Working on your quirk

Another brief interlude from the stats and cog psych, but related to individual differences in reasoning I think! Interesting aside in a book by Robert Sutton on dealing with assholes (technical term here) in the workplace. He clarifies his defintion of the particular breed of asshole (technical term) in whom he is interested (pp. 16–17):

My focus is squarely on screening, reforming, and getting rid of people who demean and damage others, especially others with relatively little power. […] I am a firm believer in the virtues of conflict, even noisy arguments.

Here’s a special case he describes (pp. 18–19) of people who can occasionally appear to be assholes (technical term), but are not:

I also want to put in a good word for socially awkward people […]. I was struck by how many successful leaders of high-tech companies and creative organizations like advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and Hollywood production companies, had learned to ignore job candidates’ quirks and strange mannerisms, to downplay socially inappropriate remarks, and instead, to focus on what the people could actually do.

Examples he gives include autistic people and those with Tourette’s syndrome.


Sutton, R  (2007). The No Asshole Rule. NY: Business Plus.