The No Asshole Rule

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The No Asshole Rule.jpg
Author Robert I. Sutton
Genre Business
Publisher Business Plus
Publication date
February 22, 2007
Pages 224
ISBN 978-0-446-52656-2
OCLC 154698708
650.1/3 22
LC Class HD58.7 .S935 2007

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't is a book by Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton, based on a popular essay he wrote for the Harvard Business Review. It sold over 115,000 copies and won the Quill Award for best business book in 2007.[1][2][3]

The theme of this book is that bullying behaviour in the workplace worsens morale and productivity. A rule is suggested to screen out the toxic staff—the no asshole rule. The author insists upon use of the word asshole since other words such as bully or jerk do not have the same impact.[4]

"There's an emotional reaction to a dirty title. You have a choice between being offensive and being ignored."

—Robert Sutton

Two tests are specified for recognition of the asshole:[5]

  1. After encountering the person, do people feel oppressed, humiliated or otherwise worse about themselves?
  2. Does the person target people who are less powerful than him/her?

Their unpleasant behaviours were catalogued by Sutton as The Dirty Dozen:[6]

  1. Insults
  2. Violation of personal space
  3. Unsolicited touching
  4. Threats
  5. Sarcasm
  6. Flames
  7. Humiliation
  8. Shaming
  9. Interruption
  10. Backbiting
  11. Glaring
  12. Snubbing

Famous bosses who are cited as having weakened their position by such bad behaviour include Al Dunlap and Michael Eisner. Companies who are listed as having appropriate recruitment policies include: Barclays Capital, Google, Jet Blue and Men's Wearhouse.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ James Brady (18 October 2007), Books & Bucks, Forbes 
  2. ^ "MS&E prof's new book takes Quill Award", The Stanford Daily, 11 October 2007 
  3. ^ Gordon Noble (3 April 2008), Costing workplace bullying, Business Spectator 
  4. ^ Katherine Kizilos (19 February 2007), The kindness of strangers, The Age 
  5. ^ Robert I. Sutton (2008), The No Asshole Rule, Business Plus, ISBN 978-0-446-69820-7 
  6. ^ Robert Cipriano (2011), "No Jerks Allowed in This Department", Facilitating a Collegial Department in Higher Education, John Wiley and Sons, ISBN 978-1-118-10764-5 
  7. ^ Hardy Green (19 March 2007), How To Get Rid Of The, Uh, Jerks, Business Week 
  8. ^ David Siegfried (1 February 2007), "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't", Booklist