Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  732 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Now with a new chapter that focuses on what great bosses really do. Dr. Sutton reveals new insights that he's learned since the writing of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Sutton adds revelatory thoughts about such legendary bosses as Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, and many more, and how you can implement their techniques.
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can y...more
Audio CD, 320 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Good Boss, Bad Boss, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Good Boss, Bad Boss

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,867)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Full disclosure: I generally hate business/self-help/leadership books. However, I recently started a new job, and for the first time in my professional life, I’m a supervisor. In an effort to NOT screw this up, I’ve spent the last several weeks skimming a variety of business books, and I also attended a webinar aimed at young managers. Most of the books were predictably boring and ridiculous, but the webinar, led by Bob Sutton, was insightful, entertaining, and full of advice that I might actual...more
Miranda Diaz
After reading Sutton's previous work the "No Asshole Rule", this is definitely the stronger work. If you read Good Boss, Bad Boss, DO NOT read the previous work as Sutton incorporates much of his other work here with much more substance.

Overall, a well written and practically applicable Leadership Manifesto. Keen observations on the corruption of power, and how to keep yourself both human and accountable to those you lead. Excellent observations, case studies and citing examples of infamous lead...more
Robert Sutton offers his take on effective supervision in a style that's conversational, jargon free and occasionally irreverent. Drawing from a wealth of real-life examples "Good Boss, Bad Boss" proves that you can learn just as much from lousy leaders as effective ones, even if all you learn is how not to do it.

The big reveal in GBBB is the importance of self-awareness. Time and again Sutton demonstrates how fallible and inaccurate our self-assessments can be. We're apparently hardwired to ove...more
This book really helped me learn how to do deal with these minions that I am forced to spend 8+ hours a day with. The chapter on fear tactics was especially helpful and I have already employed #4 and #19 with great success! I feel like a sassy dictator after reading this book. Couldn't recommend it more!!

I will always have mad love for this book - not just because it's interesting and well-written, but because it has introduced me to "Bosshole." A combination of Asshole + Boss. Bwuahahahahahahahaha!
Though not a lot of people know about it, over the last few years, I've been unwillingly thrust into the role of CEO.

I have a few assistants that help me with things. Scheduling, errands, appointments, correspondance.

But more than that, the charity I run, Worldbuilders, employs people too. It's become far too big for me to handle on my own anymore.

We also run an online store, and that takes more people.

Back in 2008, when I had just one assistant, it wasn't a big deal.

But now, when I employ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very disappointing book. Not all leadership books are created equal, but I usually benefit from all of them in some way. However, this one is of the kind that I do not like at all. Its very obvious that the author was trying to make a few bucks here by throwing some good thoughts on leadership in the blender, adding some stories around it and backing it up with stuff he read himself. I really don’t like when there is no coherent theme. He writes the leadership principle he is trying to convey, a...more
Oleg Kagan
While most business books make me want to throw myself into a deep hole head first, Good Boss, Bad Boss provided the kind of structured, no-nonsense advice that I can appreciate.

Originally, I got this book because I was in the mood for bad boss stories, and this book delivered on that to an extent. Though the case studies (good and bad) were sprinkled throughout, I found myself more drawn to descriptions of what made a good boss.

Good bosses fight for their people, good bosses tame their inner-...more
Tigran Mamikonian
This book provides several veery instructive examples i situations, quite common in business, but where most of people do mistakes... Main of which - 1. never fail to defend your subordinates and transfer responsibility. In case of failure if project put clearly that it is your fault and explain what corrective action will be taken... Never just inform why project whent wrong... 2. Don't let temptation to get irrogant, rude to take over you - this is not productive in long-mid terms.., 3. Try to...more
Stumbled upon this book in the library and I promptly snapped it up and finished in one week partly due to stress caused in no small part by my immediate superior who happens to be an asshole . This book recounts many instances of egomaniacs who happen to be in the management when they should not be there in the first place . Case histories from many big companies are mentioned . Highly recommended for asshole managers and their subordinates to create awareness for the former and tips and advice...more
Xavier Shay
Didn't get much new out of it. Summary: don't be a jerk. You won't know you're being a jerk.
A solid tutorial on beneficent bosshood. Dr. Robert I. ”No Asshole Rule” Sutton efficiently covers decent and despicable managerial behaviors. His text, sometimes jarringly, mixes the academic and profane but never strays too far in either direction producing a relatively quick and painless read. Although he relates several stories of over-the-top boss scumbaggery, some hoping for more of these cheap thrills will be disappointed. However the decision to not dwell on hellacious managers keeps wit...more
Stacy Boyd
Reading ebook on iPhone and taking notes. Very easy to read and engaging. Definitely provided some useful advice.

