I went to the book store to get my latest basketful of business CD’s. Almost as a joke, I picked up Robert Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule. I’ve worked with difficult people in the past, and hear stories from friends of mine inside and outside the industry about difficult people, including staff, coworkers, spouses, and others. I thought that this would be fun, and as Fat Albert says, “If I wasn’t careful, I might learn something, too”.
I did have fun, and I did learn something too. Sutton gives an overview of how assholes affect business, from a human relations, legal liability, operational cost, and in terms of loss sales and employee turnover. He does this using examples that are sickening, amazing, and (with the passage of time and no personal involvement) humorous as well.
These examples are also educational. Sutton gives a number of good tactics towards eliminating and disempowering the asshole. Sutton provides a number of good ways for companies and groups to avoid even hiring a difficult person.
Finally, Sutton steps into what is arguably dangerous territory. He talks about the positive side of the asshole, and turning on the inner asshole inside you.
The audio book is not without flaws. I didn’t think that the reader’s vocal temperment and pacing were in line with what Sutton was teaching. It just sounded a little bombastic to me. I felt that Sutton should have addressed more the dilemma of dealing with an asshole you have no power to get rid of, asshole management, I guess.
Finally, it might not be an appropriate book to listen to when traveling with passengers occupying booster seats in your car. So buy it, and put on those headphones.