Christopher Voss

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Christopher Voss
OccupationAuthor, business consultant, former FBI hostage negotiator
EducationMasters of Public Administration
Alma materHarvard University's Kennedy School of Government
Notable workNever Split The Difference
Official website

Christopher Voss is an American businessman, author, and professor. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator, the CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd, and co-author of the book, Never Split the Difference. He is an adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and a lecturer at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.

Early life and education[edit]

Voss was born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.[1] He graduated from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government with a Masters of Public Administration.[2][3]


Voss was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force from 1986 to 2000.[4] He was involved in monitoring of the TERRSTOP bombers after spending three years investigating the first bombing of the World Trade Center.[4][5] He was the "co-case agent" during the investigation of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 explosion.[4]

In 1992 he received hostage negotiator training at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's school. He spent 24 years working in the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and was the FBI's chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007.[6][7][8][9]

In 2006 he was the lead negotiator on the Jill Caroll case in Iraq as well the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip.[3][7] Voss also supervised additional hostage cases in the Philippines, Colombia and Haiti.[3][7][10]

After working on more than 150 international hostage cases he retired from the FBI in 2007 and founded The Black Swan Group.[4][11][7] He later became an adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and a lecturer at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.[12][8][9]

In 2016 Voss co-authored the book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.[13]

Voss was given the Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement as well as the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.[3]


Year Title
2016 Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It[14]


  1. ^ Roth, Clare; Kieffer, Ben (Jul 12, 2016). "FBI Kidnapping Negotiatior and Iowa Native Explains Why You Should "Never Split the Difference"". Retrieved Dec 30, 2019.
  2. ^ Agule, Rebecca. "An Insider's Guide to Surviving a Kidnapping". The Harvard Law Record. The Harvard Law Record. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Riley, Una (Feb 9, 2015). "Una Riley meets Chris Voss". Professional Security Magazine. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Graf, Garret (2011). The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316120883. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Tyre, Peg (Nov 17, 1997). "TWA probe took emotional toll on FBI agents". CNN. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Staff Writer. "Chris Voss: Negotiating for Hostages, Negotiating for Business". LA World Affairs Council. LA World Affairs Council. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Vardi, Nathan. "Kidnap Inc". Forbes. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Lam, Bouree. "Ask a Hostage Negotiator: What's the Best Way to Get a Raise?". The Atlantic. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Jacobs, Deborah (Nov 19, 2012). "Three Ways To Negotiate About Anything". Forbes. Retrieved Dec 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Esposito, Richard (Feb 13, 2008). "U.S. Mom: Chavez Only Hope for My Hostage Son". ABC news. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Wartenberg, Steve (Sep 20, 2009). "Negotiating expert wins fans with his 'no' strategy". Columbia Dispatch. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  12. ^ Staff writer. "Chris Voss - Faculty Profile". USC. USC. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Lebowitz, Shana. "A former FBI hostage negotiator says there's one question you should ask when you can't get the salary you want". Business Insider. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016.
  14. ^ "Review of Chris Voss' famous negotiation book: 'Never Split the Difference. Negotiating as if your life depended on it'". Dec 26, 2018.

External links[edit]