The new Time Magazine has a story and sort of a review of The No Asshole Rule called No Jerks Allowed. Author Lisa Cullen writes for Time about workplace issues (that is her picture below). Lisa has a fun angle and writes with pizazz. She does, however, seem to celebrate assholes more than I do, asking: "Imagine American Idol without Simon, House without House, Family Guy without Stewie. Colleagues of Steve Jobs bear the scars, but wouldn't you prefer him on your team than theirs?" I see the upside of assholes, as seen in my Changethis essay and chapter on "the virtues of assholes."
Unlike Lisa, however, I think that most assholes aren't worth the trouble, as even if being an asshole helps people win at times, my view is that if you are a winner and an asshole, you are still an asshole and I don't want to be around you. I would also add that the belief that acting like an asshole helps you win is a suspect assumption. It is at least in large part a cultural myth, and while it may lead to short-term wins at times, the upshot (to steal an old line from Groucho Marx) is that "time wounds all heels" (or at least most of them).
I was also amused to see that at least two of Lisa's effective assholes are fictional characters (I say at least two because I sometimes think that American Idol's Simon Cowell is putting on an act to drive up ratings, albeit a convincing one). And as I also like to emphasize, organizations that enforce the no asshole rule the right way aren't a breeding ground for wimps. On the contrary, many are extremely performance oriented and celebrate constructive conflict (rather than demeaning, nasty, and personally insulting conflict).
In any event, it is a fun story, and I don't want to paint Lisa as exactly an advocate of assholes, because as she admits, "beastly bosses have shaved months off my life."
P.S. Note that Lisa Cullen has a post up called "In Defense of Office Assholes."
Again, she makes some good arguments, but I am concerned that she is creating an excuse for people to act like assholes or to tolerate them too much.