3 Books You Must Read in the 1st Quarter of 2019 to Become a Better Negotiator


If you’re looking to sustain a competitive advantage, make a habit out of reading. Devoting yourself to just one chapter a night will keep negotiating tactics top of mind and turn you into a natural.

For 2019, I recommend getting started by reading these three books, along with Never Split The Difference, if you are serious about taking your life to the next level. What we are capable of as human beings is amazing, and these three books will help you get there. Please also read my note to you after the end of this list.

negotiation books

1. The Talent Code—Daniel Coyle

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle is a book on accelerated learning, specifically on how to increase your learning rate by 3x (or even up to 10x). Our company has personally adopted these principles and is now applying the same techniques to all of our training curriculums.

If you’re looking to become a better negotiator, this book will give you the foundation to build on. What’s special about this read is that it teaches you skills you will apply to nearly every aspect of your life. What other books can do that?

Daniel Coyle is a great researcher and writer, filling his book with very useful, immediately applicable ideas that you can start using today.

2. The Rise of Superman—Steven Kotler

The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler is about increasing your focus, mental endurance, and decision-making. Specifically, Kotler discusses the subject of “flow,” a term that describes what athletes refer to as being in the zone.

Flow has become popularized as a result of X-Games athletes who routinely perform feats that were once thought to be superhuman.

In 1967, Evel Knievel crashed his motorcycle trying to jump over the fountain at Caesars Palace casino in Las Vegas. In 2006, Mike Metzger backflipped his motorcycle over that same fountain. What’s the difference? Flow. This is your ability to process information and perform like Superman.  

Is this skill transferable to the rest of our endeavors—like negotiation? Read The Rise of Superman and you’ll soon find out that the answer is yes. Understanding the ideas behind flow and the flow state will make you both more successful and happier.

3. Barking Up the Wrong Tree—Eric Barker

Thirdly, Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker is a great book covering all things success—or the science of success, as Eric Barker would put it. End to end. All aspects of your life. 

Eric is an entertaining, funny, and engaging writer who has read a ridiculous number of books about success in life. Personal success and relationship success. Happiness. He then distills what he’s read and makes sense of it. He’s a regular guy who’s just trying to understand many of the things that make this world both a wonderful place to live in and at the same time a frustrating, mysterious, and maddening proposition.

If Eric had written this book while I was still teaching at USC (or Georgetown or Harvard, for that matter), I have no doubt that it would have been part of the assigned reading.

In addition to his book, he also writes a blog with the same name. I’ve regularly referenced his posts as a reading list of sorts, and you should too.

The Takeaway

Read. You must read.  

What do Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Cuban all have in common? They each made a habit of reading five hours every week. In fact, Mark Cuban reads more than three hours almost every day and Warren Buffet reads up to five hours a day.

A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus said, “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

In your life, you have the capability to be the one in whatever it is that you do. Read. It will help you get there.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for something to read on a weekly basis, subscribe to The Black Swan Group’s weekly negotiation newsletter, “The Edge.” Short, concise, actionable. “The Edge” comes out every Tuesday morning and is a great way to get your week rolling. Tons of people love it as a great supplement to Never Split The Difference.

increase sales

About The Author

Christopher Voss is the CEO of The Black Swan Group, a firm that solves business negotiation problems with hostage negotiation strategies. Chris founded the Black Swan Group, in 2008 upon his retirement from the FBI where he was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he teaches business negotiation in both M.B.A. programs.