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Be Slightly Evil: A Playbook for Sociopaths (Ribbonfarm Roughs)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  187 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In 2010, Venkatesh Rao, author of the widely read ribbonfarm.com blog, began writing an email newsletter called "Be Slightly Evil" on the timeless theme of power and influence dynamics in the world of work. By the time the list was retired in 2013, it had over 2200 readers and was growing steadily. This ebook is a carefully sequenced and edited compilation of the archives, ...more
Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published September 15th 2013 by Ribbonfarm, Inc.
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Alper Çuğun
Mar 19, 2014 Alper Çuğun rated it it was amazing
Venkatesh's slightly evil is essential reading for those who are prone to self-pity and self-help. And for those who aren't it still yields lots of useful heuristics and mental models.
Kevin
Mar 11, 2016 Kevin rated it it was ok
Eh, not super.
Isaac
Dec 09, 2016 Isaac rated it it was ok
First, Venkatesh is an excellent writer who often can give new meaning to old concepts as they pertain to the business world. This collection was well written.
However, it makes me sad for most of corporate society. The manipulation tactics, the thought experiments on "do you lose status if you hold a door for someone". This is a sad sad testament for everything wrong with what corporations / management has become.
I guess if you want to become something that everyone who has ever worked for you h
...more
Jeff Yoak
I didn't like this book from the very beginning, but stuck with trying to read it much longer than I would ever normally consider because a friend was interested in my impressions.

There are really two levels on which I reacted to the book. The first was to its attempts to provide an integrating philosophy which frankly was just laughable, but painful if you try to stick with it.

Second, in its form as a collection of essays, it covers a lot of ground in various ways in which one might attempt to
...more
Xavier Shay
Aug 24, 2015 Xavier Shay rated it liked it
decent collection of blog posts, plenty of ideas to think about. Note: "sociopath" in subtitle is a reference to a previous book with a (imo) strained re-definition.

"If your team can’t escape certain consequences when things go wrong, by saying “my manager said it was okay,” you are not doing enough for them."

"one of the easiest ways to figure someone out is to look at the information they choose to consume."

"Discussing ideas is only a sign of great minds if events and people – both matters of c
...more
Kars
Jan 03, 2015 Kars rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this, but then I am a bit of a Venkatesh groupy. It's an uneven collection of writing on adversarial thinking. Ultimately, I think "be slightly detached" would've been a better title, because a lot of this is actually about mindfulness and the zen warrior concept of thinking in action, or orientation in boydian terms. The closing essay, providing an overview of how competitive "games" evolve was by far the most interesting for me. It provided me with some new metaphors for thinking ...more
Anjan
Oct 14, 2015 Anjan rated it it was ok
My hope was for a bit of philosophical navel gazing from the blog posts I read, or like what can be found on overcoming Bias. Sadly, this reads like a self help book aimed at people who are uncomfortable being human and prefer aping a robotic ideal.

Some creative narrative building within, but it is obfuscated by the book trying to be relevant to daily life.

In hindsight, the title should've tipped me off
Harry
Sep 25, 2013 Harry rated it really liked it
Where philosophy, self-help, and management collide, you end up with a book like this. Though the title advocates evil, it's more primarily a pun on Google's motto. The core focus in the book is advice and analysis centered around all of the many situations where "Win, Win" is not a viable outcome.

A valuable read.
James
Dec 03, 2014 James rated it really liked it
If you read this as a Comprehensive Guide To Everything then you'll dislike it. If you read it foxily, as a source of anecdotes and fun little models to stick in your bag of anecdotes and models, it's very good.
Ray Dora
Feb 08, 2015 Ray Dora rated it did not like it
It was alright. While it introduced some interesting concepts, the book itself did not seem to present empirically-backed ideas from newer research. Instead, he uses examples from pop culture with some great methodology from a very narrow pool.

I guess I expected more.
Vinod Khare
Mar 10, 2014 Vinod Khare rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Rao's ideas are interesting, as usual. However, I found this book less coherent than some of this other work. Much of the text was too abstract with very little real world examples or stories to pin them down.
James Strencht
Jan 18, 2016 James Strencht rated it it was amazing
Good book for self reflection

I found this book quite compelling and it got my curious about John Boyd and applications of his ideas to business
lxxxvi
Jan 03, 2014 lxxxvi rated it really liked it
It may not be a scientifically tested hypothesis, but it certainly explains a lot of what happens in real life. Definitely worth a read!
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Gunjan Yogendra
Jul 27, 2016 Gunjan Yogendra rated it it was amazing
I want to read it again and imbibe!
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“So revenge is obviously a deeply messed-up expression of vindictiveness. It is hard to even call it "evil." It is just plain insanity. A result of deeply messed-up thinking.” 3 likes
“Your terrain is the tortuous maze of truth-avoidance paths worn out by the “be somebody” types, and paved by the medal-awarding priests. Your mission is to tackle head-on, the truths that they work hard to avoid. Your own twists and turns are about avoiding or outmaneuvering those who want to deny truths and defend obvious falsehoods.” 1 likes
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