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The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't Hardcover – February 22, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 335 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; 1 edition (February 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446526568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446526562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This book has clearly struck a cord, for good reason: it's an important book about an important topic. People are tired of having their workplaces poisoned by the behavior of a few a-holes.

I know Bob through Stanford so I admit that I may be biased, but I know lots of people who have written management books and haven't endorsed them. Bob has thought deeply about this topic as a researcher, teacher, and expert on organizations. The book is not only wise, it's a pleasure to read. Bob is great at taking solid research and making it relevant and fun.

Here are three reasons to buy this book:

1) Understand your workplace. This book weaves together front-line academic research on why powerful people behave badly, how workplaces can become toxic, and why bad behavior spreads like a virus (but optimism can as well).

2) Fix your workplace. For anyone who has put up with nasty bosses and demeaning coworkers, this book shows you how organizations ranging from law firms to retail stores, from JetBlue to Google, have protected their employees from bad behavior.

3) Change your interactions. This book shows you how to avoid being a victim of a-holes in your workplace and community. It also helps you recognize when you might be the a-hole, and gives you hints on how to achieve your goals without lapsing into bad behavior.

Bob has the reputation among students and faculty of being one of the nicest people at our university and he works in a group of researchers that has the reputation of being an extremely supportive place for graduate students. Universities often breed arrogant behavior, so Bob's reputation (and that of his group) testifies to his ability to put ideas into practice. This book will help you and your organization.
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