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The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt
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The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  2,344 ratings  ·  310 reviews
If you're feeling stressed out, overtaxed, under-appreciated, bullied, or abused because you work with a jerk, learn how to avoid, outwit, and disarm assholes—today.
Equally useful and entertaining, The Asshole Survival Guide delivers a cogent and methodical game plan when you find yourself working with a jerk—whether in the office, on the field, in the classroom, or jus
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Robert I. Thanks so much. I am the author. I tried very hard to make clear that people who feel oppressed by jerks are often part or all of the problem. Thanks …moreThanks so much. I am the author. I tried very hard to make clear that people who feel oppressed by jerks are often part or all of the problem. Thanks for asking, an great point. At the end of the first chapter --because of the tendency to blame others too much and not look in the mirror-- my suggestion is that readers adopt the mantra "Be slow to label others as assholes, and quick to label yourself." I touch on this constantly throughout the book, it is a major theme in the last chapter, and I wrote an article based on the book that was aimed at senior executives for the McKinsey Quarterly that suggests that they are considerable risk of acting like oppressive jerks, and need to recruit trusted people to call them out. I tried hard to strike a balance.(less)
Jakub Korčák Hi Debbie, as somebody, who is reading this book right now, I can confirm, that you, Notorious d.e.b. (@debihope), are being cited as the author of th…moreHi Debbie, as somebody, who is reading this book right now, I can confirm, that you, Notorious d.e.b. (@debihope), are being cited as the author of this quote(less)

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Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

While useful, this book is also very, VERY depressing, because it basically says, here's how you can cope if you can't escape, but if you can, escape. It's not big on fighting, but I think that is because people only act like huge jerks when they can get away with it. If they couldn't, they would have been brought down by now.

So, unless I want to have Mutually Assured Destruction, my game plan is avoidance at all costs.

Not what I wanted to hear, but perhaps what I needed to hear. I j
Peeter Mõtsküla
Feb 07, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Probably written for Americans. The author keeps reiterating same basic concepts over and over again. The author also tries to make this book look like a result of solid scientific research -- every now and then, there are numerous references to other authors & researchers who have written about related topics. Leaving the pseudo-scientific pomposity aside, the book could be compressed into a thin brochure containing somewhat useful guidance.


When faced with an asshole:
1) Talk to him. Ever
May 15, 2022 rated it it was ok
Half a decade ago I was working in a job that was growing increasingly toxic. All members of staff were demotivated and spoke frequently of looking to leave, even those who had been there for many years had reached the end of the line. We were overworked, under-appreciated and all feeling burned out. We weren’t sleeping and counted down the days to the weekend. It was no way to live.

It got so bad that even our ostrich-inspired leader recognised something had to be done and so brought in a guest
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read this for its 'self-help' aspect. A friend mentioned she was reading it and I checked it out. Mainly because... The Thing who is daily hellbent on bringing this country to its knees has now given license to the (what seems like) millions of assholes who, before this 'administration', did not have the balls to act on the fullness of their asshole natures. But now they're everywhere... 24/7.

So I figured I best read up on some of what makes some of them tick - and on how to be better
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, worklife
Nothing you didn't already know but I liked reading it at work because I imagined people seeing the cover and wondering if I was reading about them. ...more
Sarah Schultz
I returned the Audible version of the book--he kept saying "ex-pecially" instead of "es-pecially," and he uses the word a lot. It was driving me nuts. ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Assholes are not only omniscient but also omnipresent, which makes dealing with them or around them a major challenge in our daily lives. Assholes on their own or assholes in a group can create an asshole environment which is obviously a lot more dangerous. The book recommends staying away but if we cant afford to it shows you many techniques to counter assholes and asshole environments. It's not easy as each case is unique but as the author says, it is not what you say that matters its how you ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A short and simple title that accurately describes this book’s raison d’etre. Fortunately, it need not apply to this author to deal with reviewers of his excellent book, which mixes humour and sage advice together to deal with what can be a very serious and troubling problem for many, especially at work.

