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The Ape in the Corner Office: How to Make Friends, Win Fights and Work Smarter by Understanding Human Nature

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  116 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Tired of swimming with the sharks? Fed up with that big ape down the hall? Real animals can teach us better ways to thrive in the workplace jungle.

You’re ambitious and want to get ahead, but what’s the best way to do it? Become the biggest, baddest predator? The proverbial 800-pound gorilla? Or does nature teach you to be more subtle and sophisticated?

Richard Conniff, the
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Crown Business (first published September 6th 2005)
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  116 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I expected this book to be mostly fluff--but I was wrong. The book is an in-depth examination of our workplace psyches. Many of our behaviors in the workplace are shared by primates. These behaviors are probably not learned, but are inherited instincts. Our love of hierarchies, our ingrained sense of rankings and status, our fights, our building of coalitions, our understanding of risks, nepotism, the so-called "honeymoon phase" in relationships with new acquaintances, and the use of unprovoked ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
What a crazy look into the corporate world. Is this the sort of thing people learn in business school - how to behave like monsters?! As someone who's taken behavioural ecology, much of this book's content wasn't news to me, and I wished Conniff had stuck exclusively to ape analogies rather than randomly sprinkling in fish and bird anecdotes, which only served to distract from the main gist of the narrative, especially for the audiobook listener. I also felt there was too much time spent on leng ...more
Bob Nichols
The book is an excellent summary of many key themes in evolutionary psychology. Conniff’s argues that we are driven by our need for rank, status and value, by dominance, submission, and mea culpa rituals; by conformity to group expectations; and by fearing loss of status, value and group membership.

Conniff is making a statement that all of us, and all apes, act in the way he describes. It is a successful survival strategy and it’s one that works particularly well in political and business life
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Write a second book on this subject please! This was so fun and enlightening. Compares our behavior in work settings to dynamics from the animal world.
James Pritchert
Another book that I read some time ago and recorded on my permanent training record. I don't remember too much about the book which is telling itself.
Doctor Moss
We like to think of ourselves as “evolved”. We might be willing to grant that we are animals — after all, we have arms, legs — actually we have all the same organs, limbs, etc. as apes (make that “other apes”). But we really do want to insist we are somehow just a completely different kind of thing. After all, we are rational, we have culture, we watch tv, . . .

Books like this remind us that we really are animals, that our thoroughly rational self-image is a thin veneer over our animal selves. S
Joel Cigan
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good book but it seemed somewhat dated reading it presently. I fell upon the book’s name long ago probably from a perusal of Men’s Health magazine.

It falls in line with my science background and sort of compares humans to primates with footnotes dispersed throughout the prose that discuss various zoological phenomenon.

I wasn’t too interested in most of these quibbles to be honest but picked up quite a bit of information on how the workplace can be a cut-throat environment wit
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The author relates entertaining anecdotes, but I just don’t care that much about corporate culture. The Species Seekers was one of the best nonfiction books I have read in the last ten years, and this just wasn’t as great.
Jack Oughton
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Evolutionary psychology and animal metaphors meet the modern office.
I enjoyed it more than I thought, and I enjoyed the bits most where Richard focused on the animals, as oppose to the office...
Cody Sexton
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Power is central in human relationships, and it's only in the context of groups and relationships that we become fully human, sorry Ayn Rand. But the characteristic error of our time is that people think we are rational beings, not animals, that we are in control of our post ideological world. But in fact we are just monkeys who one day put on a hat. We experience so much stress and anxiety at work because much like animals in a zoo the workplace is an unnatural environment.
The approach/inhibit
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Warning: It may offend those who believe in creationism
Jul 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: interests in human behavior
A very candid insight into the nuances that dominate our behaviors and expressions, this book focuses on how close our behaviors and expressions are to our primate ancestors. There are some very uncanny and fascinating examples of the conscious and unconscious intentions behind split-second reactions and it is very simple to relate anecdotes from the book to real life occurrences. However, since the author bases his conclusions heavily on data compiled in animal research, the direction of the bo ...more
Leader Summaries
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Desde Leader Summaries recomendamos la lectura del libro La oficina de los simios, de Richard Conniff.
Las personas interesadas en las siguientes temáticas lo encontrarán práctico y útil: recursos humanos, mejorar el clima laboral.
En el siguiente enlace tienes el resumen del libro La oficina de los simios, Una metáfora sobre nuestro comportamiento dentro de las organizaciones y cómo mejorarlo: La oficina de los simios
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book far exceeded my expectations. Well-researched and argued, The Ape in the Corner Office explains office practices and politics that otherwise go unquestioned. Very informative and interesting.
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic, science
Very entertaining.
L OD Test
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I would recommend this book.
Fernando Morales
This book could have been a little shorter. Pretty much we have animal behaviors,
and certain CEO are just freakin crazy.
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Dec 24, 2018
Nick York
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Jun 28, 2015
Liz Lundberg
rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2014
David Ra
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Apr 03, 2008
rated it it was ok
Nov 30, 2015
Tin Doan
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Sep 16, 2011
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Aug 15, 2017
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Feb 13, 2013
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Jennifer Rudder
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Dec 25, 2014
rated it it was ok
Jul 30, 2008
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Oct 30, 2015
Vladimir Kiperman
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Mar 30, 2008
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Richard Conniff, a Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the National Magazine Award, is the author most recently of House of Lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and the Story of Life on Earth. He writes for Smithsonian and National Geographic and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and a former commentator on NPR's All Things Considered. His other books include The Natural History o ...more
“Once randomly aggressive behavior gets started in an organization, it tends to be contagious, rapidly spreading itself because of a built-in mammalian device for relieving stress, called redirected aggression. Stanford physiologist Robert Sapolsky describes it this way:“Numerous psychoendocrine studies show that in a stressful or frustrating circumstance, the magnitude of the subsequent stress-response is decreased if the organism is provided with an outlet for frustration. For example, the [glucocorticoid] secretion triggered by electric shock in a rat is diminished if the rat is provided with a bar of wood to gnaw on, a running wheel, or, as one of the most effective outlets, access to another rat to bite.” 0 likes
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