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kevin brislawn

I really think this book applies to my past dilemma at a hopital I worked at. Not only was my lead an asshole, but the higher ups too, all the way to the head manager, but they see it as the underlings problem. So they possibly dont have a No asshole rule there at all. If you think hopitals are without Assholes, they actually emply the most!

Bob Sutton


Thanks for the question on my blog… at one point, we actually had a website set-up to do this, but never launched because in the end we decided it was not in very good taste… I also had a police captain call me about that time and make some threatening noises after someone had left him an anonymous copy. Sorry, part of me still wants to do it, but part of me thinks it is a bad idea!

I leave it to you to buy the copies and send them out yourself.

If you want something really tasteless in this vein, see this:



Jay Hitchcock

Is there an anonymous service that will send this great book out to people who really need to read it? I'd be happy to pay to have this book sent to a few of my "colleagues" that still behave like work is a second grade play ground.


yeah, great idea JT! How about creating a list of nominated assholes with the full details?
This would be a great tool to have for all HR people around the world. We use database for tracking denied companies, same could be done for people. With photos, home address and the full statement of their sins.


Thank you for your book. I'm an executive/administrative assistant/secretary and keep repeating the pattern of working with C-line executives for maybe an extra 10-15k a year? Your book is indirectly helping me ask better questions when I interview and to trust my observations. I'm still idealistic at 40 so I hope to have a nice boss some day.

The good Dr is quite entertaining

I saw the good Dr. at a Stanford class. He's compelling and an entertaining speaker. We all know the content rings true and we'd all be better off if we reduced our "temporary" asshole events as well.

Kevin Bush

Do you have any thoughts etc. on the topic of not being able to make a commitment or decision in the workplace. I have seen situations where people have lacked the ability or willingness to act & the damage it causes. This is why I have come up with the phrase “I used to be indecisive but now I am not so sure” as a way to laugh off the ill effects.

Please let me you what your thoughts are

Chrysoula Holtzhauer

I want to say, that from an employee’s point of view, identifying the ‘asshole’ at your workplace, doesn’t really change things for the better; especially when these a-holes are in Upper Management and all they care about is the bottom line!

I’ve endured several years of offensive behavior (to say the least!) and I’ve worked in this hostile environment always hoping that tomorrow will be a better day…

I’ve watched 2 Area Managers, 3 District Managers and many GM’s get fired, not to mention those who just walked out /quit because of the abusive & demanding characters of the Upper Management.

What can a simple employee do in a situation like this?

Corporate folks must not have any interpersonal training on how to treat their employees. It’s a domino effect—happy employees, are loyal and work hard and go the extra mile; unhappy employees, resent their bosses, don’t give a care and aren’t productive….
Don’t they get it???

Since late 2004, I’ve watched the front door of our establishment become a revolving door---employees would come in (and some of them had real potential), and almost instantly, they would be heading out the door again, to never come back…

It’s been a roller coaster ride, constantly struggling, going home exhausted, aggravated and bitter just to go back the next day to put up with it all over again.

We’ve had several incidents take place over the last few months which inflamed the situation to such a degree, the entire crew and Lower Management just quit!

These incidents included: no raises, refusal to give earned vacation pay, bonuses taken away without notice, demotions, no training but still expecting employees to perform at their optimum ability, unreasonable changes in the work-schedule, and over-turning previous agreements made in the past with Upper Management.

It had also been said that the ones they wanted to get rid of, they’d make them quit so they cannot get unemployment. And those who were smart enough to object and say, “I’m calling Human Resources”, were told that they would be terminated on the spot!

So again, I ask----what is a simple employee to do in a situation like this?

I just cannot describe to you the stress, the anger, the disappointment I’ve felt the last few months. Not to mention the added aggravation from having to deal with Stupidity in the Workplace!

I will read your book, but I’m afraid Assholes will continue to rule in Corporate America and there’s not much we can do about it!


Folks, dignity and empowerment are just fine for our everyday lives. But we as a society need something more.

We need a few people, in the backbone of a nation, particularly our military and pubic service, who still spell Character and Disicipline with capital letters and understand these qualities as simple, non negotiables.

Character is a bright hard line. I am not going to define it for the Robert Sutton generation, but it is not always nice or fair. Discipline is not just being a good little boy or girl and brushing your teeth and respecting others - it is the ability to act as part of a TEAM and OBEY.

These fundamentals cannot be taught by model or example. They can only be drummed in by adversity and confrontation, by someone who is willing to contront. Bob Knight understands this, as do our military veterans. Thank God someone still does.


What about the professor who uses his power of the pen to give students Fs because he does not like their advisor or department? Even when students win the grade dispute, the pain goes on.

