Found in 4 comments on Hacker News
Animats · 2017-08-11 · Original thread
Compare "Assholes, a theory", which is a serious book.[1] It could be subtitled "Why Sociopaths Get Ahead".


Animats · 2017-02-20 · Original thread
Summary: "We commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence".

See "Assholes, a Theory" (2014). Despite the title, this is a serious book and well worth reading.


Animats · 2016-02-06 · Original thread
Poor article. Read "Assholes, a Theory"[1] for a serious look at the subject. This focuses on why society rewards assholes. That book makes the case that denial of reality and violating certain other social norms yields social advancement.

For a non-serious look at the subject read "TFM - Total Frat Move".[2] This is a very light book, but it captures the fraternity mindset at a party school. The frat is a training ground for assholes. The important item is in the introduction: "All but two US presidents since 1825, 76 percent of the U.S. Senate, most high-level executives, and all of the Apollo 11 astronauts were in fraternities."

[1] [2]

greenyoda · 2012-11-19 · Original thread
The article notes: "In his recent treatise on this subject (its title regrettably unprintable here), the philosopher Aaron James posits that people with this personality type are so infuriating — even when the inconvenience they cause us is negligible — because they refuse to recognize the moral reality of those around them."

Out of curiosity, I searched for Aaron James and found the book whose title could not be mentioned: Assholes: A Theory.[1] From Amazon's review of the book:

What does it mean for someone to be an asshole? The answer is not obvious, despite the fact that we are often personally stuck dealing with people for whom there is no better name. Try as we might to avoid them, assholes are found everywhere—at work, at home, on the road, and in the public sphere. Encountering one causes great difficulty and personal strain, especially because we often cannot understand why exactly someone should be acting like that.

Asshole management begins with asshole understanding. Much as Machiavelli illuminated political strategy for princes, this book finally gives us the concepts to think or say why assholes disturb us so, and explains why such people seem part of the human social condition, especially in an age of raging narcissism and unbridled capitalism. These concepts are also practically useful, as understanding the asshole we are stuck with helps us think constructively about how to handle problems he (and they are mostly all men) presents. We get a better sense of when the asshole is best resisted, and when he is best ignored—a better sense of what is, and what is not, worth fighting for.


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