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How to Work for an Idiot: Survive & Thrive Without Killing Your Boss Paperback – January 1, 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Hoover, PhD, is a popular executive coach and leadership/communications consultant. In former lives, he was a writer, line producer, and project director for the Marketing/Entertainment Division at The Disney Company and a divisional general manager with McGraw-Hill. He has helped dozens of clients in the corporate and public sectors, including ABC Television, Delta Air Lines, The Disney Channel, HBO, IBM, Hilton Hotels, Motorola/Verizon, Xerox, and many more. His clients welcomed him, praised his work...and sometimes even waited until he left the building before completely ignoring his advice. Dr. Hoover teaches at Fielding Graduate University and leads the Executive Coaching Practice at Partners in Human Resources International. He is the

author of more than a dozen books on leadership, creativity, and high performance. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Career Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564147045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564147042
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kent Ponder on June 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up while with my son in a Kinko's copy shop, and was pleasantly surprised. As a past employe, then president and owner of two national-distribution corporations, I've read a variety of business books, and must say I disagree with the negative reviews here, based upon taking this book too seriously. I have found Hoover's book to contain marvelous, David Sedaris-style wit and panache, though I do acknowledge that its value as humor exceeds its worth as a practical workplace guide.

In fact, the book is such a humorous parody, it really should be catalogued as "Humor" instead of "Business," as is inappropriately indicated on the back cover. A person who picks this up thinking it's mainly a business book can end up irritated, as other reviews here reveal.

I'll let just one example suffice as indicative of how humor is prioritized over practical business value. Hoover advises you to wear suits that are too large so that your boss will think you're earning too little to afford enough food.

In my opinion, the section on how to be promoted by being transparent and unnoticed, alone, is worth the price of the book. Essentially, in this section Hoover explains, tongue in cheek, how to advance yourself by being unnoticed until you're the last person standing, after the CEO has been arrested and the other replacement candidates are under indictment.

If you appreciate people like Sedaris and even Dave Letterman, I think this book will provide you a lot of insightful humor. I think caustic reviewers took this book much too seriously -- and -- seriously missed the point.
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Format: Paperback
I, like others, picked up this book while waiting in a kinkos for the latest i-boss crisis to print. The value of the laugh I got when I shared it with several co-workers and consultants was worth the price of the book right there. But it wasn't until a couple weeks later that I picked up the book in utter desperation to talk me out of killing my boss that I realized its true value: the advice cleverly packaged inside the sarcastic humor (is there any better way to proffer advice?)

I know if I say this it will sound like I'm exaggerating for effect, but I'm not kidding when I say that this book saved my job. I've always been the one in the room willing to call attention to the white elephant in the room...not something most idiot bosses particularly appreciate. Dr John's book allowed me the ability to let go of my mission to "state the truth with humor and sarcasm" without feeling that I've completely surrendered to the corporate suck-up rules. Okay, so maybe John simply speaks my language, but I really do need to know how to be a teensy bit more political (aka telling my boss that his stupid ideas really have value so that I can get back to work and maybe even get ahead someday) in my job without feeling that I'm cooperating with the evil empire.

Even a comment like, "wear a large suit to make it look to your boss like you don't make enough money" has a hidden message that indirect, nonverbal clues might be a better way to make a subliminal statement because some bosses just can't handle direct communication.

Thank you, Dr John, for your insight, humor, and liferope. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to look inside to their own inner stupidity and find grace there to deal with others'.
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Format: Paperback
How to Work for an Idiot flows along and seems like Dr. John and the reader are sitting and enjoying a glass of wine together. Bringing in humor before the real meat is a fun way to learn. The 12-step program for recovering idiots was stimulating and fun to read. I liked the point that said, "We need to succeed in spite of the idiots in our lives." Real wonderful, solid advice. I laughed aloud at the line, "I never realized what it was like to work for an idiot until I became self-employed." The stories are excellent...strong points laced with laugh-aloud, self-deprecating humor. Dr. John has a winner on his hands.
Stew Leonard
Founder, Stew Leonard's
One of FORTUNE Magazine's 30 Best Companies to Work for in America
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Format: Paperback
If the 'competent leadership vacuum common to most organizations' has driven you nearly insane, you need to read this book. It has a lot of strategies for changing your mindset (since you can't change what he doesn't have). The book leads you from wanting to strangle your boss to realizing that idiots are people too (including the idiot reading the book).
Best nickname for an ineffective boss: Mr. Cellophane
Best individual insight: Idiot bosses seek rigidity in their lives as a substitute for competency.
Best committee insight: Groupthink occurs when members of a group disguise anonymity as unanimity at the expense of quality.
Best advice: You must look at the good things in life and the bad things in life and say 'well, all right then' to both.
Negatives: The methods for getting along with your idiot boss range from simple camouflage to outright manipulation. Chapters are loosely organized around 12-step programs, but the content is not closely tied to this concept, so it distracts from the otherwise good material.
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