Christopher Voss

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Chris Voss
Chris Voss in 2007.
Born (1957-11-28) November 28, 1957 (age 66)
Alma materIowa State University (BS)
Harvard University (MPA)
Occupation(s)Author, business consultant, former FBI hostage negotiator
WebsiteOfficial website

Christopher "Chris" Voss (born 28 November 1957) is an American businessman, author, and academic. Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator,[citation needed] the CEO of The Black Swan Group Ltd, a company registered in East Grinstead, England,[1] and co-author of the book Never Split the Difference.[2] He is an adjunct Professor at Harvard Law School, Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, and a lecturer at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California.[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Voss was born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.[3] He earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University and Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.[citation needed][4][5][6]


Voss was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorism Task Force from 1986 to 2000.[citation needed][7] He was involved in monitoring the New York City landmark bomb plot after spending three years investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, one of 500 agents who were involved in the task.[7][8] He was the "co-case agent" during the investigation of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 explosion.[7]

In 1992, he received hostage negotiation training at the FBI Academy. 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.[9][10][11][12]

In 2006, he was the lead negotiator on the Jill Carroll case in Iraq as well as the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip.[5][10] Voss supervised additional hostage cases in the Philippines, Colombia and Haiti.[5][10][13]

After working on more than 150 international hostage cases, he retired from the FBI in 2007 and founded The Black Swan Group.[7][14][10] The Black Swan Group serves as a consultancy and trainer for both businesses and individuals on negotiation skills.[15] He became an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and a lecturer at the USC Marshall School of Business.[citation needed][16][11][12]

In 2016, Voss co-authored the book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, with journalist Tahl Raz.[17]

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.[5]

Voss is a regular commentator on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, and NPR.[18][19] He has also been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Inc., Variety, and Time.[20][21]

In 2019, he created and narrated a MasterClass, The Art of Negotiation.[22]


  • Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It[23] (2016) ISBN 9781473535169
  • The Full Fee Agent: How to Stack the Odds in Your Favor as a Real Estate Professional (2022) ISBN 1544536631
  • Empathy and Understanding In Business (2024) ISBN 979-8986209791


  1. ^ "BLACK SWAN GROUP LTD. Overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK".
  2. ^ "Amazon Best Sellers: Best Business Negotiating". Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Agule, Rebecca. "An Insider's Guide to Surviving a Kidnapping". The Harvard Law Record. Archived from the original on April 24, 2019. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Riley, Una (Feb 9, 2015). "Una Riley meets Chris Voss". Professional Security Magazine. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Georgetown University Faculty Directory". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Tyre, Peg (Nov 17, 1997). "TWA probe took emotional toll on FBI agents". CNN. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  9. ^ "Chris Voss: Negotiating for Hostages, Negotiating for Business". LA World Affairs Council. Archived from the original on October 16, 2016. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d Vardi, Nathan. "Kidnap Inc". Forbes. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Lam, Bouree (30 April 2015). "Ask a Hostage Negotiator: What's the Best Way to Get a Raise?". The Atlantic. Retrieved Dec 10, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Jacobs, Deborah (Nov 19, 2012). "Three Ways To Negotiate About Anything". Forbes. Retrieved Dec 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Esposito, Richard (Feb 13, 2008). "U.S. Mom: Chavez Only Hope for My Hostage Son". ABC news. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  14. ^ [citation needed]Wartenberg, Steve (Sep 20, 2009). "Negotiating expert wins fans with his 'no' strategy". Columbia Dispatch. Retrieved Dec 14, 2016.
  15. ^ Group, The Black Swan. "Negotiation Services - Black Swan". Retrieved 2021-04-05.
  16. ^ "Chris Voss - Faculty Profile". USC. Retrieved Dec 13, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "Episode 425: An FBI Hostage Negotiator Buys A Car". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  19. ^ "Keynotes & Seminars - Black Swan". The Black Swan Group. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  20. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2015-02-03). "Benderspink Pacts with FBI Vet for Hostage Negotiator Series". Variety. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  21. ^ Glusac, Elaine (2020-02-01). "A Former F.B.I. Negotiator and His Tips for Travel". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  22. ^ Voss, Chris (14 April 2020). "Chris Voss Teaches the Art of Negotiation". Masterclass. Archived from the original on 2020-01-08.
  23. ^ "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]