Good bosses are considerate, specify clear goals and implement changes. Oh, and also are charasmatic, intellectually stimulating and set clear expectations. Grit is a hallmark too. This is the conviction that nothing is ever quite good enough. Work harder, be more creative, don't stop learning. Framing long-term goals as manageable steps leads to a more motivated, less distressed staf...more
i'm a bit of a font snob, and i'll have to say that i was pretty turned off by the typeface. i bet it was meant to be approachable, but it came across lacking a bit of professionalism, if that makes sense to anyone else out there. i have to get it out there, since it meant that the book and i started out on the wrong foot.

bob sutton is a straight shooter. i've heard him speak before and he's similar in person - what else would you expect from someone who wrote a book called the no asshole rule?

Did this on audio.

Audio reader is excellent. The book is also very good, very practical with no promises of quick fixes.

It boils down to - balance performance with humanity and kindness. Learn when to push and when it's necessary to do dirty work (hardest for me - confrontation, dealing with a**holes, etc.), but also always respect people and give them pride and dignity.

I think the most difficult part is learning to see yourself as those you work with, for, and over do. We never see ourselves ho...more
Wendy Hines
"I believe that managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly, you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it." Tommy Lasorda

Truer words never spoken. Good Boss, Bad Boss is basically a study of behavioral science research of what good and bad bosses do. As a boss myself, I found it very insightful. It's taken me a few years to get that balance needed to one, make my employees feel valued and respected, but two, to achieve desired results.

This book talks abou...more
Tanja Berg
I wavered for a minute - does a book which only states the obvious deserve four stars? I decided on yes and I'm still pondering how blind sided I might be on my own actions and performance. However, my own self evaluation aside - which probably isn't worth much - I have received enough independent feedback to draw the conclusion that I'm mostly not an asshole.

Much research has been done on good leadership and before I opened this book the evidence was clear: the best bosses care about productio...more
As someone new to management, I found this book really helpful as it was written in a simple, no bullshit manner, the examples and explanations were to the point, and the author provided several lists of good/bad behaviours for several situations (how to break bad news, etc). I also found his advice very sound - for example, he mentioned how a good way to assert your control as a boss without being an asshole is to sit at the head of the table at meetings (something I never thought of before but...more
The Mindset of a Great Boss - How would your people answer these questions about you?

1. Following Lasorda's Law? Are you constantly thinking about and trying to walk the most constructive line between being too assertive and not assertive enough? Or are you neglecting to give people the guidance, wisdom, and feedback they need to succeed? Worse yet, are you obsessively monitoring and micromanaging every move they make?

2. Got Grit? Do you treat the work you lead as a marathon or a sprint - are yo...more
Andrew Frueh
Without a doubt, the best book I've read on management to date. The strength of the book is due in large part to Sutton's own honesty and humility - rare qualities in authors of this genre. Any business book that begins like this, at least deserves a second glance: "Despite the horseshit spewed out by too many management gurus, there are no magic bullets, instant cures, or easy shortcuts to becoming a great boss. The best bosses succeed because they keep chipping away at a huge pile of dull, int...more
Jean Tessier
I liked The No Asshole Rule, so I thought I'd give this one a try too. Sutton bills the book as a follow-up to The No Asshole Rule, but with more of a focus on good management practices and less on the bad.

The key takeaway is that the job of a boss seems engineered to breed assholes. Bosses suffer from a double bias: they overestimate their own abilities and they cannot see how they are perceived by others. This leads people in boss positions to make poor decisions that everyone will notice but...more
I received this book as a goodreads giveaway winner.

I really enjoyed Robert I. Sutton straightforward approach to the behaviors, conscientiousness, and patterns that make good bosses great and bad bosses horrible. I would recommend this book for anyone who is a boss or who has one.

