. And once they know that you are listening, they may tell you something that you can use.”


“The reasons why a counterpart will not make an agreement with you are often more powerful than why they will make a deal, so focus first on clearing the barriers to agreement. Denying barriers or negative influences gives them credence; get them into the”


“Label your counterpart’s fears to diffuse their power. We all want to talk about the happy stuff, but remember, the faster you interrupt action in your counterpart’s amygdala, the part of the brain that generates fear, the faster you can generate feelings of safety, well-being, and trust.”


“List the worst things that the other party could say about you and say them before the other person can. Performing an accusation audit in advance prepares you to head off negative dynamics before they take root. And because these accusations often sound exaggerated when said aloud, speaking them will encourage the other person to claim that quite the opposite is true.”


“Remember you’re dealing with a person who wants to be appreciated and understood. So use labels to reinforce and encourage positive perceptions and dynamics.”
■Pause. After you label a barrier or mirror a statement, let it sink in. Don’t worry, the other party will fill the silence.”

CHAPTER 4 | BEWARE “YES” — MASTER “NO” : How to Generate Momentum and Make it Safe to Reveal the Real Stakes


“Let me paint a scenario we’ve all experienced: You’re at home, just before dinner, and the phone rings. It is, no surprise, a telemarketer. He wants to sell you magazine subscriptions, water filters, frozen Argentine beef—to be honest, it doesn’t matter, as the script is always the same. After butchering your name, and engaging in some disingenuous pleasantries, he launches into his pitch.
The hard sell that comes next is a scripted flowchart designed to cut off your escape routes as it funnels you down a path with no exit but “Yes.” “Do you enjoy a nice glass of water from time to time.” “Well, yes, but . . .” “Me, too. And like me I bet you like crisp, clean water with no chemical aftertaste, like Mother Nature made it.” “Well, yes, but . . .”
Who is this guy with a fake smile in his voice, you wonder, who thinks he can trick you into buying something you don’t want? You feel your muscles tighten, your voice go defensive, and your heart rate accelerate.
You feel like his prey, and you are!
The last thing you want to do is say “Yes,” even when it’s the only way to answer, “Do you drink water?” Compromise and concession, even to the truth, feels like defeat. And “No,” well, “No” feels like salvation, like an oasis. You’re tempted to use “No” when it’s blatantly untrue, just to hear its sweet sound. “No, I do not need water, carbon filtered or otherwise. I’m a camel!”


“For good negotiators, “No” is pure gold. That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want. “No” is a safe choice that maintains the status quo; it provides a temporary oasis of control.
At some point in their development, all negotiators have to come to grips with “No.” When you come to realize the real psychological dynamic behind it, you’ll love the word. It’s not just that you lose your fear of it, but that you come to learn what it does for you and how you can build deals out of it.
“Yes” and “Maybe” are often worthless. But “No” always alters the conversation.”


“For good negotiators, “No” is pure gold. That negative provides a great opportunity for you and the other party to clarify what you really want by eliminating what you don’t want. “No” is a safe choice that maintains the status quo; it provides a temporary oasis of control.
At some point in their development, all negotiators have to come to grips with “No.” When you come to realize the real psychological dynamic behind it, you’ll love the word. It’s not just that you lose your fear of it, but that you come to learn what it does for you and how you can build deals out of it.
“Yes” and “Maybe” are often worthless. But “No” always alters the conversation.”


“At first, I thought that sort of automated response signaled a failure of imagination. But then I realized I did the same thing with my teenage son, and that after I’d said “No” to him, I often found that I was open to hearing what he had to say.”


“That’s because having protected myself, I could relax and more easily consider the possibilities.”


“No” is the start of the negotiation, not the end of it. We’ve been conditioned to fear the word “No.” But it is a statement of perception far more often than of fact. It seldom means, “I have considered all the facts and made a rational choice.” Instead, “No” is often a decision, frequently temporary, to maintain the status quo. Change is scary, and “No” provides a little protection from that scariness.”


“Jim Camp, in his excellent book, Start with NO,1 counsels the reader to give their adversary (his word for counterpart) permission to say “No” from the outset of a negotiation. He calls it “the right to veto.” He observes that people will fight to the death to preserve their right to say “No,” so give them that right and the negotiating environment becomes more constructive and collaborative almost immediately.”
“It comes down to the deep and universal human need for autonomy. People need to feel in control. When you preserve a person’s autonomy by clearly giving them permission to say “No” to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal. They’re allowed to hold it in their hands, to turn it around. And it gives you time to elaborate or pivot in order to convince your counterpart that the change you’re proposing is more advantageous than the status quo.”


“Politely saying “No” to your opponent (we’ll go into this in more depth in Chapter 9), calmly hearing “No,” and just letting the other side know that they are welcome to say “No” has a positive impact on any negotiation. In fact, your invitation for the other side to say “No” has an amazing power to bring down barriers and allow for beneficial communication.”


“Then, after pausing, ask solution-based questions or simply label their effect:
“What about this doesn’t work for you?”
“What would you need to make it work?”
“It seems like there’s something here that bothers you.”
People have a need to say, “No.” So don’t just hope to hear it at some point; get them to say it early.”


“Now allow me to let you in on a secret: None of that preparation will mean a damn thing. His negotiation style is all me, me, me, ego, ego, ego. And when the people on the other side of the table pick up those signals, they’re going to decide that it’s best to politely, even furtively, ignore this Superman . . . by saying “Yes”!
“Huh?” you say.
Sure, the word they’ll say right off is “Yes,” but that word is only a tool to get this blowhard to go away. They’ll weasel out later, claiming changing conditions, budget issues, the weather. For now, they just want to be released because Joe isn’t convincing them of anything; he’s only convincing himself.”


“Instead of getting inside with logic or feigned smiles, then, we get there by asking for “No.” It’s the word that gives the speaker feelings of safety and control. “No” starts conversations and creates safe havens to get to the”


“final “Yes” of commitment. An early “Yes” is often just a cheap, counterfeit dodge.”


“Nothing could be further from the truth. Saying “No” gives the speaker the feeling of safety, security, and control. You use a question that prompts a “No” answer, and your counterpart feels that by turning you down he has proved that he’s in the driver’s seat. Good negotiators welcome—even invite—a solid “No” to start, as a sign that the other party is engaged and thinking.”


“Gun for a “Yes” straight off the bat, though, and your counterpart gets”


“defensive, wary, and skittish. That’s why I tell my students that, if you’re trying to sell something, don’t start with “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Instead ask, “Is now a bad time to talk?” Either you get “Yes, it is a bad time” followed by a good time or a request to go away, or you get “No, it’s not” and total focus.”


“But by the time she sat down with him, she had picked one of the most strongly worded “No”-oriented setup questions I have ever heard.
“Do you want the FBI to be embarrassed?” she said.
“No,” he answered.
“What do you want me to do?” she responded.
He leaned back in his chair, one of those 1950s faux-leather numbers that squeak meaningfully when the sitter shifts. He stared at her over his glasses and then nodded ever so slightly. He was in control.
“Look, you can keep the position,” he said. “Just go back out there and don’t let it interfere with your other duties.”


