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The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Expletive or not, by the end of this book, listeners will be desensitized to the word "asshole," which is said hundreds of times in this audiobook. Sutton's premise seems pretty simple: get rid of arrogant jerks in the work place from every level of an organization. Through each chapter, he explores a different aspect of assholes, from identifying the type to dealing with them to what one should do if they believe they are an asshole to why it may be beneficial to keep one or two around. You'd think with a title like The No Asshole Rule, some humor would follow, but that's where the book falters. It's too serious and often too simplistic in its resolutions for curing the asshole problem at work. Sutton's reading of his own words lacks conviction. The interview with the author at the end proves interesting since his answers feel more candid than the rehearsed words of the audiobook.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

We all know them or know of them--the jerks and bullies at work who demean, criticize, and sap the energy of others, usually their underlings. It could be the notorious bad boss or the jealous coworker, but everyone agrees that they make life miserable for their victims and create a hostile and emotionally stifling environment. Fed up with how these creeps treat others and poison the workplace, Sutton declares war and comes out calling them exactly what they are--"certified assholes." Caricatured in sitcoms such as The Office, these brutes are too often tolerated until irreparable damage is done to individuals and the organization as a whole. Sutton's "no asshole rule" puts a stop to the abuse in no uncertain terms. Similar rules have transformed such companies as JetBlue, the Men's Wearhouse, and Google into shining examples of workplaces where positive self-esteem creates a more productive, motivated, and satisfied workforce. If you have ever been a victim, just reading Sutton's analysis brings calm relief, empowerment, and reassurance that you're not alone. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446698202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446698207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (303 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Sutton is a Stanford Professor, organizational researcher, and best-selling author. His six management books include New York Times bestsellers "The No A**hole Rule" and "Good Boss, Bad Boss." His forthcoming book (with Stanford's Huggy Rao) is "Scaling Up Excellence." It is the first major management book on tackling this crucial and universal challenge, and is the product of a seven-year effort by Rao and Sutton. To learn more about the book, read new posts and articles on scaling, and to contribute your own story or ask Rao and Sutton questions, please visit www.scalingupexcellence.com.

Sutton was named as one of 10 "B-School All-Stars" by BusinessWeek, described as "professors who are influencing contemporary business thinking far beyond academia." Sutton is an IDEO Fellow and co-founder of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Center for Work, Technology and Organization, and Stanford Design Institute (the "d.school"). He has written over 100 academic and popular articles and chapters, and over 1000 blog posts. He often leads workshops and gives speeches about his books and is academic director of several Stanford executive programs including Leading for Strategic Execution and (with Huggy Rao) Customer-focused Innovation. Sutton blogs at www.bobsutton.net and tweets @work_matters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

292 of 304 people found the following review helpful By S. Johnson on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am not one who typically reviews books. I do have to say that the No A**hole Rule was an excellent book both in researched content and personality. I was able to read this book in one sitting. It is very topical for anyone who shares a workplace with A**holes or demeaning people. I am sure that most of us do not have the luxury of avoiding these people on a day to day basis. If so, let me know where you work .

For the most part, it is inevitable that we have to deal with these people face to face. This is the first book that doesn't skirt around the facts of diagnosing these people as a**holes (by there actions) and giving effective advice on how to deal with them or not be one of them.

Bob Sutton's List of The Dirty Dozen Common Everyday Actions That A**holes Use

1. Personal insults

2. Invading one's personal territory

3. Uninvited personal contact

4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal

5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems

6. Withering email flames

7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims

8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals

9. Rude interruptions

10. Two-faced attacks

11. Dirty looks

12. Treating people as if they are invisible

The Author sites companies that have effectively instilled a "No A**hole Rule" because they have realized that the true cost of the A**hole runs deeper than the A**hole's salary (TCA or Total Cost of A**holes). It truly can diminish productivity in the office, increase employee turnover, stifle communication, and lower employee self esteem and health. The book explains how to implement a No A**hole Rule at any organization.
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402 of 428 people found the following review helpful By E. Gerber on February 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have never written a review on Amazon, but feel strongly about writing a review for Sutton's No A**hole book because I feel many people whose might be concerned about the "taboo" title might not look beyond it and do themselves a great disservice.

As a female professional, I felt highly empowered reading this book. Dr. Sutton acknowledges the bullying and crass behavior that frequently occurs in the workplace and offers concrete ways to combat these trying individuals. I have already practiced his technique of publicly discounting bullying behavior with great success.

I found his suggestions for handling office place bullies - as both a superior and subordinate actions extremely smart and well-grounded. This book is based on sound social psychology and organizational research and does a great service to workers throughout the world.

I have dog earred many pages of the book and expect it to be a handy reference for many years to come.
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257 of 272 people found the following review helpful By D. Buxman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll make my review brief, since this is a little book with a very concise point. Basically, life is far too short to tolerate jerks in the workplace. It's easy to spot these people based upon the havoc they wreak and the fact that they always choose targets with less power than themselves. This book provides terrific strategies for dealing with jerks, whether you are in management and want to weed them out, or are unfortunate enough to be working under them.

One of my favorite lines in the book is: " Passion is an overrated virtue in organizational life, and indifference is an underrated virtue." While self-professed management gurus who have never had a real job like to trumpet passion in the workplace (and implicitly accept jerk-like behavior), Dr. Sutton points out that sometimes a bit of detachment goes a long way in making life bearable. This is a book about picking your battles and doing what you can to make your workplace enjoyable. It is a quick, interesting and easy read.
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178 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Mennonite Lady on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The reason I bought this book was the finer print inside of it's title: "Surviving One That Isn't." This book gave countless examples of mega-(_|_)'s in the workplace, but unless you're a trust-fund baby, we've all worked with our share and don't need endless examples and reminders of why we bought this book. What we need is, what we expect the book to deliver, sound advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape that's riddled with these bastards, while not becoming one of their roadkill along the way.

I really wanted to like this book. It had been highly recommended by a colleague and I'd researched the author and read some of his previously published articles before I actually purchased the book. However, that's precisely my other issue with this book-it was my experience that the author had taken a few previously published articles, and then tried to stretch them out into a book. To that end, throughout the book there were the same few corporate case-studies being used in the examples.

If you want to be reminded of how awful these types of jerks can be, go buy the book, but don't expect any relief from it.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Tina Seelig on March 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is both insightful and entertaining. Professor Sutton doesn't just point out to us that we are often surrounded by people who are self-absorbed and mean-spirited. He gives us case studies that illuminate the spectrum of this behavior, how it evolves, and how best to deal with it. I found the book extremely empowering, especially the story of Andrea who is able to identify people who are going to make her life miserable and extracts herself before she is drawn into the downward spiral of dealing with colleagues who are going to make her life unbearable.

One of the important features of the book is that it doesn't assume that everyone should be sickly sweet all the time. Professor Sutton acknowledges that at times being a jerk is a strategy. Some managers and customers call upon this "tool" at times in order to get things done. We should all be aware that this is an option that we always have at our disposal. But, it should be used with great caution.

I highly recommend this book. I read it on the plane and everyone around me asked about it... The conversation that followed was fascinating as everyone had their own story to tell that supported Professor Sutton's ideas.
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