May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Communication with Corporate Psychopaths

News See also Recommended Books Micromanagers Conformism- Rebellion Spectrum Social Psychology Sociology Etc

While conversation skills are extremely important the key in dealing with corporate psychopath is understanding of personality and internal dynamic of this type of people.  A minimum would be country college course is Psychology and Sociology.  Being a strong believer that continuing education is a necessity of modern life, I want strongly advice not to limit yourself to primitive self-help pulp fiction and try to get some knowledge of psychology and sociology.

Confronting corporate psychopath is difficult even for professionals to say nothing about amateurs like most IT personnel.

Many self-help books are primitive "self-help bubble" and might be actually harmful without understanding the bigger picture.

The second major component is tact. Tact is a careful consideration of the feelings and values of another so as to create harmonious relationships with a reduced potential for conflict or offense. Tact is considered to be a virtue.

An example of tact would be relating to someone a potentially embarrassing detail of their appearance or demeanor without causing them distress.

Tact is a form of interpersonal diplomacy. Tact is the ability to induce change or communicate hurtful information without offending through the use of consideration, compassion, kindness, and reason.

A tactful person can tell you something you don't want to hear and you will be thankful for the information when they are finished.

Synonyms: considerateness, consideration, delicacy, diplomacy, discreetness, finesse, savoir-faire, thoughtfulness.

I believe diplomacy (which is called assertive communication in USA) is one of the most important elements of office relations.  It is the skillful approach to conducting tactful negotiations, and the ability to speak or act without offending. This skill is necessary for attaining successful relations in such a diverse international labor force as the United States.


Old News ;-)

Coward's Guide to Conflict Empowering Solutions for Those Who Would Rather Run Than Fight Tim Ursiny Books

4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful!, November 21, 2004
By Rolf Dobelli "" (Luzern Switzerland) - See all my reviews

This is a fine, short guide to managing conflict. Author Tim Ursiny particularly addresses those of you who are "conflict cowards," people who do not like conflict...and who does, outside of a few well-compensated litigaters? Ursiny himself is a confessed hater of conflict. He has hated it ever since he was a child and now, even though he's an executive coach and a fairly beefy guy, he still hates it. He is also a psychologist, and his style and approach have much in common with the work of other pop psychology writers, although this guide is more useful than most. Ursiny keeps the reading light by providing ample anecdotes and he invites readers to participate through several self-examination questionnaires. He provides some clearly written, easily accessible explanations of how conflicts occur and how to manage them. In fact, he defines conflict, its consequences and even its benefits so broadly that almost anyone fits the book's target audience. You got a problem with that? We doesn't and warmly recommend this entertaining, refreshing book, which - we agree - has something for almost everyone who'd rather duck than fight.

1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time and money--steer clear of this one., August 20, 2003 By A Customer

I make my living as a conflict management trainer and consequently make it my business to be familiar with books that I can recommend to my clients to help them deal more comfortably and effectively with conflict. This isn't one of them.

Chock full of self-help nonsense, with liberal helpings of Tony-Robbins-style psychobabble, this book fails to provide readers with practical skills that are useful in real-life contexts. Looking for a good book to help you deal with conflict? Then skip this garbage and instead get yourself a copy of Douglas Stone's "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most". Written by some wise and sensible folks from the Harvard Project on Negotiation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this book will help you become better prepared and more at ease at addressing those difficult situations that all of us have found ourselves in but find challenging or scary to confront. The Resiliency Advantage Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks Al Siebert Books

5.0 out of 5 stars A practical book the provides valuable tools for confronting life's difficult challenges!!!, December 29, 2006
By Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews

Self-rate yourself on a scale from 1 (meaning little agreement) to 5 (meaning strongly agree) on the following ten items:

(1) In a crisis or chaotic situation, I calm myself and focus on taking useful actions.
(2) I'm usually optimistic, seeing difficulties as temporary and believe things will eventually turn out well.
(3) I can tolerate high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.
(4) I'm good at bouncing back from difficulties and quickly adapt to new developments.
(5) I'm self-confident and have a healthy concept of who I am.
(6) I prefer to work without a written job description since I'm more effective when I'm free to do what I think is best in each situation.
(7) I trust my intuition and "read" people well.
(8) I'm a good listener and have good empathy skills.
(9) I've been made stronger and better by difficult experiences.
(10) I've converted misfortune into good luck and even found benefits in bad experiences.