“So let’s undress “No.” It’s a reaffirmation of autonomy. It is not a use or abuse of power; it is not an act of rejection; it is not a manifestation of stubbornness; it is not the end of the negotiation.”
“Saying “No” often spurs people to action because they feel they’ve protected themselves and now see an opportunity slipping away.”


“FUND-RAISER: Hello, can I speak with Mr. Smith?
MR. SMITH: Yes, this is he.
FUND-RAISER: I’m calling from the XYZ Committee, and I wanted to ask you a few important questions about your views on our economy today. Do you feel that if things stay the way they are, America’s best days are ahead of it?
MR. SMITH: No, things will only get worse.
FUND-RAISER: Are you going to sit and watch President Obama take the White House in November without putting up a fight?
MR. SMITH: No, I’m going to do anything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
FUND-RAISER: If you want do something today to make sure that doesn’t happen, you can give to XYZ Committee, which is working hard to fight for you.
See how clearly that swaps “Yes” for “No” and offers to take a donation if Mr. Smith wants? It puts Mr. Smith in the driver’s seat; he’s in charge. And it works! In a truly remarkable turnaround, the “No”-oriented script got a 23 percent better rate of return.”


“One negotiating genius who’s impossible to miss is Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. I always quote to my students one of his best lines on negotiation: “Every ‘No’ gets me closer to a ‘Yes.’” But then I remind them that extracting those “No’s” on the road to “Yes” isn’t always easy.”


“There is a big difference between making your counterpart feel that they can say “No” and actually getting them to say it. Sometimes, if you’re talking to somebody who is just not listening, the only way you can crack their cranium is to antagonize them into “No.”


“No”—or the lack thereof—also serves as a warning, the canary in the coal mine. If despite all your efforts, the other party won’t say “No,” you’re dealing with people who are indecisive or confused or who have a hidden agenda. In cases like that you have to end the negotiation and walk away.
Think of it like this: No “No” means no go.”




“You provoke a “No” with this one-sentence email.
Have you given up on this project?”


“The point is that this one-sentence email encapsulates the best of “No”-oriented questions and plays on your counterpart’s natural human aversion to loss. The “No” answer the email demands offers the other party the feeling of safety and the illusion of control while encouraging them to define their position and explain it to you.”
“■“Yes” is the final goal of a negotiation, but don’t aim for it at the start. Asking someone for “Yes” too quickly in a conversation—“Do you like to drink water, Mr. Smith?”—gets his guard up and paints you as an untrustworthy salesman.”


“■Saying “No” makes the speaker feel safe, secure, and in control, so trigger it. By saying what they don’t want, your counterpart defines their space and gains the confidence and comfort to listen to you. That’s why “Is now a bad time to talk?” is always better than “Do you have a few minutes to talk?”


“■Sometimes the only way to get your counterpart to listen and engage with you is by forcing them into a “No.” That means intentionally mislabeling one of their emotions or desires or asking a ridiculous question—like, “It seems like you want this project to fail”—that can only be answered negatively.”


“■Negotiate in their world. Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”


“■If a potential business partner is ignoring you, contact them with a clear and concise “No”-oriented question that suggests that you are ready to walk away. “Have you given up on this project?” works wonders.”



“After years of refining the BCSM and its tactics, I can teach anyone how to get to that moment. But as cardiologists know all too well, and legions of B-school grads weaned on the most famous negotiating book in the world, Getting to Yes, have ultimately discovered, you more than likely haven’t gotten there yet if what you’re hearing is the word “yes.”
As you’ll soon learn, the sweetest two words in any negotiation are actually “That’s right.”






“Effective Pauses: Silence is powerful. We told Benjie to use it for emphasis, to encourage Sabaya to keep talking until eventually, like clearing out a swamp, the emotions were drained from the dialogue.”


“Minimal Encouragers: Besides silence, we instructed using simple phrases, such as “Yes,” “OK,” “Uh-huh,” or “I see,” to effectively convey that Benjie was now paying full attention to Sabaya and all he had to say.”


“Mirroring: Rather than argue with Sabaya and try to separate Schilling from the “war damages,” Benjie would listen and repeat back what Sabaya said.”


“Labeling: Benjie should give Sabaya’s feelings a name and identify with how he felt. “It all seems so tragically unfair, I can now see why you sound so angry.”


“Paraphrase: Benjie should repeat what Sabaya is saying back to him in Benjie’s own words. This, we told him, would powerfully show him you really do understand and aren’t merely parroting his concerns.”


“Summarize: A good summary is the combination of rearticulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = Summarize: A good summary is the combination of rearticulating the meaning of what is said plus the acknowledgment of the emotions underlying that meaning (paraphrasing + labeling = Summary)”


“In the heat of negotiations for a man’s life, I didn’t appreciate the value of those two words: “That’s right.” But when I studied the transcripts and reconstructed the trajectory of the negotiations, I realized that Sabaya had changed course when he uttered those words.”


“In hostage negotiations, we never tried to get to “yes” as an endpoint. We knew that “yes” is nothing without “how.” And when we applied hostage negotiating tactics to business, we saw how “that’s right” often leads to the best outcomes.”




“Driving toward “that’s right” is a winning strategy in all negotiations. But hearing “you’re right” is a disaster.”


“It works every time. Tell people “you’re right” and they get a happy smile on their face and leave you alone for at least twenty-four hours. But you haven’t agreed to their position. You have used “you’re right” to get them to quit bothering you.”


“You seem to think it’s unmanly to dodge a block,” I told him. “You think it’s cowardly to get out of someone’s way that’s trying to hit you.”
Brandon stared at me and paused.
“That’s right,” he said.
With those words Brandon embraced the reality of what was holding him back. Once he understood why he was trying to knock down every blocker, he changed course. He started avoiding the blocks and became an exceptionally fine linebacker.
With Brandon on the field tackling and playing star linebacker, St. Thomas More School won every game.”


“Sleeping in the same bed and dreaming different dreams” is an old Chinese expression that describes the intimacy of partnership (whether in marriage or in business) without the communication necessary to sustain it.”


“Creating unconditional positive regard opens the door to changing thoughts and behaviors. Humans have an innate urge toward socially constructive behavior. The more a person feels understood, and positively affirmed in that understanding, the more likely that urge for constructive behavior will take hold.”


“■“That’s right” is better than “yes.” Strive for it. Reaching “that’s right” in a negotiation creates breakthroughs.”


“Use a summary to trigger a “that’s right.” The building blocks of a good summary are a label combined with paraphrasing. Identify, rearticulate, and emotionally affirm “the world according to . . .”

