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Asshole: How I Got Rich & Happy by Not Giving a Damn About Anyone & How You Can, Too Hardcover – April 8, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
This strange, semi-parodic business self-help memoir from author and journalist Kihn (formerly of Spy magazine) details the writer's attempt to throw off, at age 40, the nice-guy habits that were killing him ("defects like consideration, politeness, giving a fuck what you think") and discover the winning Asshole within. After setting some ground rules ("Things I Would Not Do," including substance abuse, adultery and smiling), Kihn finds himself a role model ("the Nemesis," a classic jerk at the office), a life coach (typical advice: "Walk bigger") and starts putting his philosophy into action. Laying out his narrative in ten steps, Kihn's "experiments" take him into the boxing ring, through dog training, into public confrontation and, naturally, toward wisdom, success and happiness. Kihn is generally funny, especially in goofy asides like "Meditation for Assholes" (affirmations include "I constantly feel a nameless dread which inspires me"), but, in keeping with the theme, he's often crude. Whether it works, ultimately, will depend on one's reaction to the ending, in which Kihn Learns a Valuable Lesson. Like an above-average Adam Sandler movie, this mix of racy humor and overt sentiment will probably get both a bigger audience, and less credit, than it deserves.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Praise for A$$hole:
“A$$hole is remarkably profane, laugh-out-loud funny, and surprisingly sentimental. Marty Kihn is one Grade A A$$hole.” —Rory Freedman, coauthor Skinny Bitch
“Prepare to be riveted and to laugh out loud. What’s it like when the nice guy finally decides to take the bull by the horns to become like those complete jerks who seem to get all the girls, all the cash, and all the glory? Through humor and vivid storytelling, Martin Kihn takes you through that journey until he discovers an astonishing lesson.” —John Alexander, author of How to Become an Alpha Male
“A$$hole is the funniest business book I’ve ever read, with Kihn starring as the world’s most loveable asshole. It is also remarkably useful in a sick sort of way. If you want to get rich through fear and intimidation, and don’t mind hurting people along the way, this is the book for you.” —Robert Sutton, author of New York Times bestseller The No Asshole Rule
Top customer reviews
The concept of Kihn's book is inherently attractive to anyone who's ever felt like they're being taken advantage of because they're just too nice. Kihn had that feeling and decided to do something about it by making himself into this book's title character. That's the first thing that sets this book apart from a typical farce, it taps into an anxiety that is all too familiar for a lot of us.
The second thing that makes this book a lot better than it might have been is how carefully Kihn cultivates a sense of going on an existential journey. He hires guides and advisers, finally stumbling upon an acting coach as his most successful "guru." As you read, you pick up on subtle changes in tone as Kihn transforms himself from Beta male to the not-so-kind leader of the pack. Kihn packs the book with one funny scenario and description after another, but he always holds onto the core philosophical question about whether nice guys do really finish last. To find out the answer, you'll just have to read the book.
It's Kihn's ability to successfully marry the shallow with the deep that lifts this book above its station. So why just four stars? Well, it's still a book about attempting to be a jerk to make your life better. We have to leave some room for War and Peace.
Recommended for anyone looking for a light and funny read with a soul who can handle a generous helping of vulgarity along the way.
Basically, he's a little bit of all of us. He's a down to Earth guy who plays by the rules and has a good heart. Even when he outlines his rules of being an ahole, he won't for instance cheat on his wife. He says it's because he's afraid of retaliation, but read through the book and you'll no doubt see that's not the case at all - he truly loves his wife and considers her his closest friend. But such sentiment doesn't jibe with the image of being an ahole that he's trying to create.
Going through the book, you find a guy that loves his wife, loves dogs, cares about the 'little' people, and constantly goes out of his way to be a decent human being. He mentions this as proof of how he always gets pushed around and beaten down, but his 'miserable' life is one that few people could keep from envying (Loving attractive wife, Vice President of his company, liked by all of his employees, a really awesome dog etc etc)
The jerks in the book that he aspires to become are so utterly loathsome (As bad as "Nemisis" is, the short bald guy in the rental care line is the worst) that it's clear he could never truly be like any of them. But as he transforms, he really is funny and entertaining.
And even after he becomes a full fledged ahole, well, I don't think it really worked. It's a really funny book and one that I think pretty much anyone can relate to. Throughout it, he's showing that even though aholes seem to win so often, they really don't.
No spoilers here but Kihn once again describes situations that many of us consultants occasionally find ourselves in. The fact that he can laugh about them and make us laugh about them as well is what keeps us coming back. Hell, it's sometimes what gives me the strength to stop screeming in my parked car and actually go into my office! Thanks Marty!
Safe to say half the things Marty did, I've done myself. LOL, but the internal dialogs are spot on. I enjoyed every moment of the book.
Most recent customer reviews
I think most people probably feel like Marty sometime. Classic