10/02/2017

A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes


"Not giving a shit takes the wind out of an asshole's sails."

The world is full of assholes. Wherever you live, whatever you do, odds are you’re surrounded by assholes. The question is, what to do about it?

Robert Sutton, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has stepped up to answer this eternal question. He’s the author of a new book, The Asshole Survival Guide, which is basically what it sounds like: a guide for surviving the assholes in your life.

In 2010, Sutton published The No Asshole Rule, which focused on dealing with assholes at an organizational level. In the new book, he offers a blueprint for managing assholes at the interpersonal level. If you’ve got an asshole boss, an asshole friend, or an asshole colleague, this book might be for you.

Asshole survival, Sutton says, is a craft, not a science, meaning one can be good or bad at it. His book is about getting better at it.

I sat down with him recently to talk about his strategies for dealing with assholes, what he means when he says we have to take responsibility for the assholes in our lives, and why he says self-awareness is key to recognizing that the asshole in your life may be you.

“You have to know yourself, be honest about yourself, and rely on people around you to tell you when you’re being an asshole,” he told me. “And when they are kind enough to tell you, listen.”...more