CHAPTER 6 | BEND THEIR REALITY : How to Shape What is Fair


“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 in a negotiation are driven by fear or by the desire to avoid pain. Too few are driven by their actual goals.”
“It’s not just with hostage negotiations that deadlines can play into your hands. Car dealers are prone to give you the best price near the end of the month, when their transactions are assessed. And corporate salespeople work on a quarterly basis and are most vulnerable as the quarter comes to a close.”


“When he arrived, his counterparts asked him how long he was staying, and Cohen said a week. For the next seven days, his hosts proceeded to entertain him with parties, tours, and outings—everything but negotiation. In fact, Cohen’s counterparts didn’t start serious talks until he was about to leave, and the two sides hammered out the deal’s final details in the car to the airport.
Cohen landed in the United States with the sinking feeling that he’d been played, and that he had conceded too much under deadline pressure. Would he have told them his deadline in retrospect? No, Cohen says, because it gave them a tool he didn’t have: “They knew my deadline, but I didn’t know theirs.”


“Allow me to let you in on a little secret: Cohen, and the herd of negotiation “experts” who follow his lead, are wrong. Deadlines cut both ways. Cohen may well have been nervous about what his boss would say if he left Japan without an agreement. But it’s also true that Cohen’s counterparts wouldn’t have won if he’d left without a deal. That’s the key: When the negotiation is over for one side, it’s over for the other too.”


“Moore discovered that when negotiators tell their counterparts about their deadline, they get better deals. It’s true. First, by revealing your cutoff you reduce the risk of impasse. And second, when an opponent knows your deadline, he’ll get to the real deal- and concession-making more quickly.”




“In recent years, Iran has put up with sanctions that have cost it well over $100 billion in foreign investment and oil revenue in order to defend a uranium-enriching nuclear program that can only meet 2 percent of its energy needs. In other words, like the students who won’t take a free $1 because the offer seems insulting, Iran has screwed itself out of its chief source of income—oil and gas revenue—in order to pursue an energy project with little expected payoff.”


“The most common use is a judo-like defensive move that destabilizes the other side. This manipulation usually takes the form of something like, “We just want what’s fair.”
Think back to the last time someone made this implicit accusation of unfairness to you, and I bet you’ll have to admit that it immediately triggered feelings of defensiveness and discomfort. These feelings are often subconscious and often lead to an irrational concession.
A friend of mine was selling her Boston home in a bust market a few years back. The offer she got was much lower than she wanted—it meant a big loss for her—and out of frustration she dropped this F-bomb on the prospective buyer.
“We just want what’s fair,” she said.
Emotionally rattled by the implicit accusation, the guy raised his offer immediately.
If you’re on the business end of this accusation, you need to realize that the other side might not be trying to pick your pocket; like my friend, they might just be overwhelmed by circumstance. The best response either way is to take a deep breath and restrain your desire to concede. Then say, “Okay, I apologize. Let’s stop everything and[…]”


“that supports that,” which alludes to opening their books or otherwise handing over information that will either contradict their claim to fairness or give you more data to work with than you had previously. Right away, you declaw the attack.”


“The last use of the F-word is my favorite because it’s positive and constructive. It sets the stage for honest and empathetic negotiation.
Here’s how I use it: Early on in a negotiation, I say, “I want you to feel like you are being treated fairly at all times. So please stop me at any time if you feel I’m being unfair, and we’ll address it.”
It’s simple and clear and sets me up as an honest dealer. With that statement, I let people know it is okay to use that word with me if they use it honestly. As a negotiator, you should strive for a reputation of being fair. Your reputation precedes you. Let it precede you in a way that paves success.”


“A few years ago, I stumbled upon the book How to Become a Rainmaker,3 and I like to review it occasionally to refresh my sense of the emotional drivers that fuel decisions. The book does a great job to explain the sales job not as a rational argument, but as an emotional framing job.
If you can get the other party to reveal their problems, pain, and unmet objectives—if you can get at what people are really buying—then you can sell them a vision of their problem that leaves your proposal as the perfect solution.
Look at this from the most basic level. What does a good babysitter sell, really? It’s not child care exactly, but a relaxed evening. A furnace salesperson? Cozy rooms for family time. A locksmith? A feeling of security.
Know the emotional drivers and you can frame the benefits of any deal in language that will resonate.”


“Over the next few pages I’ll explain a few prospect theory tactics you can use to your advantage. But first let me leave you with a crucial lesson about loss aversion: In a tough negotiation, it’s not enough to show the other party that you can deliver the thing they want.
To get real leverage, you have to persuade them that they have something concrete to lose if the deal falls through.”


To bend your counterpart’s reality, you have to start with the basics of empathy. So start out with an accusation audit acknowledging all of their fears. By anchoring their emotions in preparation for a loss, you inflame the other side’s loss aversion so that they’ll jump at the chance to avoid it.”


“I got a lousy proposition for you,” I said, and paused until each asked me to go on. “By the time we get off the phone, you’re going to think I’m a lousy businessman. You’re going to think I can’t budget or plan. You’re going to think Chris Voss is a big talker. His first big project ever out of the FBI, he screws it up completely. He doesn’t know how to run an operation. And he might even have lied to me.”


“Still, I wanted to bring this opportunity to you before I took it to someone else,” I said.”




While going first rarely helps, there is one way to seem to make an offer and bend their reality in the process. That is, by alluding to a range.
What I mean is this: When confronted with naming your terms or price, counter by recalling a similar deal which establishes your “ballpark,” albeit the best possible ballpark you wish to be in. Instead of saying, “I’m worth $110,000,” Jerry might have said, “At top places like X Corp., people in this job get between $130,000 and $170,000.”


“That gets your point across without moving the other party into a defensive position. And it gets him thinking at higher levels. Research shows that people who hear extreme anchors unconsciously adjust their expectations in the direction of the opening number. Many even go directly to their price limit. If Jerry had given this range, the firm probably would have offered $130,000 because it looked so cheap next to $170,000.”


“In a recent study,4 Columbia Business School psychologists found that job applicants who named a range received significantly higher overall salaries than those who offered a number, especially if their range was a”


“bolstering range,” in which the low number in the range was what they actually wanted.
Understand, if you offer a range (and it’s a good idea to do so) expect them to come in at the low end.”


“Not long ago I did some training for the Memphis Bar Association. Normally, for the training they were looking for, I’d charge $25,000 a day. They came in with a much lower offer that I balked at. They then offered to do a cover story about me in their association magazine. For me to be on the cover of a magazine that went out to who knows how many of the country’s top lawyers was priceless advertising. (Plus my mom is really proud of it!)”


Every number has a psychological significance that goes beyond its value. And I’m not just talking about how you love 17 because you think it’s lucky. What I mean is that, in terms of negotiation, some numbers appear more immovable than others.
The biggest thing to remember is that numbers that end in 0 inevitably feel like temporary placeholders, guesstimates that you can easily be negotiated off of. But anything you throw out that sounds less rounded—say,”


“$37,263—feels like a figure that you came to as a result of thoughtful calculation. Such numbers feel serious and permanent to your counterpart, so use them to fortify your offers.”