A low score of (under 25) means your resiliency skills are weak and you would greatly benefit from this amazing, easy-to-read, psychobabble-free book by Dr. Al Siebert, a clinical psychologist and Director of "The Resiliency Center". (`Resiliency' means (i) coping well with ongoing negative change (ii) sustaining good health and energy under constant pressure (iii) bouncing back from setbacks and adversities (iv) changing to a new way of living and working when an old way no longer works (v) and doing all this without acting in harmful ways.)
A middle score of (25 to 45) means your resiliency skills are adequate but probably can be greatly enhanced by using this book.
A high score of (over 45) means you have good resiliency skills and this book will validate many things you are doing right.

This book in a nutshell presents five resiliency "levels" or skills (level four is divided into 4 sub-levels while level 5 is divided into 3 sub-levels) so, in affect, the reader is presented with ten essential resiliency skills that Siebert has distilled from "the emerging new science of resiliency psychology." This book, besides other important things, shows you how to:

(1) Sustain strong, healthy energy in non-stop pressure and change
(2) Bounce back quickly from setbacks
(3) Gain strength from adversities
(4) Convert misfortune into good fortune
(5) Overcome tendencies to feel like a victim, and stay detached from victim reactions of others
(6) Overcome the three main resiliency barriers.

Who is this book written for? Siebert explains: "The resiliency guidelines in this book focus mainly on resiliency in the workplace, but they apply broadly to all aspects of life." (Actually, I think Siebert is being too restrictive in saying that these principles "focus mainly on resiliency in the workplace." Personally, I think these principles are essential to know so as to effectively play the game of life.)

What will this book NOT tell you? It "will not tell you what to do or how to act or think...Resilient people are those who decide that somehow, some way, they will do the very best they can to survive, cope, and make things turn out well." This book helps you develop your own unique way of being resilient by being both self-reliant and socially responsible.

As a physically disabled person, my personal favorite chapter was entitled "Mastering Extreme Resiliency Challenges." Included here are true stories from 9/11 survivors. I feel Siebert outdoes himself in this penultimate chapter.

Finally, this book has some key features. Important definitions, exercises, and other important and essential information are isolated from the main narrative as inserts so as to highlight key ideas. Each chapter is broken up into sections with anecdotes, examples, and true stories instead of having one long narrative. At the end of each chapter are insightful "Resiliency Development Activities" that help you utilize and think about the information from each chapter.

In conclusion, this is truly a helpful and unique book. Discover for yourself why this book was named the winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the "Self Help" category at BookExpo America (the largest book publishing event in the United States) and why it was endorsed by the past president of the American Psychological Association!!

(first published 2005; preface; 13 chapters; main narrative 200 pages; notes; index; acknowledgements; about the author)

Survivor Personality Al Siebert Books by Al Siebert

Resiliency - the ability to adapt to life's changes and crises - is the key to a healthy, productive life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide on resilience, January 5, 2002
By Kate McMurry (United States) - See all my reviews
This is a wonderfully written book: clear, comprehensive and incredibly insightful. It helps you discover if you are a survivor or not, become one if you are not already, and avoid persecution that sometimes comes your way when you are naturally a survivor personality. I found that last part a fascinating irony: you might think, as I did before reading this book, that it is a 100% great thing to be a survivor. Unfortunately, people in the lives of survivors often criticize and attack them for the very traits that allow them to survive and prosper. To help survivors deal with this, Siebert provides invaluable information on what he calls, "surviving being a survivor." Here is one of my favorites of his many insights on this extremely important issue:

He says that resilient people are often mistaken by others, who are not so good at surviving adversity, as being "pessimists." A survivor is very talented at anticipating possible problems at work and at home and planning a response to them. (Much like the old saying, "Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.") People who hate to look before they leap often accuse survivors of being needlessly fearful, stick-in-the-mud thinkers. Of course, when the inevitable happens, and the ready-or-not-here-I-come types land in trouble, who do they always run to for help digging out of the mess they've failed to anticipate? The survivor, of course.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who needs help successfully living through traumas and catastrophes in his/her life (just about all of us!). The stories Siebert tells of survivors, including analysis of what they did to recover from agonizing events and why their approaches worked, are both practical and inspiring.

