Assholes: A Theory
*Unless you happen to be Donald Trump or Kanye West or Dick Cheney, in w ...more
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I should have listened to my Goodreads friend Jon, who told me that this book was not nearly as funny or entertaining as it promised to be.
It is difficult at times to tell if Assholes is a parody of dry, prolix, academic treatises, or just a treatise about assholes written in a dry, prolix, academic style. The final result is much the same. I won't deny there are a few worthwhile pages here--the definition of "asshole," for example, is a precise one that articulates the distinction between boor, ...more
I have to admit that when I picked up the book, I was amused by the title and considered that it might be a one trick pony, sort of like a Saturday Night Live skit stretched out into a book, funny at the beginning and then petered out towards the end.
I was pleasantly surprised and more than amused, I was engrossed by the author’s well thought out and intelligent ideas.
First, James defines what it ...more
Up until reading this book, I don’t think I completely understood the ...more
I mean, honestly, we all know one, or two, or sometimes a full office full of them. And even if we don't have many real life line-cutters, traffic-weavers, or conversation killers in our lives, at least we have Trump. And high-level bankers. And Rush. And practically the entire existing vocal portion of the political process in America. We have lots and lots and lots of good exampl ...more
James is a serious philosopher, and "Assholes" is a serious piece of ethics. James handles the asshole phenomenon from every angle. The ...more
With the title it has, and with its small size and large print, this book should have taken me a couple hours. But, because it was so boring, it took me four days instead!
I was looking for funny and useful suggestions for dealing with assholes, and instead I got a boring academic discussion on the various aspects of assholery. Chapters on "asshole management", which should have been fun to read, were dull and tedious. At times this guy's assessmen ...more
The description of this book is a bit misleading. I was expecting a lighter yet informative read. There were some moments where I enjoyed it and chuckled quite a bit, but I wish there was more material to relate to for myself.
I liked the descriptions of the types of assholes. While reading it, I found myself thinking of all of the ones in my life, appropriately categorizing them along the way.
The book would break off into a lot of lengthy political tangents, which I didn't really car ...more
The opening chapters, developing a taxonomy of assholes, are occasionally amusing. I blew air out of my nose slightly harder than normal a few times, I think I smirked once or twice. His general conception of the asshole is one who, against all logic and reason, considers themselves entitled to more than everyone else. Let me cut in; let me have that parking space; let me have control over the board; don ...more
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I saw this book opened up in front of someone and I couldn't resist asking about it---the title demands it---turns out a mom and her teen-aged daughter were both reading the book, passing it back and forth and both o ...more
Assholes are everywhere. We work with them. We shop with them. We drive on the same roads with them. We have them in our own family. We even have one currently as our President of the United States. Assholes are a fact of life. They have always been with us, and they always will. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn the other cheek, back down, curl up, and take their shit.
University of Californi ...more
The basic definition of the term is a person who “allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically,” “out of an entrenched sense of entitlement,” and “is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people” (5 ...more
As one might expect, James begins by defining the term asshole. What is an asshole? According to James, it is someone who has an “entrenched sense of entitlement.” This someone believes himself entitled to special privileges ALL of the time as opposed to the rest of us who only believe ourselves to be entitled to special privileges SOME of the time.
James works his way through this theory with quite a bit of philosophic ...more
It is not ...more
Here's the premise, and one with which we are all familiar: there are assholes in the world, and they are deeply annoying. Not the least of their negative qualities is that they don't particularly care if they are classified as such, so our criticism of them most often falls on deaf ears and elicits condescending responses.
Aaron James was faced wit ...more
Call me when it’s a Theorem!
[To appreciate the effort, I chose 3 stars, instead of 2]
I really wanted to like this book. I picked this one because of the interesting title, but this is not as funny as I thought it would be. The first part is good, there is humor, and his commentaries made some sense, but in the second part, humor goes a little dry and makes the reader feels like it is a bit longer than it needs to.
I thought there's going to be an amazing analysis and ...more
The book also shows why dealing with such people is so difficult: remonstrating w ...more
The problem with “Assholes – A Theory,” by Aaron James is that it’s too dumb to be smart and too academic to be funny. I came into the book with high expectations, mainly based on the title. The thought process went something like “I dislike assholes, but assholes can be funny! A whole book that explains (and presumably lightheartedly pokes fun at) assholes will be a nice holiday read as I sip on eggnog and enjoy a light buzz!” Instead, I plodded through about 200 pages of philosophy-ese to take...more
First, his definition of what it is to be an asshole (as opposed to an assclown or a buffoon, for example) is delightfully precise: an asshole believes systematically that he is entitled to special privileges, has an entrenched sense of entitlement, and doesn't hear other people's complaints about him because his e ...more
Ha. No really- I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. Very satisfying to cross-reference my experiences with assholes with this author's impressive grasp of moral philosophy and where assholes fit into that continuum. Mostly I feel validated that my personal asshole management strategies square with his advice.
As far as his more sweeping cultural, political and economic generalizations, I shrug at such broad strokes. ...more