“Back in Haiti, a few hours after the kidnappers had snatched his aunt, I was on the phone with the politician’s nephew.
There was no way their family could come up with $150,000, he told me, but they could pay between $50,000 and $85,000. But since learning that the ransom was just party money, I was aiming much lower: $5,000. We were not going to compromise. It was a matter of professional pride.
I advised him to start off by anchoring the conversation in the idea that he didn’t have the money, but to do so without saying “No” so as not to hit their pride head-on.
“How am I supposed to do that?” he asked in the next call.
The kidnapper made another general threat against the aunt and again demanded the cash.
That’s when I had the nephew subtly question the kidnapper’s fairness.
“I’m sorry,” the nephew responded, “but how are we supposed to pay if you’re going to hurt her?”
That brought up the aunt’s death, which was the thing the kidnappers most wanted to avoid. They needed to keep her unharmed if they hoped to get any money. They were commodity traders, after all.”


“of attrition finally pushed the kidnappers to name a number first. Without prodding, they dropped to $50,000.
Now that the kidnappers’ reality had been bent to a smaller number, my colleagues and I told the nephew to stand his ground.
“How can I come up with that kind of money?” we told him to ask.
Again, the kidnapper dropped his demand, to $25,000.
Now that we had him in our sights, we had the nephew make his first offer, an extreme low anchor of $3,000.
The line went silent and the nephew began to sweat profusely, but we told him to hold tight. This always happened at the moment the kidnapper’s economic reality got totally rearranged.
When he spoke again, the kidnapper seemed shell-shocked. But he went on. His next offer was lower, $10,000. Then we had the nephew answer with a strange number that seemed to come from deep calculation of what his aunt’s life was worth: $4,751.
His new price? $7,500. In response, we had the cousin “spontaneously” say he’d throw in a new portable CD stereo and repeated the $4,751. The kidnappers, who didn’t really want the CD stereo felt there was no more money[…]”


One of the critical factors in business school rankings is how well their graduates are compensated. So I tell every MBA class I lecture that my first objective is to single-handedly raise the ranking of their school by teaching them how to negotiate a better salary.
I break down the process into three parts that blend this chapter’s dynamics in a way that not only brings you better money, but convinces your boss to fight to get it for you.
Pleasant persistence is a kind of emotional anchoring that creates empathy with the boss and builds the right psychological environment for constructive discussion. And the more you talk about nonsalary terms, the more likely you are to hear the full range of their options. If they can’t meet your nonsalary requests, they may even counter with more money, like they did”


Once you’ve negotiated a salary, make sure to define success for your position—as well as metrics for your next raise. That’s meaningful for you and free for your boss, much like giving me a magazine cover story was for the bar association. It gets you a planned raise and, by defining your success in relation to your boss’s supervision, it leads into the next step . . .”


Remember the idea of figuring what the other side is really buying? Well, when you are selling yourself to a manager, sell yourself as more than a body for a job; sell yourself, and your success, as a way they can validate their own intelligence and broadcast it to the rest of the company. Make sure they know you’ll act as a flesh-and-blood argument for their importance. Once you’ve bent their reality to include you as their ambassador, they’ll have a stake in your success.”


“Ask: “What does it take to be successful here?”
Please notice that this question is similar to questions that are suggested by many MBA career counseling centers, yet not exactly the same. And it’s the exact wording of this question that’s critical.
Students from my MBA courses who have asked this question in job interviews have actually had interviewers lean forward and say, “No one ever asked us that before.” The interviewer then gave a great and detailed answer.
The key issue here is if someone gives you guidance, they will watch to see if you follow their advice. They will have a personal stake in seeing you succeed. You’ve just recruited your first unofficial mentor.”


“And then Angel courteously asked for a moment to step away and print up the agreed-upon job description. This pause created a dynamic of pre-deadline urgency in his boss, which Angel exploited when he returned with the printout. On the bottom, he’d added his desired compensation: “$134.5k—$143k.”
In that one little move, Angel weaved together a bunch of the lessons from this chapter. The odd numbers gave them the weight of thoughtful calculation. The numbers were high too, which exploited his boss’s natural tendency to go directly to his price limit when faced by an extreme anchor. And they were a range, which made Angel seem less aggressive and the lower end more reasonable in comparison.”


“Angel didn’t say “No” or “Yes,” but kept talking and creating empathy. Then, in the middle of a sentence, seemingly out of the blue, his boss threw out $127,000. With his boss obviously negotiating with himself, Angel kept him going. Finally his boss said he agreed with the $134,500 and would pay that salary starting in three months, contingent on the board of directors’ approval.”


“As the icing on the cake, Angel worked in a positive use of the word “Fair” (“That’s fair,” he said), and then sold the raise to his boss as a marriage in which his boss would be the mentor. “I’m asking you, not the board, for the promotion, and all I need is for you to agree with it,” he said.
And how did Angel’s boss reply to his new ambassador?
“I’ll fight to get you this salary.”
So follow Angel’s lead and make it rain!”


“Compared to the tools discussed in previous chapters, the techniques here seem concrete and easy to use. But many people shy away from them because they seem manipulative. Something that bends your counterpart’s reality must be cheating, right?
In response, let me just say that these tools are used by all the best negotiators because they simply recognize the human psyche as it is. We are emotional, irrational beasts who are emotional and irrational in predictable, pattern-filled ways. Using that knowledge is only, well, rational.
As you work these tools into your daily life, remember the following powerful lessons:
■All negotiations are defined by a network of subterranean desires and needs. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the surface. Once you know that the Haitian kidnappers just want party money, you will be miles better prepared.
■Splitting the difference is wearing one black and one brown shoe, so don’t compromise. Meeting halfway often leads to bad deals for both sides.
■Approaching deadlines entice people to rush the negotiating process and do impulsive things that are against their best interests.”


■“The F-word—“Fair”—is an emotional term people usually exploit to put the other side on the defensive and gain concessions. When your counterpart drops the F-bomb, don’t get suckered into a concession. Instead, ask them to explain how you’re mistreating them.
■You can bend your counterpart’s reality by anchoring his starting point. Before you make an offer, emotionally anchor them by saying how bad it will be. When you get to numbers, set an extreme anchor to make your “real” offer seem reasonable, or use a range to seem less aggressive. The real value of anything depends on what vantage point you’re looking at it from.
■People will take more risks to avoid a loss than to realize a gain. Make sure your counterpart sees that there is something to lose by inaction.”

CHAPTER 7 | CREATE THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL : How to Calibrate Questions to Transform Conflict into Collaboration


“The tool we developed is something I call the calibrated, or open-ended, question. What it does is remove aggression from conversations by acknowledging the other side openly, without resistance. In doing so, it lets you introduce ideas and requests without sounding pushy. It allows you to nudge.
I’ll explain it in depth later on, but for now let me say that it’s really as simple as removing the hostility from the statement “You can’t leave” and turning it into a question.
“What do you hope to achieve by going?”