Testifying in Court Guidelines and Maxims for the Expert Witness Books Stanley L. Brodsky

Well worth the time to read if you testify as an expert, March 22, 2006
Reviewer: Dr. M. K. Seifert "Dr. Kathryn Seifert" (Salisbury, MD USA) - See all my reviews
Everyone who has testified in Court has at least one horror story where the attorney made them look foolish or worse. This book prepares you with an understanding of the process, procedures and roles of courts and attorneys. Knowing how to handle those tough situations can increase confidence on the stand and reduce the disenchantment of having been "brow beaten" by an attorney. Everyone, but the most experienced expert witness will find this book invaluable.

How To Excel During Deposition Techniques for Experts that Work Books Steven Babitsky,James J., Jr. Mangraviti

Mother Earth to the Expert Witness, March 16, 2003
Reviewer: R. Shaff "Velocipede" (USA) - See all my reviews
I'm farily judicious relative to giving a product 5 stars when providing reviews however, HOW TO EXCEL DURING DEPOSITIONS (HTEDD), is incredibly deserving. While this is certainly a niche book and one very few in the Amazon world will read, for those few who are professionals, whether in the litigation consulting arena or not, this text provides an over-the-top treatise on the right and wrong ways of providing testimony under deposition. Further, regardless desire, chances are that many professionals will be called upon to give a deposition at some point in their professional careers given the litigous society in which we live. HTEDD is a small investment that will pay off in spades.

The authors, Babitsky and Mangraviti, could be described as the "Expert's Expert." Together, they lead an organization devoted to assisting the expert in understanding the law relative to expert testimony and provide insight into tactics used by attorneys in depositions and trial scenarios. Both attorneys, Babitsky and Mangraviti, are, in fact, experts in providing this tutelage.

The nine chapters in this book are:

1. Deposition Law and Procedure - overviews of the law pertaining to depositions, the discovery process, attorney-client privilege and how that affects the expert, and general decorum during depositions;

2. Why Experts are Deposed - this chapter provides the various reasons opposing counsel wished to take an expert's deposition and the types of probing questions the expert can expect;

3. Preparing for Your Deposition - this chapter stresses the importance of PREPARATION...mastering the facts and understanding the expert's role;

4. Subpoenas/Duces Tecum and Use of Documents at Deposition - explains the different types of subpoenas experts will receive and the proper handling of documents before, during and after a deposition;

5. Answering Counsel's Questions - this is an all-important chapter as it provides actual examples of what to do and what not to do given certain scenarios of probable lines of questioning;

6. Deposition Advice for Expert Witnesses - this chapter is a goldmine of advice from your manner of speaking to eliciting emotion;

7. Setting Your Fee, Billing, and Collecting - speaks for itself; near and dear to every expert;

8. Videotape Depositions - an important chapter inasmuch as videotape depositions are becoming more prevalent in today's courtrooms; and

9. Handling Abuse - yes, the expert does have rights and recourse if an attorney is out-of-line.

I have been providing litigation consulting services for the last five years, have testified and/or been deposed in state court and NASD/NYSE arbitration hearings and can honestly tell you that this book should be considered a guidebook for any expert, whether new or experienced. I can't say enough good things about this book.

Art of Socratic Questioning

Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder

Don't know much about the book but the title is right

Too Nice for Your Own Good How to Stop Making 9 Self-Sabotaging Mistakes Books Duke Robinson

Niceness Mistakes-For Good!, June 11, 2003
Reviewer: Ilaxi S. Patel "Editor, & Author of Guardian of Angels" (India) - See all my reviews
How oft we create a wave to spell trouble with our own perfections being true and honest with good faith and intentions? We take on too much not saying what we want and that's exactly what the book reveals - the niceness mistakes that 'Damage' us! Unconsciously, we have planted strong messages in the back of our minds and with good intentions by our mentors, follow the moral code of conducts in life. Be good, be nice, be cool, share and care, don't be selfish, be reasonable, don't hurt others, help friends, say yes and so on. In real, trying to reach perfection and taking on too much lead us to exhaustion and sooner or later the ship of our life start sinking. The author gives an insight to the nine unconscious mistakes we often make daily and helps us correct them and pulls a person out of frustration and stress. In not saying what you want and taking on too much, it leads to suppressed anger. Robinson provides healthy tips to express anger to orchestrate a balanced life. Life itself is like riding a bike up and down roads that are bumpy, curvy, hilly while juggling bananas, balloons and bowling balls says Robinson and so this is when you have a fall, life needs balancing back to pedal and steer with too much/too little, too rational/too emotional, to fast/too slow, too cautious/too reckless, too strong/too weak, etc. and remain upright empowering to get what you need and deserve. Irony is, sometimes our niceness betrays us and this book is a key to understanding our mistakes and bring about a 'change' in us. Robinson makes us a nicer person making one realise the mistakes, why we make and how to give up. In doing so, Robinson guides in:

