18 December 2007

Book: The No Asshole Rule

I finally finished reading the famous book by Robert I. Sutton (PhD), professor at Stanford University. Bob's book is called "The No Asshole Rule".

Professor Sutton won't bore you with politically correct, scientific lingo. In fact, the first sentence of the book is:
When I encounter a mean-spirited person, the first thing I think is: "Wow, what an asshole!"
This book manages to combine scientific research with real world stories in a way that everybody can understand and relate to.

You will get information about studies regarding bullying, emotional abuse and harassment at the workplace. But in the end, Sutton will still call the "├╝ber-jerks" (see chapter 3) by their real name: assholes.

The book contains descriptions and definitions of abusive bosses and co-workers, examples and tips for surviving and leaving an asshole-infested work environment and, probably most important of all, recommendations that will help you realize that you're an asshole or help you avoid becoming one.

Chapter 6 is almost shocking as it describes the advantages of behaving like an asshole. But this only shows that Sutton analyzes a topic from every possible angle as the true scientist he is.

Here are some of the references that the trivia fans and celebrity addicts will enjoy: The Godfather, Virgin's Richard Branson, Disney's Michael Eisner, Google's Sergey Brin and many more.
(Prize question: which ones are the assholes? Oh, I forgot to mention Steve Jobs!)

And still, in the end there's no doubt that this book is not trivialized pop-science, but rather solid research explained in a way that even I can understand.

Bob Sutton's blog: Work Matters

The Self-Test from chapter 4 is also available online:
ARSE (Asshole Rating Self-Exam)
It's not really about "Am I an asshole or not?" but rather "where do I, or may I, behave like an asshole?".

2 weeks ago I was a 4 ("You don't sound like a certified asshole"). Today I'm a 5 ("You sound like a borderline certified asshole"). I'm not as nice as I used to be...

Do the test and post your score in the comments!


Anonymous said...

I'm a 6 so I'm borderline. I'm ok with that...I think most people are borderline. Until they cross the border that is.

Anonymous said...

Hi Etienne,

I took the test and I was a 0. Which made me immediately wonder if I'm actually a jerk and just don't know it. I'm hoping it's reflective of the fact that I've learned how not to be, thanks to several truly !@#$ managers I've encountered over the years. Each question immediately brought back an ugly memory...

I look forward to recommending it to some of the executives I know who would definitely score high - and probably be proud of it. My fingers are crossed at least one of them has the "Ah-ha Moment' they need.

Thanks so much for letting me know about the book/test!

Ask a Manager said...

I'm a 2. Am I pushover?! :)

Unknown said...

I'm a 10.

Damn right.

Anonymous said...

I'm only an 8. Must try harder.

Unknown said...

I'm a seven - is that good or bad...?

Rose said...

I'm an 8 and I'm ok with that:)

Happy Employee said...

Ask A Manager, your post New Managers And Authority confirms that you are definitely not a pushover ;-)

BlindManNoFish said...

This is as old as old can be, in Internet terms, but I glanced over the comments and couldn't help but notice that the true a-holes seem always to be the ones who are proud of it. It's like a positive feedback process. Being an a-hole is something that they derive something personally satisfying out of, and they don't care in the slightest how it affects others.

This is quite similar to cancer cells, as it appears to me. We may do well to recognize that procedures to remove cancer can be very invasive to the host. The 'good' people/workplaces ARE that host. They must be able to, as individuals or a group, gather the gumption to stick it to the a-holes.

For my part, I've already expended a lot of money and time taking an a-hole boss to court for harrassment/discrimination, and now I find myself working for another little Hitler. But I won't tell the 10's to kiss my ass--that would grant them satisfaction. What I will do is pwn them everytime I come across them, because I have a brain to be a grade AAA a-hole if I choose to, and I only choose to when it concerns ridding the workplace of cancer.