The publishing business is sufficiently strange that, although The No Asshole Rule doesn't come out until February in the US and the UK, my publisher Hanser has been selling the German language version since October. I was in Germany in early October for a book tour and I had the remarkable experience of going to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is largest and most famous book fair in the world -- and is stunning in sheer physical size and number of books. All the big and famous publishing houses were at Frankfurt. But I was most struck by the thousands of publishers in the world that scrape along selling remarkably few books each year, yet they make th trek to Frankfurt each year.
Der Arschloch-Faktor ("The Asshole Factor") is doing well. We got press coverage in everything from the respectable German-language version of the Financial Times to the tabloid Bild (which Wikipedia claims is the best selling newspaper in Europe), where they ran three articles on the book including a "self-test" to help determine if you are, and asshole (or I guess an "Arschloch"). My editor, the enthusiastic and relentless Martin Janik, reports that the book has gone into the third printing already and is currently #4 on Focus magazine's business books best-seller list. Der Arschloch-Faktor has been in the top 50 books on Amazon in Germany, and currently was ranked 29th among all books last time checked. As I say in my headline, thank you Germany!
I am getting quite a few emails from German readers about workplace assholes, I got an especially interesting one from a fellow who asked about the problem of dealing with his demeaning and cruel professor. He is in an especially difficult predicament victims because of the power differences between faculty and students. Der Arschloch-Faktor does offer ideas about how to deal with assholes you can't get away from, including looking for small victories and learning how to practice indifference. But I didn't have any instant or easy answers for that oppressed student -- life isn't always so simple. But it did remind me about the power differences between Stanford students and faculty members like me, which is something that is all too easy to forget, and something to remember at all times because we can -- often unwittingly -- make their lives miserable.
I am curious to hear from more German readers about "asshole management" problems and solutions in their workplaces , especially about the tactics that people use to battle back against oppressive superiors and peers.
P.S. Der Arschloch-Faktor sold very well over the holiday break and is now the the top selling business book on German Amazon. Thank you again Germany!