One of my most enjoyable Christmas presents was " The No Asshole Rule" by Robert I. Sutton, PhD. The book is billed as "the definitive guide to working with ---and---surviving--- bullies,creeps, jerks, tyrants, tormentors,despots, backstabbers, egomaniacs, and all the other assholes who do their best to destroy you at work". Dr. Sutton is an advocate of establishing a civilized atmosphere in the workplace. It starts by discouraging assholes from applying their trade. In a civilized workplace firing an asshole , no matter how talented he or she may be is not out of the question.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It took me back to my working years and brought back reminiscences of the many assholes I encountered over forty years. If only Dr. Sutton's book had been in my library during those years, I would have recognized the "bullies,creeps, jerks, tyrants, tormentors,despots, backstabbers, egomaniacs" in a more timely manner and dealt with them more adroitly rather than confronting them in a belligerent manner. Does that make me an asshole? According to the book, at least a temporary ahole. No matter, the book's message is applicable to my present environment. It provides insight for dealing with neighborhood gatherings, supermarkets, big box stores and various organizations where aholes abound. Then there are the 24/7 news programs with their pundits. If at least one of them applied the No Asshole Rule it would make listening to the news commentaries a lot more enjoyable. My newly acquired knowledge of what makes an asshole will also come in handy today if I watch the opening day ceremonies of Boehner's House of Representatives. The book had little to say about applying the No Asshole Rule to politics. I suppose it would be next to impossible to find a sponsor, never mind enforce such an enlightened rule. As Sutton suggests, the No Asshole rule brings about a more civilized workplace - a good place to start, the probability of spilling over into politics and our daily lives is certainly there.
Of course each one of us has an asshole. We must wonder at times if our asshole has taken over our personality. Dr. Sutton to the rescue. Take a self exam by visiting this site, Are You a Certified Asshole. I took the exam but I'm not revealing the results. I wonder why I received the book ?
( As an aside, I once heard a proctologist ( colorectal surgeon in today's lingo) say that he chose the field rather than obstetrics in order to have twice as many patients. He was a jovial asshole.)