“Best of all, he doesn’t owe the kidnapper a damn thing. The guy volunteers to put the girlfriend on the phone: he thinks it’s his idea. The guy who just offered to put the girlfriend on the line thinks he’s in control. And the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control.”


“Giving your counterpart the illusion of control by asking calibrated questions—by asking for help—is one of the most powerful tools for suspending unbelief.”


“When you go into a store, instead of telling the salesclerk what you “need,” you can describe what you’re looking for and ask for suggestions.”


“Then, once you’ve picked out what you want, instead of hitting them with a hard offer, you can just say the price is a bit more than you budgeted and ask for help with one of the greatest-of-all-time calibrated questions:”


“How am I supposed to do that?” The critical part of this approach is that you really are asking for help and your delivery must convey that. With this negotiating scheme, instead of bullying the clerk, you’re asking for their advice and giving them the illusion of control.”


“The real beauty of calibrated questions is the fact that they offer no target for attack like statements do. Calibrated questions have the power to educate your counterpart on what the problem is rather than causing conflict by telling them what the problem is.”


“First off, calibrated questions avoid verbs or words like “can,” “is,” “are,” “do,” or “does.” These are closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no.” Instead, they start with a list of words people know as reporter’s questions: “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.” Those words inspire your counterpart to think and then speak expansively.”


“But let me cut the list even further: it’s best to start with “what,” “how,” and sometimes “why.” Nothing else. “Who,” “when,” and “where” will often just get your counterpart to share a fact without thinking. And “why” can backfire. Regardless of what language the word “why” is translated into, it’s accusatory. There are very rare moments when this is to your advantage”


“Having just two words to start with might not seem like a lot of ammunition, but trust me, you can use “what” and “how” to calibrate nearly any question. “Does this look like something you would like?” can become “How does this look to you?” or “What about this works for you?” You can even ask, “What about this doesn’t work for you?” and you’ll probably trigger quite a bit of useful information from your counterpart.
Even something as harsh as “Why did you do it?” can be calibrated to “What caused you to do it?” which takes away the emotion and makes the question less accusatory.
You should use calibrated questions early and often, and there are a few that you will find that you will use in the beginning of nearly every negotiation. “What is the biggest challenge you face?” is one of those questions. It just gets the other side to teach you something about themselves, which is critical to any negotiation because all negotiation is an information-gathering process.
Here are some other great standbys that I use in almost every negotiation, depending on the situation:”


“Think back to how the doctor used calibrated questions to get his patient to stay. As his story showed, the key to getting people to see things your way is not to confront them on their ideas (“You can’t leave”) but to acknowledge their ideas openly (“I understand why you’re pissed off”) and then guide them toward solving the problem (“What do you hope to accomplish by leaving?”).”


“Like I said before, the secret to gaining the upper hand in a negotiation is giving the other side the illusion of control. That’s why calibrated questions are ingenious: Calibrated questions make your counterpart feel like they’re in charge, but it’s really you who are framing the conversation. Your counterpart will have no idea how constrained they are by your questions.”


“The script we came up with hit all the best practices of negotiation we’ve talked about so far. Here it is by steps:
1.A “No”-oriented email question to reinitiate contact: “Have you given up on settling this amicably?”
2.A statement that leaves only the answer of “That’s right” to form a dynamic of agreement: “It seems that you feel my bill is”


“not justified.”
3.Calibrated questions about the problem to get him to reveal his thinking: “How does this bill violate our agreement?”
4.More “No”-oriented questions to remove unspoken barriers: “Are you saying I misled you?” “Are you saying I didn’t do as you asked?” “Are you saying I reneged on our agreement?” or “Are you saying I failed you?”
5.Labeling and mirroring the essence of his answers if they are not acceptable so he has to consider them again: “It seems like you feel my work was subpar.” Or “. . . my work was subpar?”
6.A calibrated question in reply to any offer other than full payment, in order to get him to offer a solution: “How am I supposed to accept that?”
7.If none of this gets an offer of full payment, a label that flatters his sense of control and power: “It seems like you are the type of person who prides himself on the way he does business—rightfully so—and has a knack for not only expanding the pie but making the ship run more efficiently.”
8.A long pause and then one more “No”-oriented question: “Do you want to be[…]”


“The basic issue here is that when people feel that they are not in control, they adopt what psychologists call a hostage mentality. That is, in moments of conflict they react to their lack of power by either becoming extremely defensive or lashing out.”


“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking?
The listener, of course.”


“■Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.”


“■Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.”


“■Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.”


“■Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.”


“■Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.
■There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.”

CHAPTER 8 | GUARANTEE EXECUTION : How to Spot the Liars and Ensure Follow-Through from Everyone Else


“Calibrated “How” questions are a surefire way to keep negotiations going. They put the pressure on your counterpart to come up with answers, and to contemplate your problems when making their demands.”


“How can we raise that much?” she asked.
Notice that she did not use the word “No.” But she still managed to elegantly deny the kidnappers’ $5 million demand.”


“As Julie did, the first and most common “No” question you’ll use is some version of “How am I supposed to do that?”


“This question tends to have the positive effect of making the other side take a good look at your situation. This positive dynamic is what I refer to as “forced empathy,” and it’s especially effective if leading up to it you’ve already been empathic with your counterpart. This engages the dynamic of reciprocity to lead them to do something for you. Starting with José’s kidnapping, “How am I supposed to do that?” became our primary response to a kidnapper demanding a ransom. And we never had it backfire.”


“I’d love to help,” she said, “but how am I supposed to do that?”
By indicating her willingness to work but asking for help finding a way to do so, she left her deadbeat customer with no choice but to put her needs ahead of everything else.”


“Besides saying “No,” the other key benefit of asking “How?” is, quite literally, that it forces your counterpart to consider and explain how a deal will be implemented. A deal is nothing without good implementation. Poor implementation is the cancer that eats your profits.
By making your counterparts articulate implementation in their own words, your carefully calibrated “How” questions will convince them that the final solution is their idea. And that’s crucial. People always make more effort to implement a solution when they think it’s theirs. That is simply human nature. That’s why negotiation is often called “the art of letting someone else have your way.”


“There are two key questions you can ask to push your counterparts to think they are defining success their way: “How will we know we’re on track?” and “How will we address things if we find we’re off track?” When they answer, you summarize their answers until you get a “That’s right.” Then you’ll know they’ve bought in.”


“On the flip side, be wary of two telling signs that your counterpart doesn’t believe the idea is theirs. As I’ve noted, when they say, “You’re right,” it’s often a good indicator they are not vested in what is being discussed. And when you push for implementation and they say, “I’ll try,” you should get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Because this really means, “I plan to fail.”
When you hear either of these, dive back in with calibrated “How” questions until they define the terms of successful implementation in their own voice. Follow up by summarizing what they have said to get a “That’s right.”
Let the other side feel victory. Let them think it was their idea. Subsume your ego. Remember: “Yes” is nothing without “How.” So keep asking “How?” And succeed.”