Sutton outlines, in his chapters, the behaviors and attitudes of best bosses and examples of what the worst ones don't (eg taking control, making sure your talk is more than empty words, shielding your people from unne...more
Gene Babon
How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst. This subtitle captures the essence of Good Boss, Bad Boss.

There are more than 21 million bosses in the United States and more than 90 percent of employees have at least one. Approximately 75 percent of the workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their jobs. People do not quit organizations, they quit bad bosses!

The stakes are high. Bad bosses destroy workplaces.

According to the author, a Stanford Management P...more
I was prepared for this to be awful, but I actually learned a lot. The brief book emphasizes humanity, tells lots of (blessedly short!) stories from real CEOs to illustrate the points, and none of the recommendations fail the sniff test. The observations and recommendations border on the trite, but sometimes it's good to be reminded quickly of all the shit you're supposed to know.

The case for reforming or, failing that, expelling the worst offenders is bolstered by Will Felps’s research on “bad
Shalini Patras
We define a boss as a person who has control and authority over workers. Robert Stutton, in his book Good Boss Bad Boss gives a preview of how many bosses exercise their control and authority without any care for their followers. He also shares stories about good bosses, or bosses who care and get great results. If you are a boss, then you affect the quality of work and the quality of work environment in your company. Stutton’s book shows that the quality of work environment you create is the le...more
Sutton is one of my all time favorite thought leaders in the world of business, based largely on his earlier book, The No Asshole Rule, which everyone should go out and buy right now.

Good Boss, Bad Boss covers some of the same topics as the No Asshole Rule, but where the Asshole book covers Assholes generally, Good Boss, Bad Boss focuses solely on Asshole bosses (aka Bossholes). He goes much more in depth into what exactly separates a good boss who is loved or at least respected by his employees...more
Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst by Robert Sutton is better. The book devotes its chapters to the qualities of a good boss: good listener, asks questions, listens to employees, confident, decision-maker, etc. This book would be very helpful for someone who has not found a good mentor or example of “good boss” within his/her organization. It provides a good amount of material to help you reflect on your own leadership style and the case studies illustrate the po...more
I was not the best boss in the world at my last gig, or even close to mediocre. This book taught me a lot about how to be better, how to be a better team player, and finally ground in the message of how to be good to myself in the corporate world.

And yes, I can think of at least fifty people, EASILY, who would benefit from this book. As I said before, this book is a lot like the "It's Your Ship" books I read last year, for the civilian world. It's NOT self-help; rather, a gentle nudging of what...more
I bought this book to see if my leadership style would be something that good bosses or bad bosses do as well as to see if my higher exhibited good traits or bad boss traits. I'm in the military and it happens that the day I got this book my Commander was removed from Command and I became the Interim Commander. This book gave me fantastic insight on management and gave me good reminders on treating people with humanity. I also learned that my Battalion has created a toxic environment by the way...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 62 63 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Leadership and Ma...: Good Boss, Bad Boss by R. Sutton 2 6 Apr 08, 2014 05:02PM  
  • It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace
  • The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You
  • The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization
  • The Carrot Principle: How the Best Managers Use Recognition to Engage Their People, Retain Talent, and Accelerate Performance
  • Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work
  • The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
  • Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business
  • Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don't
  • A Sense of Urgency
  • The One Thing You Need to Know: ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
  • Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters.
  • Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
  • Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It
  • Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
  • Co-Opetition
  • The Oz Principle: Getting Results through Individual and Organizational Accountability
  • Leaders Eat Last
  • Thriving on Chaos: Handbook for a Management Revolution
Robert Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford and a Professor of Organizational Behavior, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Sutton studies innovation, leaders and bosses, evidence-based management, the links between knowledge and organizational action, and workplace civility. Sutton’s books include Weird Ideas That Work: 11 ½ Practices for Pro...more
More about Robert I. Sutton...
The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company Testa di capo Organizational Closings: A Bibliography

Share This Book

“If you are a boss, ask yourself: When you look back at how you’ve treated followers, peers, and superiors, in their eyes, will you have earned the right to be proud of yourself? Or will they believe that you ought to be ashamed of yourself and embarrassed by how you have trampled on others’ dignity day after day?” 0 likes
“Fight as if you are right, listen as if you are wrong.” 0 likes
More quotes…