thewestchestarian's Reviews > Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst

Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert I. Sutton
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Dec 17, 2010

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Read in December, 2010

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 with the book’s pedagogical purpose.

On the ”Good Boss…” side he mostly avoids a central problem with most management books of this type which tend to ratchet up managerial requirements such that any person unable to fly and bring love ones back from the dead is found wanting. Although he advocates a little more flower power than would actually be prudent in global economy cutthroat business environments, he also lack naivety and explicitly discusses some of the douchey deeds someone desirous of power must perform.

On the ”…”Bad Boss” side, many behaviors he warns against ring true including: bosses who never shut up, see subordinates as pawns to be tossed under the bus when things go bad or just for sport, see themselves as royalty despite holding a first-line manager roll in global conglomerate among other boss behaving badly acts. Sutton provides enough juicy anecdotes to satisfy without devolving into the managerial behavior equivalent of a horror story anthology. Although he does rightly spend significant time on the boss who waterboarded an employee as a teambuilding exercise.

In short, the book represents a good primer on solidly effective boss behaviors in an economical package although it contains no ideas not found elsewhere in the management literature.

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