First Look

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

By Robert I. Sutton
Warner Business Books, February 2007


Sutton, a Stanford professor, counsels people on surviving jerks at work and taming your own “inner jerk.” An excerpt:

The company decided that in addition to warnings and training, it was time to quantify the incremental costs of Ethan’s bad behavior and deduct it from his bonus….The estimated costs were:

Time spent by Ethan’s direct manager: 250 hours valued at $25,000

Time spent by HR professionals: 50 hours valued at $5,000

Time spent by senior executives: 15 hours valued at $10,000

Time spent by the company’s outside employment counsel: 10 hours valued at $5,000

Cost of recruiting and training a new secretary to support Ethan: $85,000

Overtime costs associated with Ethan’s last-minute demands: $25,000

Anger-management training and counseling: $5,000

Estimated total cost of asshole for one year: $160,000