• Lars Christensen

Start with No by Jim Camp~2 minute read


I finished this book in October 2021. I recommend this book 4/10.

"Start with No" is about negotiating in business. It is hard not to compare this to "Never split the difference" by Chris Voss. "Never split the difference" is a lot more detailed, better storytelling, and I was successful in negotiating a ridiculous deal on a used car (it was an unpleasant experience) using the tricks from that book.

Get your copy of "Start with No" here.

Get your copy of "Never split the difference" here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • At first blush, in fact, it will sound crazy to many readers, but here it goes: The wise negotiator knows that only one person in a negotiation can feel okay, and that person is the adversary.

  • What really happens when we make a bad decision? We make another decision, and then another, and then another, and then another. Negotiations are a series of decisions. When—not if, but when—you make a bad decision, you simply follow it with a better one. Understanding this simple lesson will liberate you as a negotiator.

  • He had failed to stick to his knitting, as Grand-mom used to say. This happens a lot, of course. Someone starts out selling ice cream cones, then starts making the ice cream, then buys his own cows—and then figures he might as well open a butcher shop as well.

  • The distinction between a goal and a result (or objective, as it's commonly labeled). Goals you can control, objectives you cannot. By following your behavioral goals, you get your objectives.

  • "Okay, let's cut to the chase," because this may mean that the time-and-energy budget for the adversary is reaching its allotted total and that they are seeing the pain very clearly, and they're finally just about willing and able to make an effective decision. For your own part, make certain that you do have "all the time in the world"—and if you don't, be ready to walk away. Remember, you only want this deal; you do not need this deal. They may now need this deal. Crucial difference.

  • If you have worked effectively to paint the pain, a presentation is simply a waste of time and energy. If you have not painted the pain, the presentation is no substitute for your failure to do so, and it won't do you any good now.

  • Present only the information that addresses your adversary's concern, the information that addresses the adversary's pain—or what you know about it, which is probably not much, or you wouldn't be presenting in the first place.

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