“From Quantico, I loaded Aaron up with calibrated questions. I instructed him to keep peppering the violent jerk with “How?” How am I supposed to . . . ? How do we know . . . ? How can we . . . ? There is great power in treating jerks with deference. It gives you the ability to be extremely assertive—to say “No”—in a hidden fashion.”


“In the Chinese martial art of tai chi, the goal is to use your opponent’s aggressiveness against him—to turn his offense into your way to defeat him”


“Here’s an example:
You: “So we’re agreed?”
Them: “Yes . . .”
You: “I heard you say, ‘Yes,’ but it seemed like there was hesitation in your voice.”
Them: “Oh, it’s nothing really.”
You: “No, this is important, let’s make sure we get this right.”
Them: “Thanks, I appreciate it.”
This is the way to make sure your agreement gets implemented with no surprises. And your counterpart will be grateful. Your act of recognizing the incongruence and gently dealing with it through a label will make them feel respected. Consequently, your relationship of trust will be improved.”


“One great tool for avoiding this trap is the Rule of Three.
The Rule of Three is simply getting the other guy to agree to the same thing three times in the same conversation. It’s tripling the strength of whatever dynamic you’re trying to drill into at the moment. In doing so, it uncovers problems before they happen. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction”


“The first time they agree to something or give you a commitment, that’s No. 1. For No. 2 you might label or summarize what they said so they answer, “That’s right.” And No. 3 could be a calibrated “How” or “What” question about implementation that asks them to explain what will constitute success, something like “What do we do if we get off track?”
Or the three times might just be the same calibrated question phrased three different ways, like “What’s the biggest challenge you faced? What are we up against here? What do you see as being the most difficult thing to get around?”
Either way, going at the same issue three times uncovers falsehoods as well as the incongruences between words and body language we mentioned in the last section. So next time you’re not sure your counterpart is truthful and committed, try it.”


“The more in love they are with “I,” “me,” and “my” the less important they are.”


“Like you saw Aaron and Julie do with their kidnappers, the best way to get your counterparts to lower their demands is to say “No” using “How” questions. These indirect ways of saying “No” won’t shut down your counterpart the way a blunt, pride-piercing “No” would. In fact, these responses will sound so much like counterbids that your counterparts will often keep bidding against themselves.”


“The first step in the “No” series is the old standby:
“How am I supposed to do that?”
You have to deliver it in a deferential way, so it becomes a request for help. Properly delivered, it invites the other side to participate in your dilemma and solve it with a better offer.
After that, some version of “Your offer is very generous, I’m sorry, that just doesn’t work for me” is an elegant second way to say “No.”
This well-tested response avoids making a counteroffer, and the use of “generous” nurtures your counterpart to live up to the word. The “I’m sorry” also softens the “No” and builds empathy. (You can ignore the so-called negotiating experts who say apologies are always signs of weakness.)
Then you can use something like “I’m sorry but I’m afraid I just can’t do that.” It’s a little more direct, and the “can’t do that” does great double duty. By expressing an inability to perform, it can trigger the other side’s empathy toward you.
“I’m sorry, no” is a slightly more succinct version for the fourth “No.” If delivered gently, it barely sounds negative at all.
If you have to go[…]”


“As you put the following tools to use, remember this chapter’s most important concept. That is, “Yes” is nothing without “How.”


“How,” knowing “How,” and defining “How” are all part of the effective negotiator’s arsenal. He would be unarmed without them.
■Ask calibrated “How” questions, and ask them again and again. Asking “How” keeps your counterparts engaged but off balance. Answering the questions will give them the illusion of control. It will also lead them to contemplate your problems when making their demands.
■Use “How” questions to shape the negotiating environment. You do this by using “How can I do that?” as a gentle version of “No.” This will subtly push your counterpart to search for other solutions—your solutions. And very often it will get them to bid against themselves.
■Don’t just pay attention to the people you’re negotiating with directly; always identify the motivations of the players “behind the table.” You can do so by asking how a deal will affect everybody else and how on board they are.
■Follow the 7-38-55 Percent Rule by paying close attention to tone of voice and body language. Incongruence between the words and nonverbal signs will show when your counterpart is lying or uncomfortable with a deal.

■Is the “Yes” real or counterfeit? Test it with the Rule of Three: use calibrated questions, summaries, and labels to get your counterpart to reaffirm their agreement at least three times. It’s really hard to repeatedly lie or fake conviction.

■A person’s use of pronouns offers deep insights into his or her relative authority. If you’re hearing a lot of “I,” “me,” and “my,” the real power to decide probably lies elsewhere. Picking up a lot of “we,” “they,” and “them,” it’s more likely you’re dealing directly with a savvy decision maker keeping his options open.
■Use your own name to make yourself a real person to the other side and even get your own personal discount. Humor and humanity are the best ways to break the ice and remove”

CHAPTER 9 | BARGAIN HARD : How to Get Your Price


“Experienced negotiators often lead with a ridiculous offer, an extreme anchor. And if you’re not prepared to handle it, you’ll lose your moorings and immediately go to your maximum. It’s human nature. Like the great ear-biting pugilist Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”


“As a well-prepared negotiator who seeks information and gathers it relentlessly, you’re actually going to want the other guy to name a price first, because you want to see his hand. You’re going to welcome the extreme anchor. But extreme anchoring is powerful and you’re human: your emotions may well up. If they do there are ways to weather the storm without bidding against yourself or responding with anger. Once you learn these tactics, you’ll be prepared to withstand the hit and counter with panache.”


“First, deflect the punch in a way that opens up your counterpart. Successful negotiators often say “No” in one of the many ways we’ve talked about (“How am I supposed to accept that?”) or deflect the anchor with questions like “What are we trying to accomplish here?” Responses like these are great ways to refocus your counterpart when you feel you’re being pulled into the compromise trap.”


“And if the other side pushes you to go first, wriggle from his grip. Instead of naming a price, allude to an incredibly high number that someone else might charge. Once when a hospital chain wanted me to name a price first, I said, “Well, if you go to Harvard Business School, they’re going to charge you $2,500 a day per student.”
No matter what happens, the point he”


“We’ve said previously that no deal is better than a bad deal.”


“We’ve said previously that no deal is better than a bad deal.”


“progressively smaller concessions. Finally, I dropped the weird number that closed the deal. I’ll never forget the head of the Miami FBI office calling my colleague the next day and saying, “Voss got this guy out for $4,751? How does $1 make a difference?”
They were howling with laughter, and they had a point. That $1 is ridiculous. But it works on our human nature. Notice that you can’t buy anything for $2, but you can buy a million things for $1.99. How does a cent change anything? It doesn’t. But it makes a difference every time. We just like $1.99 more than $2.00 even if we know it’s a trick.”


