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The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't Hardcover – February 22, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This meticulously researched book, which grew from a much buzzed-about article in the Harvard Business Review, puts into plain language an undeniable fact: the modern workplace is beset with assholes. Sutton (Weird Ideas that Work), a professor of management science at Stanford University, argues that assholes—those who deliberately make co-workers feel bad about themselves and who focus their aggression on the less powerful—poison the work environment, decrease productivity, induce qualified employees to quit and therefore are detrimental to businesses, regardless of their individual effectiveness. He also makes the solution plain: they have to go. Direct and punchy, Sutton uses accessible language and a bevy of examples to make his case, providing tests to determine if you are an asshole (and if so, advice for how to self-correct), a how-to guide to surviving environments where assholes freely roam and a carefully calibrated measure, the "Total Cost of Assholes," by which corporations can assess the damage. Although occasionally campy and glib, Sutton's work is sure to generate discussions at watercoolers around the country and deserves influence in corporate hiring and firing strategies.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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Top customer reviews
I didn't think it deserved the one star ratings, but to each his/her own.
Dr. Sutton takes a no holds barred approach to defining culture up front. Letting the community know what is and is not acceptable behavior. I wish that he would create a study of companies that are this direct in dealing with behavioral problems, bring the concept along further with specifics of what works and what doesn't.
The "avoidance approach" clearly is not a true solution, but as he states in the book if management will not address the organization's asses, and you want to keep your job, it is the best option sometimes.
A few times in my life I've worked in environments where the assholes have kissed upward so much that they are well connected. And poorly skilled career bureaucrats looking to keep their position, single these emotionally inept people out as stars to be heralded - because heralding a well connected asshole makes you an ally. In each of those situations, I've watched the best people move on, managerial incompetence thrive, motivation deteriorate, and a fairyland scenario of pretending flourish. What a sad state of affairs that leads to.
Bringing the difficult concept of an actual asshole present in the mix, naming what is unspoken, is an essential element in this work. Further development of the idea, refinement of behavioral understanding could only continue to develop greater awareness of truly sly assholes that are skilled to be non-confrontational to those above them and non-approachable to those below.
A meeting with such people present vs. absent is like day and night. Personally experiencing this, I saw groups transformed from demotivated-lackluster-lifeless chair slugs to excited-active-contributors. Such culturally (negatively) controlling individuals cost an organization far more than can ever be measured.
The book is worth the read if only for the stories. But, the principles, the validation, are the real meat and potatoes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and if you can't gift it directly, then throw a few copies into envelopes and drop them in your managements' mailboxes. It's about time the pretending to be nice facade gives way to true comprehension of what civility is, and the complete disregard for it will not be tolerated.