It is more than just a book with a humorous title, mouthing a few platitudes. It has the benefit of ‘science’ – well academic research to be precise – and the author could informally be described
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was reasonably interesting, but not all I had hoped it would be. It does provide a wide catalogue of asshole types and tests to determine whether someone else (or you) is the asshole, but its coping strategies are mostly obvious and more folk psychology peppered with the occasional study than novel strategies. Perhaps I've read too much social psychology from the original sources already (the author constantly cites Kahneman, Dunning-Kruger effect, and other well-known themes in modern ...more
Reese Copeland
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book. It is able to describe the difficulties and struggles of someone who has to deal with a person like this . It offers some practical tips to how you can cope with someone like this. I find it very helpful in my own career and see myself putting some of it into practice to the extent I can. It reads quickly and is not all weighed down with technical jargon.
Ashik Bekal
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Assholes are everywhere! Be it your neighborhood, work place or just online. And their effect on us can be profound, even our well-being. This book offers practical advice of identifying and tackling different kinds of Assholes. Some of the techniques could surprise you even.
I like the way he begins with 6 diagnostic questions on how bad the problem is and are you being blind to it, then dwells into asshole detection. He goes through various tackling techniques like Avoidance, Reframing and even
Steven Freeman
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
Another great book by Bob Sutton. This is a follow up to his classic “The No Asshole Rule” which should be on every faculty members and administrators’ book shelf. This book focuses on strategies for dealing with the jerks (or worse) that we encounter in our lives. While I had already taken advantage of many of the strategies, I did learn some new ones to try and how to increase my success rate for not letting the assholes drag me down or turn me into one of them.

Julius The Snow Leopard
Jul 23, 2020 rated it did not like it

Worst advice ever.
So if you encounter assholes, you as a non-asshole have to go through so many steps of endurance and self-detachment to avoid feeling bad from assholes?

Why don’t we try to think from a victims mindset and see where people can get realistic advice than ‘tune out’, ‘try to be the bigger person’, etc. The advice and ‘studies’ in this book is just empty talk that provides absolutely no help when people actually go through all this in real life. I work in an extremely to
Susanna Camp
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Given the number of jerks we’ve encountered in the tech world these past few months, we need all the tools we can get. For those of us with bosses, co-workers, clients, or customers, Bob Sutton’s book offers invaluable “asshole avoidance techniques” and more. Comedian and naming expert Marc Hershon wrote, and I edited, this review on ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it
So I’m on a kick of reading self help books with curse words in the title. So I saw this and picked it up. Eh, this was too long and too repetitive. After about the third chapter I was done with this book. It took me forever to finish after that.
cardulelia carduelis
I could barely make it though the navel gazing and name dropping. I ended up skimming most of this to get to the broader points.
That one of his major points is "kill 'em with kindness" and plea's to empathy should have been a warning sign. Anyone who's ever met or worked with a bully well knows that opening up and being warm just makes you even more weak in their eyes. And sure, I can see that the asshole might be going through some shit of their own, but you know what? So am I and I don't make
Oct 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
While i was reading the following quotation was in my head:

So I was sitting in my "cubical" today and I realized, ever since I've started working ( here ) every single day of my life is worse than the day before it.
So that means that every single day that you see me that is the worst day of my life.

Having a toxic workplace is though. I'll try some of the tips.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, work
This book was a string of revelations! I started reading it with an idea that it would be good to know how to deal with assholes at work (which it is) and then I realised all the times that I've been the asshole (humbling and useful). So I feel more equipped to deal with bad behaviour (both my own and other people's), but another nice thing happened.

