The one sentence summary

Bad behaviour is on the rise, but there are some ingenious approaches you can use to cope with it.


  • In 2007 the author wrote The No Asshole Rule and sold 800,000 copies. This book draws on the experiences in 8,000 emails he has subsequently received, and contains his best advice on how to deal with assholes in all walks of life.
  • Bad behaviour has been on the increase, with incidents of abusive supervision, rudeness, bullying, road rage, air rage and phone rage growing all the time.
  • The TCA is the Total Cost of Assholes – behaviour of this type is proven to reduce the performance of both individuals and companies.
  • Coping with this is a craft not a science. Some diagnostic questions first:
  1. Do you feel as though the alleged asshole is treating you (and others) as dirt?
  2. How long will the ugliness persist?
  3. Are you dealing with a temporary or certified asshole?
  4. Is it an individual or a systemic disease?
  5. How much more power do you have over the asshole?
  6. How much are you really suffering?
  • Coping techniques include:
  • Sit as far away from assholes as possible – even 10 feet in an office helps.
  • Try not to interact with them – leave meetings early, avoid confrontation or engaging with them.
  • Wear an invisibility cloak – stay below the radar and just get on with your work, putting in MVE – Minimum Viable Effort.
  • Find bully blockers – bosses who can protect you from assholes.
  • Go backstage – designate areas where you can get temporary relief.
  • Activate the early warning system – get colleagues to warn each other when assholes are on the prowl nearby.



  • Asshole blindness is a failure to see the problem, which usually means that you start behaving like one yourself. This is because of habituation and deluded justifications – everyone else is behaving badly, so you do too.
  • Be slow to label others as assholes, be quick to label yourself as one. “Every group has an asshole. If you look around and don’t see one, that means it is you.” Craig Ferguson, former host of The Late Late Show.
  • Over 50% of Americans say they have experienced bullying at work, but only 1% admits to doing it – a huge gap. The working wounded struggle everyday to survive these ugly circumstances.
  • A-holity is the propensity to be an asshole.
  • Boardholes are assholes on the board.
  • Bossholes are asshole bosses.
  • A Doucheboard is an entire board of assholes.
  • Grinfuckers smile to your face and stab you in the back.
  • Passholes are passive aggressive assholes.


  • This will be a great help to anyone who has to work with assholes.