“Identify your counterpart’s negotiating style. Once you know whether they are Accommodator, Assertive, or Analyst, you’ll know the correct way to approach them.
■Prepare, prepare, prepare. When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion; you fall to your highest level of preparation. So design an ambitious but legitimate goal and then game out the labels, calibrated questions, and responses you’ll use to get there. That way, once you’re at the bargaining table, you won’t have to wing it.
■Get ready to take a punch. Kick-ass negotiators usually lead with an extreme anchor to knock you off your game. If you’re not ready, you’ll flee to your maximum without a fight. So prepare your dodging tactics to avoid getting sucked into the compromise trap.
■Set boundaries, and learn to take a punch or punch back, without anger. The guy across the table is not the problem; the situation is.


■Prepare an Ackerman plan. Before you head into the weeds of bargaining, you’ll need a plan of extreme anchor, calibrated questions, and well-defined offers. Remember: 65, 85, 95, 100 percent. Decreasing raises and ending on nonround numbers will get your counterpart to believe that he’s squeezing you for all you’re worth when you’re really getting to the number you want.”

CHAPTER 10 | FIND THE BLACK SWAN : How to Create Breakthroughs by Revealing the Unknown Unknowns


“What came next showed the power of Black Swans, those hidden and unexpected pieces of information—those unknown unknowns—whose unearthing has game-changing effects on a negotiation dynamic.
Negotiation breakthroughs—when the game shifts inalterably in your favor—are created by those who can identify and utilize Black Swans.
Here’s how.”


“Black Swan theory tells us that things happen that were previously thought to be impossible—or never thought of at all. This is not the same as saying that sometimes things happen against one-in-a-million odds, but rather that things never imagined do come to pass.”


“In seventeenth-century London it was common to refer to impossible things as “Black Swans.”


“But then the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh went to western Australia in 1697—and saw a black swan. Suddenly the unthinkable and unthought was real. People had always predicted that the next swan they saw would be white, but the discovery of black swans shattered this worldview.”


“This is a crucial concept in negotiation. In every negotiating session, there are different kinds of information. There are those things we know, like our counterpart’s name and their offer and our experiences from other negotiations. Those are known knowns. There are those things we are certain that exist but we don’t know, like the possibility that the other side might get sick and leave us with another counterpart. Those are known unknowns and they are like poker wild cards; you know they’re out there but you don’t know who has them. But most important are those things we don’t know that we don’t know, pieces of information we’ve never imagined but that would be game changing if uncovered. Maybe our counterpart wants the deal to fail because he’s leaving for a competitor.

These unknown unknowns are Black Swans.”


“I began to hypothesize that in every negotiation each side is in possession of at least three Black Swans, three pieces of information that, were they to be discovered by the other side, would change everything.”


“Finding and acting on Black Swans mandates a shift in your mindset. It takes negotiation from being a one-dimensional move-countermove game of checkers to a three-dimensional game that’s more emotional, adaptive, intuitive . . . and truly effective.”


“Finding and acting on Black Swans mandates a shift in your mindset. It takes negotiation from being a one-dimensional move-countermove game of checkers to a three-dimensional game that’s more emotional, adaptive, intuitive . . . and truly effective.”


“Unless correctly interrogated, most people aren’t able to articulate the information you want. The world didn’t tell Steve Jobs that it wanted an iPad: he uncovered our need, that Black Swan, without us knowing the information was there.”


“Remember, negotiation is more like walking on a tightrope than competing against an opponent. Focusing so much on the end objective will only distract you from the next step, and that can cause you to fall off the rope. Concentrate on the next step because the rope will lead you to the end as long as all the steps are completed.”


“The answer is leverage. Black Swans are leverage multipliers. They give you the upper hand.”


“That’s why I say there’s always leverage: as an essentially emotional concept, it can be manufactured whether it exists or not.
If they’re talking to you, you have leverage. Who has leverage in a kidnapping? The kidnapper or the victim’s family? Most people think the kidnapper has all the leverage. Sure, the kidnapper has something you love, but you have something they lust for. Which is more powerful? Moreover, how many buyers do the kidnappers have for the commodity they are trying to sell? What business is successful if there’s only one buyer?”


“I should note that leverage isn’t the same thing as power. Donald Trump has tons of power, but if he’s stranded in a desert and the owner of the only store for miles has the water he wants, the vendor has the leverage.”


“As a negotiator you should always be aware of which side, at any given moment, feels they have the most to lose if negotiations collapse.”


“To get leverage, you have to persuade your counterpart that they have something real to lose if the deal falls”


“This sort of leverage gets people’s attention because of a concept we’ve discussed: loss aversion. As effective negotiators have long known and psychologists have repeatedly proved, potential losses loom larger in the human mind than do similar gains. Getting a good deal may push us toward making a risky bet, but saving our reputation from destruction is a much stronger motivation.”


“So what kind of Black Swans do you look to be aware of as negative leverage? Effective negotiators look for pieces of information, often obliquely revealed, that show what is important to their counterpart: Who is their audience? What signifies status and reputation to them? What most worries them?”


“If you shove your negative leverage down your counterpart’s throat, it might be perceived as you taking away their autonomy. People will often sooner die than give up their autonomy. They’ll at least act irrationally and shut off the negotiation.
A more subtle technique is to label your negative leverage and thereby make it clear without attacking. Sentences like “It seems like you strongly value the fact that you’ve always paid on time” or “It seems like you don’t care what position you are leaving me in” can really open up the negotiation process.”


“Every person has a set of rules and a moral framework.
Normative leverage is using the other party’s norms and standards to advance your position. If you can show inconsistencies between their beliefs and their actions, you have normative leverage. No one likes to look like a hypocrite.”


“Discovering the Black Swans that give you normative valuation can be as easy as asking what your counterpart believes and listening openly. You want to see what language they speak, and speak it back to them.”


“Access to this hidden space very often comes through understanding the other side’s worldview, their reason for being, their religion. Indeed, digging into your counterpart’s “religion” (sometimes involving God but not always) inherently implies moving beyond the negotiating table and into the life, emotional and otherwise, of your counterpart.
Once you’ve understood your counterpart’s worldview, you can build influence. That’s why as we talked with Watson I spent my energy trying to unearth who he was rather than logically arguing him into surrender.”


“He wanted attention, and knowing what he wanted gave us positive leverage.”


“Watson also told us he was a veteran, and veterans had rules. This is the kind of music you want to hear, as it provides normative leverage.”


“The reason for that is something called the “paradox of power”—namely, the harder we push the more likely we are to be met with resistance. That’s why you have to use negative leverage sparingly.”


“Research by social scientists has confirmed something effective negotiators have known for ages: namely, we trust people more when we view them as being similar or familiar.”


“People trust those who are in their in-group. Belonging is a primal instinct. And if you can trigger that instinct, that sense that, “Oh, we see the world the same way,” then you immediately gain influence.”


