Lessons on Dealing with Assholes

The Asshole Survival Guide is a new book by Robert Sutton, a specialist in dealing with assholes. No, he’s not a proctologist. Sutton’s research is about what makes someone behave like a jerk and what others can do about it. He’s a psychology professor at Stanford University where they actually have a no assholes policy. If you’re dealing with a lot of jerks at work then maybe you should read his book.

Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the book, which is about how to deal with assholes. So tell me, what’s your best asshole neutralization strategy?

Robert Sutton
First, it depends on how much power you have. And second, on how much time you’ve got. Those are the two questions that you have to answer before you can decide what to do. Assuming that you don’t have Dirty Harry power or you’re not the CEO and can’t simply fire people you don’t like, I think you have to do two things in terms of strategy.

To begin with, you’ve got to build your case. You’ve also got to build a coalition. One of my mottos is that you have to know your assholes. We already talked about temporary versus certified assholes, but another distinction that’s really important is that some people, and you mentioned this at the outset, some people are clueless assholes and don’t realize they’re jerks, but maybe they mean well.

In that situation, you can have backstage conversations, gently informing them that they’ve crossed a line. This is simple persuasive work. But if it’s somebody who is one of those Machiavellian assholes who is treating you like shit because they believe that’s how to get ahead, in that case you’ve got to get the hell out of there if you can.

Read more.

The Future of Economics is a Doughnut

Economists have focussed on just one thing for the last hundred years or so: making money. That might sound fine, but classically these economists have ignored the societal and environmental costs of their proposed money making schemes. Their willful ignorance has unleashed climate change on us all, and that’s precisely where Kate Raworth comes in. Raworth proposes that 21st century economics focusses on the inequality and lack of equilibrium in the world. Once we focus on balancing our global economic system with our global life systems will we all benefit (instead of just the rich getting richer).

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Read more.
Thanks to Delaney!

Australian Library Puts its Collection Outside

Story Wall is an art project running at the State Library of South Australia with the goal of getting more people to read. Even if people don’t read they can enjoy the library’s collection since the works are being projected on to the library itself.

“Through our conversations with the Library we were aware of things like The Treasures Wall and SA Memory and different exhibitions they had presented over time, and potential collection items that could be developed further, things like early colonial toys and donated car tyres from the Adelaide Grand Prix.

“But of course within the Library there are curators and librarians who have a deep understanding of the collections that are not of public knowledge. And we wanted to know what their ideas were, and talk about what it was going to mean for the public to hear or have those stories told in a new form,'” says Drennan.

As a result, the projections that play on the sandstone walls of the Library from sunset to midnight throughout Summer, have deep roots in South Australia’s history.

Read more.

The Slow City, The Good Life

Cities are often associated with the hustle and bustle of life and commerce. Whereas the countryside is associated with stillness and slowness. One author, William Powers, decided to see what life is like when you treat the city as a slow place akin to the countryside.

Just like Thoreau, he wrote a book about it. Unlike Thoreau, Powers actually practiced what he preached.

My favorite sanctuaries: Pier 45’s tip, where the West Side Highway fades to a hum; a back seat in the cathedral of St. John the Divine in late afternoon; the High Line, a new park sanctuary created from unused urban infrastructure; a silent, little-touristed third-floor corner of the Met reached via a concealed stairway in the Asian wing (it houses imaginative Chinese decorative arts).

Moongazing on Tar Beach after dinner, we muse on two other urban sanctuaries: Washington Square and Madison Square Parks on warm days, when we love to kick off sandals and lie back to savor that sensual press of our bodies to the Earth. Gravity’s eros. I can feel that attraction now — and it’s mutual, since our bodies exert a tiny gravity on the Earth — as my wife and I touch hands, the Milky Way invisible against Manhattan’s illumination, with only Venus, the moon, and a handful of stars perforating through.

Keep reading.
Get the book.

Read This Book: The Optimistic Environmentalist

The Optimistic Environmentalist is a new book by environmental lawyer Dr. David R. Boyd. Much like this website, the book is also about taking a positive look on the otherwise endless onslaught of bad news we get in the mainstream media.

David has worked in environmental law for many years, and he’s the first the admit that it can be very difficult not to get bogged down by all the bad news media we hear about the state of our planet. In fact, the inspiration for this book came from his 6-year old daughter. When she came home from school one day in tears because her well-meaning teacher had told her that we were melting ice caps and killing polar bears, he decided that it was time the innovations and successes of the environmental movement got their fair share of attention.

As David says, “The belief that something positive is possible is an essential step towards making it happen.”

The Optimistic Environmentalist tells a new story about the environment, one that’s hopeful and inspiring, but honest. Yes, the world faces substantial environmental challenges – climate change, pollution, and extinction. But the surprisingly good news is that we have solutions to these problems. A leading expert on environmental law and policy, David Boyd has been called one of the most important voices on climate change. He is hopeful about our future, and has filled a book with surprising statistics, entertaining anecdotes about different technological advances, and heart-warming stories about introducing his young daughter to our bright green planet.

Scroll To Top
%d bloggers like this: