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Office Politics: How to Thrive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks [Paperback]

Oliver James
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jan 2014

The modern working world is a dangerous place, where game-playing, duplicity and sheer malevolence are rife. Do talent and hard work count for nothing? Is politics everything?

In this fascinating exposé, Oliver James reveals the murky underside of modern office life. With cutting-edge research and eye-opening interviews, he highlights the nasty practices that propel people to the top and shows how industries and cultures are fostering this behaviour.

He then divulges strategies and techniques for not only surviving but thriving in these difficult environments. With the right mindset, you can distinguish and deal with toxic and overpromoted colleagues, charm your way through interviews and use office politics to your advantage.

Office Politics will overthrow your perceptions of office life and set you on a new path to success.

Frequently Bought Together

Office Politics: How to Thrive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks + Be Bulletproof: How to achieve success in tough times at work + 21 Dirty Tricks at Work: How to Win at Office Politics
Price For All Three: £20.97

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vermilion (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091923964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091923969
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"I can't remember the last time I read such a useful and eye-opening book. But be warned: after reading it, you may never want to go to work again." (Mail on Sunday)

"Oliver James is excellent at showing why social scientists think that the surge in material affluence can produce the opposite of happiness." (Avner Offer, Professor of Economic History, University of Oxford)

Book Description

A fascinating exposé of office culture, in the style of the bestselling Affluenza, from popular psychologist Oliver James

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrive or survive? 17 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating analyis of the triadic personality and ways of coping with such people. I wish, however, that the author had spent even more time on describing the kind of pain that is undergone by the victims of the triadic personality. I understand only too well the deep suffering that can be caused by the narcissistic, machiavellian psychopath who sets out to destroy any critic who dares to expose them for what they are. What is especially terrifying is that such triadic characters do indeed frequently occupy powerful positions and frequently have the kind of charisma that can totally mislead even the most intelligent and kindly of people. Consequently, critics are often left to fight alone against them.The only way to thrive in the company of such psychopaths is to devote yourself to a lifetime of sycophancy. Alternatively, get as far away from them as possible as soon as you can - whatever the cost. And if you are fortunate enough to have the insight to see them coming, avoid them like the plague in the first place. Otherwise you may not survive, let alone thrive.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Despite the title, you dont need to work in an office to make use of this book.
I work in a privately run prison, and this book helped to understand the attitudes of those people i already knew i could not trust. And, i dont mean prisoners!
Even if, like me, you have no interest in playing the political game to get ahead this uncovers the methodology of how they do what they do, and how to protect yourself. I am a union rep ('career limiting' in itself) and have to dance around the corporate bod's a un-fair bit, and this book will prove invaluable in understanding the motivations of the endless levels of managers i have to deal with. If i know what makes them tick i can plan accordingly.

We have become a nation of office dwellers, who are led by successive corrupt governments, and this has ingrained a certainmentality into the British people on a massive scale. Whether you want to plaay the 'game' or just be left alone, this book is will give you the knowledge to understand thse around you. How you use it is up to you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The first part of the book analyses why office politics is hard - objective measures of performance are normally hard to come by, especially when team performance is in question and the issue is how far an individual is valued - there is competition for scarce resources (such as promotion) - and then the people who get on can be psychopaths (think Stalin, says James), machiavels (think Henry Kissinger, says James) or narcissists (think: Madonna or Maradona, says James) - or even all three.

The second part of the book tells you what to do about it: learn to act, learn to read people, ingratiate yourself, be assertive, and make your conscientiousness, honesty and rationality work for you.

The book is based on 50 interviews, a reading of research literature, some personal experience, and it seems clear from the text some background in psychoanalytical theory (James recommends a 16 session course of psychotherapy and also being on the lookout for project in everyday life).

The basic propositions in this book are well worth getting to grips with.

But if I was left feeling less impressed than I'd hoped to be, my feeling was that James had rather over-simpiflied life. This is partly that the theory is not quite as well worked through as I'd have liked. It is impressive to talk about a 'dark triad' of psychopathy, machiavellianism and narcissism, but while no-one would want to be a psychopath (although James does also say at one point: think James Bond), machiavellianism seems more neutral (James says at one point: think Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi), and narcissism has its pros as well as its cons (there'a an interesting book about narcissistic leaders by Maccoby; and you might think as a more positive example of this, think Steve Jobs).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more 18 Feb 2014
By y
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I expected more, it does not really offer any new approah as how to cope, it just states the obvious. I found it to be negative and gave up on it.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Office Machiavels 10 Feb 2013
By Dr Barry Clayton TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The author has written several very useful books about this country's mental health, for example,'Affluenza' about the anxiety resulting from the pursuit of money.He has also worked in television for several years. This book, like his previous ones, is well-written and very entertaining.

His main point is that office work is very stressful because the CEO and other senior personnel are selfish, cold, ruthless and manipulative. He calls them 'Machiavels'. He describes others as being akin to clinical psychopaths. another group he says desire dominance and power over everyone. Lump the groups together and you have what he calls 'Triads'.

James thesis is that the nature of work today encourages triads. This is hardly new.
He gives several ways of dealing with the problems of working in an office. These include:the ability to read others, sucking up to the right people and networking. Again hardly new.

The problem I have with this book is that while it is well worth reading it is full of the obvious. It is also overblown. Many offices are not like the ones James describes. One wonders if his stint in television has warped his views because the office politics in that environment are indeed pure Machiavellian.

Do read but don't let it put you off accepting an office job.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 1 month ago by Lana Germanova
5.0 out of 5 stars Be animal and get a disguise if you want to survive.
As the nation's well known psychotherapist Oliver James has a penchant for telling it like it is and stripping away the sheen, the preen and the God only knows chaff. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joseph Augustine
3.0 out of 5 stars qwerrdsdfggfrrf
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Published 1 month ago by Psychophysicist
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
A fascinating perspective on office politics. I have recommended this book to many people who agree it has helped them to identify and cope better with the grief they have... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Spinning Jennie
4.0 out of 5 stars life not as we know it!
Interesting guide to some of the most repulsive people we have to meet which is then tempered by some sound but obvious advice. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lotta Continua
3.0 out of 5 stars Survival kit for new-starts at office.
I think it is a great read for new starters to the world of work. It analyses and gives clear description of personalities & characters you may encounter at your office (it clearly... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read
There are office politics everywhere. It is well worth reading this book as he gives examples of behaviour and discusses what you can do to counteract it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ag siúl
2.0 out of 5 stars Very bad writing style. Hard to trust the advice.
I've only gotten to page 25 so far and already there are enough negatives to motivate me to write this review. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gsp
4.0 out of 5 stars I survived to tell the tale
Working with someone who must have been the model for the boss combining all three psychopath, narcissist and machiavellian tendencies to make "The Dark Triad" (I think... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chubworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational
I'd recommend this book to anyone who is working in the UK. Sadly, the work culture here is only rarely meritocratic, so everyone needs enlightenment and advice about the politics... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Eva
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