TL;DR: The book talks about a dark side of the organisation life where assholes exist and can bring physical and psychological destruction to people around and costs to the organisation. Though the book is more aimed at bosses and managers I certainly enjoyed the read. I recommend this people to everybody, even if you don’t find yourself in asshole trap (a company full of assholes), you might find out that you have a bit of inner-jerk yourself and this book might help you control it.
I don’t know exactly why I picked up this book in the first place, I must have found the title funny or something like that. The book is more aimed at CEOs and Managers but it contains some interesting chapters to everybody.
The author starts by describing what he calls an asshole which is a person that humiliates and makes other feels bad about themselves. A person is more of an asshole if his/hers targets are typically people with less power on the organisational structure.
The book explains how these assholes are threat to organisations and why they should be avoided at all costs. It is important that a company can avoid hiring assholes but this should not be an open invitation to only have soulless drones who only agree with each. People should be stimulated to engage in discussion and criticism of each others ideas (constructive criticism).
The author also tells the cost of having assholes should not be overlooked only because the said asshole is a person that brings many profits to the company. You can have a guy that is your best salesman and cashes in loads of sales, but the costs of his attitudes might surpass the profits he brings in because he increases your turnover rate.
One part that I was surprised to find out is many studies have shown that even little amounts of power can turn people in complete assholes.
The author also claims that if you want starting the assholes in your workplace, the fight actually should start within you. Most have the people have been assholes in one or another situation (I know I have). The author introduces some techniques so that you can introspect and try to find out the causes that brought out your inner-jerk and how you can change.
In the one of the last chapters the author explains what you can do if you find yourself trapped in an asshole hell by showing some psychologic techniques that can be used to better deal with it.
The last chapter is dedicated to show that sometimes behaving like an asshole can bring you temporary advantages, thus why some people resort to it. Though the prolonged use of assholeness can bring terrible effects on your colleagues and organisation.