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The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't [Hardcover]

Robert I. Sutton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Feb 2007
When the Harvard Business Review asked Robert Sutton for suggestions for its annual list of Breakthrough Ideas, he told them that the best business practice he knew of was 'the no asshole rule'. Sutton's piece became one of the most popular articles ever to appear in the HBR. Spurred on by the fear and despair that people expressed, the tricks they used to survive with dignity in asshole-infested places, the revenge stories that made him laugh out loud and the other small wins that they celebrated against mean-spirited people, Sutton was persuaded to write THE NO ASSHOLE RULE. He believes passionately that civilised workplaces are not a naive dream, that they do exist, do bolster performance and that widespread contempt can be erased and replaced with mutual respect when a team or organisation is managed right. There is a huge temptation by executives and those in positions of authority to overlook this trait especially when exhibited by so-called producers, but Sutton shows how overall productivity suffers when the workplace is subjected to this kind of stress.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; First Edition First Printing edition (22 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446526568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446526562
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14.7 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Entertaining and important ... This book is a blow for humanity as well as management (OBSERVER)

This meticulously researched book . . . puts into plain language an undeniable fact: the modern workplace is beset with a**holes . . . Sure to generate discussion around watercoolers (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

The definitive guide to understanding, counteracting, and not becoming an a**hole. I am qualified to make this judgment because (a) I've been an a**hole a few times and (b) been a victim of a**holes more than a few times (Guy Kawasaki)

A wry and useful look at the patterns of bullying in the workplace (IRISH TIMES) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

THE NO ASSHOLE RULE will be a manifesto for the masses who feel oppressed by the jerks they work with, serve and struggle to lead. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas and well written 27 Feb 2007
It is a combination of case-study, anecdote, psychology and sociology that builds on the idea of a workplace of mutual respect and extends it to the organisation, the boss, your colleagues, clients and yourself. There are plenty of funny and not-so-funny observations in this and it provides some insightful ways of surviving these toxic situations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is a Keeper! 6 Mar 2007
Sutton gets it just right in this highly entertaining and relevant book. We all know people like those described in the book. And coping with them - or better yet keeping them out of our work lives - is a problem worth solving. It's nice to see someone in academia who embraces the practical concerns of real-life managers. Sutton's blend of case studies and thoughtful analysis is like a tonic for the spirit of those of us who have endured the sphincterage of terrible colleagues. You might wish that Sutton had written this book a while ago. Do your children a favor and save a copy for them. They'll need it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars working with armholes 5 Jun 2012
By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is my second attempt at reviewing this book, I can only assume that Amazon automatically screened the first because I quoted the title. So for the sake of Amazon, I am now reviewing the "No Armholes Rule".

As you might expect from the title, this is not your typical academic study. Even within the relatively informal sphere of management studies it relies heavily on anecdote, with a confessional air at times reminiscent of Charles Handy or even Rabbi Lional Blue.

The book is all about working with "armholes", or bullying overbearing obnoxious people who make your life a misery.

Bob Sutton is a noted academic, but has a good internet profile on the basis of this title, I've certainly heard him speak in podcasts, he maintains a blog and additional anecdotes regularly pop up.

The book is quite short, you could probably read it in an afternoon, and it is more like a really good magazine article, than a popular piece of social science. It is also crying out for an update with some more of the anecdotes that have been submitted over the years.

Having said all that, the book is brim full juicy stories, is an easy entertaining read and is likely to make you a nicer more considerate person. Not bad for a few pounds.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner From Sutton 5 Mar 2007
I admit it. I am a huge Sutton fan. I really enjoyed Weird Ideas that Work, and I think he outdid himself with the No A**hole Rule. This entertaining quick-read packs a good punch with a great balance of case studies and theory on jerks in the workplace. It kept me on the edge of my seat as I was able to finish this one in one sitting. The content of this book is topical to anyone in the workforce. Sutton (to my knowledge) is the first to address the issues discussed head on with excellent examples and candid advice.

Bob writes a lot on this topic in his Blog (which is very entertaining). If you want to take an Bob Sutton's A**hole self examination, you've got to take a stroll over to Guy Kawasaki's Blog and take the test.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
With the growth in numbers of legal claims being brought in the UK for either bullying or bad treatment at the hands of superiors, the book catches in a timely manner the mood of the issue of declining mutual respect in the workplace.

Written by a co-author of "The knowing-doing gap" one of the best books on knowledge sharing, Sutton brings his same practical no nonsense approach to this subject. Given he accidentally hit a deep vein of feeling in surfacing the topic in a Harvard Business Review article, he has he admits been helped by the vast unsolicited contributions made to his website on the subject. As a result the book has many good examples of how it can go wrong (including the author's own) plus analysis of the costs both financial and indirect with demotivation and staff leavers resulting.

Where the book fails for me is in the range of workable practicable solutions and strategies which is why I give it 4 stars. The key ones seem to be getting the tone from the top right and more importantly enforced daily which is inevitably dependent on the bosses "getting it", or if you at a lower level and on the receiving end, either get up and go to a new employer or learn to switch off and disconnect when experiencing such behaviour or form a group of similarly abused employees to support each other.
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