The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

Author(s): Robert Sutton

Published: 2010

Report Published: 18th October 2016

Quake Magnitude: 8.0 major quake stamp_100x36

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Field Survey

The No Asshole Rule is a business book with a difference. It doesn’t promote profits over people but names and shames those “leaders” who use fear and dirty tactics to get their own way, by calling it what it really is – bullying. It takes offense at the glorifying of behaviour that would be banned in a playground and thus give hope to the millions “trapped” in an office run by a manager hell bent on making everybody’s life a misery.

BS quotes and inspirational meaningless drivel supportive of a dog-eat-dog world are conspicuously absent and replaced by survival strategies and support for those sharing a workspace with kiss-up, kick-down bosses or colleagues. The result is a sensible practical, if not revolutionary book on striving for small victories, building teamwork and collective happiness in a world ruled by just one universal principal: No Assholes, please!

This book also gives you the tools and techniques to keep your inner arsehole in check and champions an environment where all employees are respected and all certified arseholes are rooted out and kept out, regardless of perceived privilege, position or pay packet.

Consequently, this book should be mandatory reading for all staff, including management, from HR down to the shop floor. It is also for anyone who manages an organisation, which values people above spreadsheets, and for anyone, who like me, was treated like s*** from the first day… or first 10 minutes to be precise… it really is the only survival guide out there for those kind of situations!


“Most people look for and remember facts that confirm their biases, while they simultaneously avoid and forget facts that contradict their dearly held beliefs.”

“If you stomp on others as you climb the ladder and treat them like losers once you reach the top, my opinion is that you debase your own humanity and undermine your team.”

“Learning when and how to simply not give a damn isn’t the kind of advice you hear in most business books, but it can help you make the best of a lousy situation”

QUAKE Moment

Rob Sutton’s book is one of the few I have read twice within an 18 month period. I bought it whilst stuck waiting for a family member at a train station and I am very glad I did. The book changed my life and gave me the ability to strategise and re-direct my professional career in a way that got me out of an extremely demeaning situation, where people linked to me were routinely treated like dirt or threatened. One colleague, and dear friend, even had her car scratched by members of our faculty and was later denied by HR access to the video footage she needed for insurance purposes. It really was tough when the arseholes were supported by the higher echelons of leadership, despite their obviously toxic effect on the rest of the university, its reputation amongst academics in the city, research funds and the students they taught.

This book gave me back my rationale thoughts and a sense of purpose. It also provided me with the tools I needed to support colleagues that were attacked just for being my friend! Such book weapons are essential when you refuse to beat them or join them and showed me how my sense of self-worth or professional integrity does not rely on other people’s opinion, but rather the quality and credibility of my own work and convictions. It was my work that carried me to greener pastures and represented the one thing they couldn’t take away from me.

Just so you know QUAKE Books Agents, being horrible doesn’t pay. It was exceptionally pleasurable to hear that all guilty parties in leadership were sacked on a mass purge when my friends and I, who actually did the work, left the university and inadvertently proved what we had been saying all along…

The second time I read The No Asshole Rule, I did so with entirely different intentions. I wanted to make sure, after I had escaped that job and recovered, that I removed the last sticking points and poison they injected. One is never completely immune to such a barrage of abuse and some coping mechanisms are in themselves not healthy in the long-term. What can I say, a massive bookquake all round!


I no longer see my importance or self-worth in terms of the job I hold. It was in reading this book that I started to realise that my health, fitness and happiness were fundamentally more important than anything else an arsehole could say or do. This became even truer when I finally fathomed out that my bosses weren’t going home and worrying over the venom they had spewed out or the problems they had caused. Whilst I was tossing and turning they were sleeping like big babies dreaming about their success and the satisfaction of another “good day” at the office. So, in many ways, this book represents the origin of this, QUAKE Book HQ and the reason why I began to make more time for myself and the people that really mattered and cared about me.

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