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Office Politics: How to Thrive in a World of Lying, Backstabbing and Dirty Tricks Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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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: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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

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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book - written by an author who had plenty of live exposure to office politics - attempts first to explain the personality traits leading to the so called dark triad of psychopathy, Machiavellianism an narcissism (which combined make for a pretty uncomfortable office environment), and then to demonstrate some of the broader office politics issues in practice from a selection of case studies.

The theory is broadly interesting and the author has attempted to make it readable in placing all the sources and additional comments in the endnotes. While I would have preferred to have them in the main part of the book, at least in the Kindle format, accessing them is just a 'click' away (and the format may better work for readers who rarely check them). The fact that the three 'dark personality traits' often co-exist is interesting on its own and some of the statistics were definitely intriguing (although more would not go amiss).

The second part attempts to demonstrate office politics in some more detail through a collection of cases the author got via interviews with some 50 individuals (not all are in the book, however). This part may have the odd funny episode and you will definitely recognise some of the behaviours described if you work in an office environment but somehow I often felt there was something missing in order to make it all really gel. The two parts are not always a seamless match and in essence it looks a bit like two separate books - the second one with a more sensationalist twist than the first.

Overall the main message - namely that office politics is a way of life for office environments and that it can be used for achieving good aims, as well as shamelessly abused - is brought across.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 suffered at the hands of people and dynamics within the workplace.
Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Although some reviewers have quite rightly stated that the information in this book is obvious (glaringly so in some cases), this has to be qualified in that to the experienced then these things are indeed obvious. However, to those just leaving university or finding their way into their first office job, then this book is an excellent choice. How naive was I many years ago in believing that raw talent and hard work were the only requisites necessary for career advancement! Since those halcyon days of juvenile gullibity I have experienced many bitter and painful lessons illustrating that reality is very much to the contrary. I have witnessed the rise and promotion of some of the biggest idiots I have every known, due to astute connectedness and politicking on their part I might add.

I have also had the misfortune to once work under the management of an out and out psychopath (triadic personality), I mean this guy really ticked all the wrong boxes! He was tirelessly scheming, spiteful, and viscious beyond belief - in fact I used to call him the 'Prince of Darkness', but that was a diservice to Satan really! My point is that knowing these things, which this book clearly points out, are vital for survival let alone career advancement in today's workplace. Unfortunately, the reality is that game playing is an absolute must when you are forced to work for a living and are at the mercy of more powerful people who are superior to you. I have recently witnessed some very honest and hard working colleagues deposed from their positions because they failed to understand these principles which underpin modern office life.
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