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The No Asshole Rule

Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

By Robert I. Sutton
16-minute read
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton

The No Asshole Rule delves into the problem of bullying or aggressive co-workers, who in many cases rise to management positions. Sutton provocatively labels them assholes.

The book lays out the effect these employees can have on a business, and gives advice on how to develop an asshole-free environment.

  • Anyone who wants to learn how to identify and deal with assholes in the workplace
  • Every office worker, whether employee, manager, consultant or intern
  • Anyone who wants to avoid being seen as an asshole

Robert I. Sutton is a professor at Stanford Engineering School, who has published several popular science books. The No Asshole Rule draws on his extensive experiences working for some of the world’s biggest companies and best-known CEOs such as Steve Jobs.

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The No Asshole Rule

Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

By Robert I. Sutton
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Contains 10 key ideas
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton
Synopsis

The No Asshole Rule delves into the problem of bullying or aggressive co-workers, who in many cases rise to management positions. Sutton provocatively labels them assholes.

The book lays out the effect these employees can have on a business, and gives advice on how to develop an asshole-free environment.

Key idea 1 of 10

‘Asshole’ is the right term for people who regularly bully or put down others.

We all have bad days and act like assholes now and then; occasionally, we can all be temporary assholes.

Certified assholes, on the other hand, are people whose asshole-behavior is not a temporary outburst on a bad day – rather, it is part of their character. These are people whose bad behavior is continuous and long term.

This hostile behavior can be expressed both physically and mentally. It may be verbal or non-verbal. In the workplace, assholes may interrupt others while they are speaking, violate their personal space, insult and intimidate them, put them down, stare at them aggressively, or ignore them altogether. Assholes leave their victims angry, afraid and humiliated.

Assholes often get away with this poor behavior because they treat their own bosses and customers respectfully. This can be an effective way of hiding their true nature if lower-level employees feel the asshole’s good reputation with superiors would lead to complaints being ignored.

Asshole’ is the right term for people who regularly bully or put down others.

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