“This is really stewardship for you, isn’t it?” I said.
His voice immediately strengthened.
“Yes! You’re the only one who understands,” he said.
And he hired us at that moment. By showing that I understood his deeper reasons for being and accessing a sense of similarity, of mutual belongingness, I was able to bring him to the deal. The minute I established a kind of shared identity with this Christian, we were in. Not simply because of similarity alone, but because of the understanding implied by that moment of similarity.”


Once you know your counterpart’s religion and can visualize what he truly wants out of life, you can employ those aspirations as a way to get him to follow you.
Every engineer, every executive, every child—all of us want to believe we are capable of the extraordinary. As children, our daydreams feature ourselves as primary players in great moments: an actor winning an Oscar,”


“when someone is courageous enough to draw it for us, we naturally follow.
So when”


“Research studies have shown that people respond favorably to requests made in a reasonable tone of voice and followed with a “because” reason.
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.
While idiotic reasons worked with something simple like photocopying, on more complicated issues you can increase your effectiveness by offering reasons that reference your counterpart’s religion. Had that Christian CEO offered me a lowball offer when he agreed to hire my firm, I might have answered, “I’d love to but I too have a duty to be a responsible steward of my resources.”


“The rationale for this nonengagement is summarized well by the journalist Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst: “Negotiations with religious fanatics who have delusions of grandeur generally do not go well.”


Black Swans are incredibly hard to uncover if you’re not literally at the table.
No matter how much research you do, there’s just some information that you are not going to find out unless you sit face-to-face.
Today, a lot of younger people do almost everything over email. It’s just how things are done. But it’s very difficult to find Black Swans with email for the simple reason that, even if you knock your counterpart off their moorings with great labels and calibrated questions, email gives them too much time to think and re-center themselves to avoid revealing too much.
In addition, email doesn’t allow for tone-of-voice effects, and it doesn’t let you read the nonverbal parts of your counterpart’s response (remember 7-38-55).”


“During a typical business meeting, the first few minutes, before you actually get down to business, and the last few moments, as everyone is leaving, often tell you more about the other side than anything in between. That’s why reporters have a credo to never turn off their recorders: you always get the best stuff at the beginning and the end of an interview.”


“Students often ask me whether Black Swans are specific kinds of information or any kind that helps. I always answer that they are anything that you don’t know that changes things.”




“But stop and think about that. Are we really afraid of the guy across the table? I can promise you that, with very few exceptions, he’s not going to reach across and slug you.”


“Black Swans are leverage multipliers. Remember the three types of leverage: positive (the ability to give someone what they want); negative (the ability to hurt someone); and normative (using your counterpart’s norms to bring them around).”


“Work to understand the other side’s “religion.” Digging into worldviews inherently implies moving beyond the negotiating table and into the life, emotional and otherwise, of your counterpart. That’s where Black Swans live.”


“Exploit the similarity principle. People are more apt to concede to someone they share a cultural similarity with, so dig for what makes them tick and show that you share common ground.”




“Negotiation is a psychological investigation. You can gain a measure of confidence going into such an investigation with a simple preparatory exercise we advise all our clients to do. Basically, it’s a list of the primary tools you anticipate using, such as labels and calibrated questions, customized to the particular negotiation.
When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion—you fall to your highest level of preparation.”


“Think through best/worst-case scenarios but only write down a specific goal that represents the best case.”


“I tell my clients that as part of their preparation they should think about the outcome extremes: best and worst. If you’ve got both ends covered, you’ll be ready for anything. So know what you cannot accept and have an idea about the best-case outcome, but keep in mind that since there’s information yet to be acquired from the other side, it’s quite possible that best case might be even better than you know.”


“my clients the security of some structure, when it comes to what actually goes on your one sheet, my advice is to just stick with the high-end goal, as it will”


“Bottom line: People who expect more (and articulate it) get more.
Here are the four steps for setting your goal:
■Set an optimistic but reasonable goal and define it clearly.
■Write it down.
■Discuss your goal with a colleague (this makes it harder to wimp out).
■Carry the written goal into the negotiation.”


“Summarize and write out in just a couple of sentences the known facts that have led up to the negotiation.”


“You’re going to have to have something to talk about beyond a self-serving assessment of what you want. And you had better be ready to respond with tactical empathy to your counterpart’s arguments; unless they’re incompetent, the other party will come prepared to argue an interpretation of the facts that favors them.”


“Get on the same page at the outset.
You have to clearly describe the lay of the land before you can think about acting in its confines. Why are you there? What do you want? What do they want? Why?
You must be able to summarize a situation in a way that your counterpart will respond with a “That’s right.” If they don’t, you haven’t done it right.”


“Prepare three to five labels to perform an accusation audit.”


“There are fill-in-the-blank labels that can be used in nearly every situation to extract information from your counterpart, or defuse an accusation:
It seems like _________ is valuable to you.
It seems like you don’t like _________.
It seems like you value __________.
It seems like _________ makes it easier.
It seems like you’re reluctant to _________.”


“As an example, if you’re trying to renegotiate an apartment lease to allow subletters and you know the landlord is opposed to them, your prepared labels would be on the lines of “It seems as though you’re not a fan of subletters” or “It seems like you want stability with your tenants.”


“Prepare three to five calibrated questions to reveal value to you and your counterpart and identify and overcome potential deal killers.”


“Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has a great quote that sums up this”


“concept: “You must accept the reality of other people. You think that reality is up for negotiation, that we think it’s whatever you say it is. You must accept that we are as real as you are; you must accept that you are not God.”


“There will be a small group of “What” and “How” questions that you will find yourself using in nearly every situation. Here are a few of them:
What are we trying to accomplish?
How is that worthwhile?
What’s the core issue here?
How does that affect things?
What’s the biggest challenge you face?
How does this fit into what the objective is?”


When implementation happens by committee, the support of that committee is key. You’ll want to tailor your calibrated questions to identify and unearth the motivations of those behind the table, including:
How does this affect the rest of your team?
How on board are the people not on this call?
What do your colleagues see as their main challenges in this area?”


“Think about their perceived losses. Never forget”


What are we up against here?
What is the biggest challenge you face?
How does making a deal with us affect things?
What happens if you do nothing?
What does doing nothing cost you?
How does making this deal resonate with what your company prides itself on?”


“Be ready to execute follow-up labels to their answers to your calibrated questions.
Having labels prepared will allow you to quickly turn your counterpart’s responses back to them, which will keep them feeding you new and expanding information. Again, these are fill-in-the-blank labels that you can use quickly without tons of thought:
It seems like __________ is important.
It seems you feel like my company is in a unique position to __________.
It seems like you are worried that __________.”


“Prepare a list of noncash items possessed by your counterpart that would be valuable.
Ask yourself: “What could they give that would almost get us to do it for free?” Think of the anecdote I told a few chapters ago about my work for the lawyers’ association: My counterpart’s interest was to pay me as little cash as possible in order to look good in front of his board. We came upon the idea that they pay in part by publishing a cover story about me in their magazine. That was low-cost for them and it advanced my interests considerably.