I was praising this book and the person I was talking to said "is it making you think about [redacted]?" And you know what? I realised that I hadn't
Shannon Rochester
Aug 29, 2021 rated it liked it
A friend loaned me this book, I'm not really sure why. I work from home and this is mostly about assholes in the workplace and while I have definitely worked with some in the past, I don't really have to work with anyone right now. I can see how it makes some very valid points for the people that do have to deal with assholes and I can agree that the subject itself is kind of depressing...but not everyone can afford to just change jobs and at some point in life, you will most likely have to work ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
It didn't deliver. A few interesting clinical facts and good intensions, but overall a bit basic. It's symptomatic of the peak capitalism, that most of the advice is on how to change yourself, and advice on how to change abusive systems is presented as risky and usually pointless. With statements like "first determine if you are not an asshole" or "you have a duty of self-care", this book under fancy branding, serves to upkeep the status quo. ...more
Victor Bevz
May 26, 2022 rated it it was ok
This book felt like a paper chain of anecdotes. It was loosely organised, and I found the conversational style irritating. Each chapter proposes a different method for dealing with a demeaning person in your life. The techniques sometimes conflict (e.g. overwhelming an unkind person with kindness and standing up for yourself), but the book accounts for that in emphasising that the method you choose has to relate to your level of power and general disposition.

I found these ideas useful:
-You shoul
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
I enjoyed this book, probably a bit more than your average self-help/how to cope with office shenanignans book because I do enjoy an author who swears. That is 100% personal bias, though.

Overall I liked the anecdotes, the advice was sound, and I really like the author's premise that it's easier to build a respectful workplace from the ground up rather than trying to fix it once it's broken.

Like most of the books on this topic, it's very much geared toward offices in private companies. Capitalism
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
The writer is very methodical in his writing. In a way it made it harder to keep focus on the book, although the stories the author had collected did bring my attention back. I didn't find much of anything new in the advice that was provided, but I do think this is a book I would have like to have when I started my first job. You see it prepares you for a world brimming with assholes. I think it would have saved me a lot of heartache and a nervous break down. Overall I would say that the intent ...more
Jan 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Mainly applying to the workplace setting, this book tells you about office jerks on all levels and the tactics to deal with them, including those that you will most likely not win against. It speaks from a personal view and is kind of like getting advice from a friend rather than a professional. There is quite a bit of repetition in places with a lot of research that can make it a bit boring at times. But the likelihood that you are going to encounter, or already encounter difficult people at wo ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Incredibly insightful and helpful. While most of the advice feels like a no-brainer, it's good to be given a reminder that you aren't alone and the importance of reframing your mind. While I bought this during a difficult time in my career and while I've left the hostile environment by the time I've finished it, I feel that I am now better armed in handling said assholes in my life from both career and personal lives. There will always be those sort in life and being better prepared to deal with ...more
Leonardi Louis
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s a sad fact that there are so many self serving and plain mean people in workplaces. I found this book full of really useful techniques and love the overall message that we need to display behaviour that encourage others to be civil, and that there are sadly a portion of people who just need to stop being assholes. Full of useful tips about how these people think and how to take their fuel away and put the fire out.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A must-read on organizational behaviour. Should be read by anyone regardless of their career, profession, company or stage in life as at some point you shall encounter assholes.
Liked also the way it was narrated - a warm and friendly voice, although some advice seemed contradictory or inconclusive.
Sparked interest about the 1st book, that has been read extensively by people worldwide.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a well thought out book with some interesting research to back it up on how to deal with assholes. Sadly assholes are everywhere! The author provides some good tips on how to manage different situations. It would be nice if companies actually cared about their employees and did not enable and condone this abusive behavior.
Emily Jones
Aug 01, 2022 rated it liked it
Great general advice for people and reassurance that there are assholes all over the show so you're not alone. Leadership styles including and excluding being an asshole are interesting.
Practical steps to deal with said assholes. Interesting research quoted in there too.
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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

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“at the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” 4 likes
“Third, and finally, if you want people to believe the system is fair and effective, it’s essential to be tough on the most powerful, profitable, and well-known jerks. If you enforce the rule only with the weak performers, people who are easily replaceable, or who deliver bad news and have the gumption to disagree with superiors—and you allow powerful assholes to run roughshod over anyone they please—people will smell your hypocritical bullshit from a mile away.” 3 likes
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