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Personally, "asshole" is not part of my vocabulary. I only use it to refer to your book :). I've encountered some, and know of others -- they do deserve the "title".


The word asshole attracts more more people than it repels..or they are attracted because they are repelled....either way, Bob Sutton gets out his message and helps the working people..

Bob Sutton


Thanks for the thoughtful comment, and I generally don't swear when talking to classes or executive audiences. At least until now. But from the reaction I have seen in emails, comments, posts, and talks -- I spoke at Yahoo!, Google, and eBay in the last week -- is clear to that the attention to the word draws people to the topic, and then -- although I joke of course -- it has consistently drawn people into thoughtful conversation in all these different venues. I am sure I lose people because of the word, but I think the "net" number of people that are thinking seriously about the word is well-worth it. One of the things that I do think is essential -- both for raising the level of conversation and for empirical reasons as well -- is to talk about the fact that all of us are capable of becoming jerks under the wrong conditions, and to that point, I point out times when I have become a temporary asshole. If it was was all finger pointing, I do think it would be more negative.

Thanks for the thoughtful note. And I must say that Mr. Befera wrote one of the most clever letters I've seen. I have been attacked by fellow academics before, as that seems to be our game, but not one was nearly as compelling (or funny) than Mr. Befera).

Wally Bock

Bob, I have SUCH mixed feelings about the word "Asshole" in your title! I understand why you use it and the language doesn't bother me. On the other hand, though, the word itself is a barrier to some people picking up the book at all. For them the word is offensive in public discourse and sense a message that says that book will be vulgar and tasteless. Some years back I was giving a speech and I used a similar word purposely, for its shock value and only once. I noticed several people in the audience stiffen, but I didn't think much of it until a gentleman approached me after my speech. "Couldn't you have made your point with some other word?" he asked, "I didn't hear a thing you said for at least ten minutes because I was concentrating on that word." For me that led to a resolution to keep things G rated in my speeches and writing. I don't want to lose people because of the language I choose.

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