Jeroen Goetschalckx

Hi Bob, Haven't read your book yet and probably will not because you are absolutely right but like most of us (I guess), I've already found out about this. When I was a kid my father used to say to me: If you don't like how things are going, then make a career and do it differently. That's what I did and I became an MD of a small sized company (30 employees). But I had to put up with so much sh.. through my entire professional career and still seem to have to. It's not just the fact that it is annoying and tiring. The worst part is that in the end you don't like working anymore. And you end up looking forward to your retirement although you are way too young for that (I'm 45). I wish I had founded my own company. Customers can be assholes too, but at least they pay the bills.
But hey! Good subject! But it only works when the assholes buy the book and not the ones who have to cope with them. But that would probably cut your sales by 90 %. So maybe it is not such a good idea after all.


hey.....Mr.shutton... I REALLY APPRECIATE THE WORK U HAVE DONE FOR THE BOOK "THE NO ASSHOLE RULES" to be frank i am not a book freak.... by chance i saw this book in the stands picked a while and i read the firt two lines of the page,,, i was really impressed ,,,,yup....i traded the book for myself,,,,i am really happy to know... how assholes... are....its really working in my company to.....(workplace)..
and i am very much greatfull for the book...


hey.....Mr.shutton... I REALLY APPRECIATE THE WORK U HAVE DONE FOR THE BOOK "THE NO ASSHOLE RULES" to be frank i am not a book freak.... by chance i saw this book in the stands picked a while and i read the firt two lines of the page,,, i was really impressed ,,,,yup....i traded the book for myself,,,,i am really happy to know... how assholes... are....its really working in my company to.....(workplace)..
and i am very much greatfull for the book...

Ed T.

I picked up this book at the local book emporium, out of curiosity with the title. I am glad I did. For the past several years, I have been suffering what I thought was age or health-related burnout, and was really wondering what was wrong with me. Upon reading the book, I was able to identify what the malaise was: several key people in my organization are in fact assholes, and I was very close to the end of my rope. This has been a real revelation, and I am beginning to think that maybe "asshole poisoning" is at least partially behind the increase in road rage, work rage, and pretty-much-every-place-else rage.

This is a topic I intend to explore further.

Thanks for a very informative book.



I work in an environment where the assholes/bullies look like sorority girls. They are all smiles, good clothes, perfect teeth, etc. For the first few months after joining the firm, I thought that their bad behavior was the result of a particular individual's incompetence. However, it soon became apparent that this nastiness was a form of bonding for these women at the expense of the "Losers" they victimized.

One day the head of the office, who is also the head of the bully brigade, was being particulary overt and vicious to one of my co-workers in a staff meeting and before I knew that my lips were moving I heard my voice saying "Your inner ugly is showing."

My life certainly hasn't been easier since then, but "the inner ugly" has become legendary among the non-bullying staff and a kind of rallying cry for those of us who refuse to drink the mean-girl koolade.


The term asshole is a tad crass.
Crassness itself is a behaviour of assholes. This has me wondering about the true character of the author.
It seems that it's just a marketing ploy whereby if you first can grab a persons attention (media crassness) then you now have an audience with which making a sale may be possible. It's the A (attention) in the AIDS rule of marketing.. attention, interest, desire and sell.
Me, myself, I'm not conned by this shameless marketing.
Emotional immaturity is a common affliction of mankind. It's been that way forever albeit seems to be getting worse lately.
Even though I don't condone the crass marketing of the "no asshole rule" and feel that the author must even be one himself, that does not take away from the validity of advice that is given.


Well, if we don't want assholes around us, we need to define what a real asshole is. My take on that is:

It is a person that is indifferent to other people’s feelings.
It is a person that satisfies selfish needs regardless of others.
It is a person who uses manipulation and intimidation to control others.
It is a person that goes beyond the formal and informal rules.
It is a person that creates the truth to his/hers advantage.
It is people the leaves a trail of conflicts behind them.

That is pretty much the definition of a psychopath...


These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.


I have a theory that the leadership style of Corporate America(from Fortune 500 down to sidewalk lemonade stands) mimics the leadership style that we have in the Whitehouse. In other words, American CEOs tend toward asshole when the President and Vice President are assholes. Think about it and see if I am not correct. How were American CEOs behaved when Jimmy Carter was in office? How about Gerald Ford? George W Bush? What would change if we were to have President Cheney? Should this affect the way we vote? What would it be like to deliver a pizza to Hillary Clinton? What about Barack Obama, or Giuliani, Romney, or McCain. I would suggest there is no benefit to electing President Asshole. If assholes spread like rabbits then having one in the Whitehouse means that all Cabinet members have to be assholes. Consider - Do we want an asshole in charge of FEMA? Or of the CIA? Or as an ambassador to the United Nations? Or as chief of the World Bank? Is your current boss an asshole? Mine is.

Cindy McKinsey

what about people who've been bullied and become asshole as a result of bullying, to defend themselfs ? Any opinions or experience on that?

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