1. Liberating from the bondage of other's expectations
2. Saying no rstand or shrug off not appreciating your worth as human being. This book is indeed a gem collection for every person who has learned to live being 'Nice' and remain being so without being emotionally hung up sometimes. Good Pick!

Too Nice For Your Own Good, January 17, 2004

Reviewer: Kay C. Roddick (Sonoma, CA) - See all my reviews
Being "nice" isn't always as good as it look!
Always being "nice" looks so good from the outside, but oh, the pain that is there inside. Duke Robinson's touching book guides you through simple, yet challanging steps to relieve that pain forever. My first intention was to read this book as a self-help guide in learning how to deal with my mistakes. I found my "niceness" in many chapters and immediately began trying some of the suggested changes. They do work and I feel better! Being a believer that continuing education is a lifelong process, I want to share this book with others. Using the author's study guides, I plan to introduce "Good Intentions" to an adult study group at my church.

Handling Verbal Confrontation Take the Fear Out of Facing Others Books

Civilized Assertiveness for Women Communication with Backbone...not Bite

Judith Selee, Ph.D. McClure
Great book, May 5, 2005
Reviewer: A reader - See all my reviews
I knew I needed to set limits with other pdoes. It gives a few phrases that work everywhere with everyone, as well as other phrases to use with bosses vs. colleagues, or with coworkers vs. family and friends. It's not your average "self-help" book -- it's down to earth and truly useful. The author explains how women are raised to not stand up for themselves and then show how we can do it without getting the backlash we fear or expect. It's a great book.

The Assertiveness Workbook How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships.

Randy J. Paterson Ph.D

The Power of Positive Confrontation The Skills You Need to Know to Handle Conflicts at Work, at Home, and in Life Books

Barbara Pachter, Susan Magee

Perhaps three chapter's worth of usable content, February 24, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
It's only natural for a popular self-help speaker with a truly great message to want to put it into book form. The Power of Positive Confrontation teaches a truly great technique for confronting others that will help everyone who has trouble standing up for him or herself. Too bad there's only about three chapter's worth of actual content in its sixteen chapters. Instead the author gets into telling us how to dress for success, how to convey the information that a friend or loved one is in the hospital, do's and don'ts of International Travel along with several chapters of warm-up before finally getting to her actual WAC technique. Don't get me wrong, I still recommend this book highly but an abridged cassette version would be a lot less painful.

The Power of Positive Confrontation, December 9, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
Using the techniques I learned in this book, I was finally able to confront my mother in law and my co worker about things that have been bothering me without getting upset. It worked! I found out that I was using self-discounting statements and my body langauge was a problem too. The book explains the WAC'em technique for getting your words together. The "W" helps you define what's bothering you and why.

** Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Stephen R. Covey
Steven Covey is a master to self-help bubble writing. Books with an attractive looking subject but with absolutely no substance. Buyer beware...
, February 17, 2006
Reviewer: D. Costner - See all my reviews
long winded and full of psycho-babble. there is usefull information here, but you're really going to have to work to find it.

I could be wrong... this is just my opinion...., December 10, 2006

Reviewer: Ofer J. Perry "ISO the truth" (Fort Worth, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
I was recommended this book by a psychologist who specializes in marital relationships. I quickly went to the closest Barnes & Noble (and paid way over what I should have for this book) and began reading. The overall concepts in this book are genuinely simplistic, but I guess that most of us are so blinded by our emotions when we have "crucial conversations" that we forget the basics. This book does an o.k. job of reminding us of those. However, I could not help but notice the rambling skipping back and forth non-linear style of writing in this book. It basically sounds like an over anxious management consultant high on Starbucks and uppers jumping and skipping through what seems to be a semi-logical string of somewhat relevant topics. And as far as Steven Covey.... WOW, if you can persuade thousands of management people to pay $150 for what is esentially a personal paper planner and calendar, you deserve all the dollars you have coming to you. I could be wrong,,, this is just my opinion....

