Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Another Recent Book: The No Asshole Rule

I'm behind in blogging about the books I've read recently. Here's one that I enjoyed and I hope you'll read it.

"The No Asshole Rule" by Robert Sutton currently has 4.5/5 stars from 47 Amazon reviewers. Dr. Sutton is a professor of management science and engineering at Stanford. Here's his blog and here's his bio at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Stanford's web site hosts another bio for him with the Center for Work, Technology & Organization. I heard about the book from Guy Kawasaki's blog where he promotes it shamelessly. But I don't fault Guy because I really enjoyed the book. I listened to the audiobook version which is read by Sutton. He's an enthusiastic speaker and I'd probably enjoy attending his lectures.

The book is basically about the ubiquitous phenomenon of jerks in the workplace and what can be done about them. Sutton fills the book with a lot of examples, most of which seem to be actual people (as opposed to hypothetical situations). I hope this book is read and its values embraced by a lot of companies. Since we all devote such a large fraction of our waking hours at work, this one goal (to reduce the number of jerks) can improve the lives of so many people. Many companies these days are focusing on recruiting the most passionate people. Identifying and ranking passion amongst candidates is a challenging bit of subjective variability. Maybe corporate culture would benefit more from reducing the number of jerks. Sutton shows ways that you can identify them. Maybe not during the interview process, but they all show their colors eventually. Fewer jerks is bound to help unbridle the passion in the rest of the employees.

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