Excellent roadmap, June 12, 2006
Reviewer: VP, Business Development "VP, Business Development" (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
This book is not your everyday self help book. It provides a fail-safe roadmap for tough communications.

1. Start with heart (what am I acting like I really want?)
2. Learn to Look (Am I going to silence or violence?
3. Make it Safe ( Why is safety at risk?)
4. Master My Stories (What is my story?)
5. State My Path (Am I really open to others' views?}
6. Explore Other Paths (Am I actively exploring others' views?)
7. Move to Action (How will we make decisions?)

I strongly recommend this book in conjunction with Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self which teaches you how to make optimal choices and master the disturbing feelings that get in the way of optimal communication. Five stars!

Winning with Difficult People (Barron's Business Success Series)

by Arthur H. Bell (Author), Dayle M. Smith (Author)

Compact, informative and value-for-money, July 12, 2001
d valign="top" style="font-family: verdana,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: x-small"> Reviewer:
Janell (Germany) - See all my reviews
I initially bought this book for my husband, who was having a difficult time at work with his boss. My husband has huge praises for the book and now that I have finished reading it, I've come to understand why. Arthur and Dayle have managed to consolidate and present strategies on how to deal with difficult people in a handy and easy-to-read book. Even if you don't find time to read, you can easily read some pages on the way to work in the train. A questionaire helps you to identify what type of person you are, and explains the different personality types, helping you to see why some people react in certain ways. You will realize eventually why you seem to always clash with a certain personality group. This book gives you tips on how you can handle 'difficult' people and helps you to have a clearer picture of yourself. For all you know you may be the S.O.P. (Source Of Pain) that others are experiencing!!

Difficult Conversations

by Douglas Stone (Author), Bruce Patton (Author), Sheila Heen (Author), Roger Fisher (Foreword)

We've all been there: We know we must confront a coworker, store clerk, or friend about some especially sticky situation--and we know the encounter will be uncomfortable. So we repeatedly mull it over until we can no longer put it off, and then finally stumble through the confrontation. Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, offers advice for handling these unpleasant exchanges in a manner that accomplishes their objective and diminishes the possibility that anyone will be needlessly hurt. The authors, associated with Harvard Law School and the Harvard Project on Negotiation, show how such dialogues actually comprise three separate components:

The explanations and suggested improvements are, admittedly, somewhat complicated. And they certainly don't guarantee positive results. But if you honestly are interested in elevating your communication skills, this book will walk you through both mistakes and remedies in a way that will boost your confidence when such unavoidable clashes arise. --Howard Rothman

A must read book!, September 28, 2006
Reviewer: E. Hamilton - See all my reviews
This is a must read for anyone involved in communications - with your boss, your colleagues, your clients, your suppliers, your spouse or partner, your kids, your friends (have I missed anyone out?).
The book describes the 3 different levels of a conversation; the 'what happened' conversation, the 'feelings' conversation, and the 'identity' conversation.

The joy is in the simplicity; we talk about 'what happened' but what we really mean is our feelings are hurt, or our identity has been questioned, and once we can sort it all out and speak truthfully about what is going on for us, it enables others to help us and understand us.

Its not an easy band aid and requires patience, tolerance, and a great deal of courage - but I think you'll agree that having truthful and open conversations would save us all a lot of pain and grief in the long term. So hurrah for this book for being easy to grasp, not jargoned, and very helpful.

Very Informative and helpful, April 10, 2002
Reviewer: Muhammad A. Zaidi (Campbell, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Everyone of us has gone through difficult conversations, arguments that were leading no where or felt that we were unjustifiably being taken advantage of. The solution - read this book. The authors have done a remarkable work in presenting conversations (real examples) that we can relate to. They educate the reader with the pitfalls and means o avoid them.

In difficult conversations the participants generally fall trap to the three common crippling assumptions which are:

1. The Truth assumption : I am right you are wrong

2. The Intention Invention : When the other persons intentions are unclear a common perception is
that they are bad

3. The Blame Frame : Blame the other produces disagreement, denial and little learning

The authors map a path by showing how to avoid the pitfalls when facing a difficult conversation and come out as a winner. In our life we prepare for almost every thing, like schooling and college for career etc. it is somewhat surprising that conversations that truly are a means to progress we spend little time on; this is one of the books in this area. I highly recommend that you read it.

Managing Difficult, Frustrating, and Hostile Conversations Strategies for Savvy Administrators

by Georgia J. Kosmoski, Dennis R. Pollack

The second edition of this best-selling resource provides new and updated content influenced by the feedback of over 250 school administrators. Managing Difficult, Frustrating, and Hostile Conversations uncovers safe and effective strategies for dispelling common sensitive situations such as handling legitimate complaints, controlling those under the influence, combating charges of discrimination, serving as the mediator, and diffusing abrasive conversations.

Each chapter highlights situations identified by school administrators as most stressful. Tips for managing these situations are followed by suggestions and questions for the reader that highlight how to:

A Real- Life, Practical Guide, April 16, 2001
Reviewer: A reader
This book is based on real-world events in every kind of school situation: urban and suburban districts, elementary through high school campuses, adults who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, confidentiality issues, screaming parents, etc. The authors discuss each situation and how administrators responded. They tell us what parts of the scenario were handled correctly AND WHY, and what might be done differently. I feel more confident in my ability to talk to parents and other adults who have a say in my school district. It is a useful guide for teachers and administrators.

Recommended Books

Speaking Your Mind in 101 Difficult Situations Books

Don Gabor

Don Gabor, in his book Speaking Your Mind in 101 Difficult Situations, gives these examples as ways to boost your listening skills:

Person 1. "I'm not all that crazy about it." < - - - underline indicates key words

Person 2. "Tell me exactly what you don't like about it."


Person 1. "It ought to be pretty clear what I think about that great idea of yours."

Person 2. "I have no idea what you think of my idea. Do you like it or not?"


Person 1. "You know what I'm trying to say!"

Person 2. "No, I don't know what you are trying to say. Please tell me exactly what you mean."


Mr. Gabor offers these tips for using TACTFUL conversations:

Critical Thinking How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World

Richard Paul

This book introduced taxonomy of Socratic questions. Basic set of question is widely available fro the Net.

The 48 Laws of Power Books

Robert Greene

That might be not a bad review of strategies that is used by power hungry individials in general and corporate phychopath in particular.
Not bad, but not all that good either, September 4, 2001
Reviewer: John S. Ryan "Scott Ryan" (Silver Lake, OH) - See all my reviews
This book is well-written and very nicely designed. Beyond that, it's hard to see what the fuss is about.

First of all, and on the one hand, the book isn't the torrent of Machiavellian amorality you may have been led to believe. The author does go out of his way to make it _sound_ as though he's presenting you with sophisticated, in-the-know, just-between-us-hardheaded-realists amoral guidance. But as a matter of fact almost every bit of this advice _could_ have been presented without offense to the most traditional of morality.

(For example, the law about letting other people do the work while you take the credit is made to sound worse than it really is. Sure, it admits of a "low" interpretation. But it's also, read slightly differently, a pretty apt description of what any good manager does.)

Second, and on the other hand, the advice isn't _that_ good; it's merely well-presented. How it works will depend on who follows it; as the old Chinese proverb has it, when the wrong person does the right thing, it's the wrong thing.

And that's why I have to deduct some stars from the book. For it seems to be designed to appeal precisely to the "wrong people."

Despite some sound advice, this book is aimed not at those who (like Socrates) share the power of reason with the gods, but at those who (like Ulysses) share it with the foxes. It seeks not to make you reasonable but to make you canny and cunning. And as a result, even when it advises you to do things that really do work out best for all concerned, it promotes an unhealthy sense that your best interests are at odds with nearly everyone else's. (And that the only reason for being helpful to other people is that it will advance your own cloak-and-dagger "career.")

No matter how helpful some of the advice may be, it's hard to get around the book's rather pompous conceit that the reader is learning the perennial secrets of crafty courtiers everywhere. Even if only by its tone, this volume will tend to turn the reader into a lean and hungry Cassius rather than a confident and competent Caesar.

In general the book does have some useful things to say about power and how to acquire and wield it. Unfortunately its approach will probably render the advice useless to the people who need it most. Readers who come to it for guidance will come away from it pretentiously self-absorbed if not downright narcissistic; the readers who can see through its Machiavellian posturing and recognize it for what it is will be the very readers who didn't need it in the first place.

Recommended only to readers who _aren't_ unhealthily fascinated by Sun-Tzu, Balthasar Gracian, and Michael Korda.



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Haterís Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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Last modified: March, 12, 2019