The book’s full title is “I Hate People: Kick Loose From the Overbearing and Underhanded Jerks at Work and Get What You Want Out of Your Job.” That about says it all.
The advice of the authors — Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon, who bills himself as a “branding expert” — is to avoid the urges toward violence or stealing a jerk’s lunch out of the company refrigerator (it’s probably something you wouldn’t want to eat anyway).
In fact, some of the advice is even more simplistic than that — such as the impractical approach of simply avoiding the jerks. Good luck with that if one of the jerks happens to be your boss.
The meat of the book comes when the authors brand (Hershon’s specialty, we guess) each of the jerk character types and give advice on how to deal with them when you have no other choice. For instance:
- “The spreadsheets.” This is the tireless enforcer of the rules — particularly deadlines — who’ll conjure up any reason to stop you from doing something innovative and productive. Gentle prodding works, rather than trying to steamroll them or committing homicide, which is illegal in most states.
- “The bulldozers.” These are the people who like to dominate by banging their fists on the desk and yelling into the phone. The authors’ advice: Ask them point-blank, “Do you have a recommendation?” Or point out that they’re yelling and you refuse to continue dealing with them until they stop.
- “The stop signs.” They say they’re only “playing devil’s advocate” but what they’re really doing is dreaming up every improbable reason why your idea won’t work. Advice: Tell them you’re still in the planning stages and that you want more of their input when you’re further along. OK, that’s probably a lie, but drastic times call for drastic measures, or something like that.
- “The flimflams.” There are those smooth-talkers who try to stick you with their work by glossing over details, lying or, in extreme cases, mumbling. Advice: Ask for the particulars — what they’ll commit to and what your responsibilities will be — in writing. Then, figuratively, throw the document in their faces when they renege. They’ll probably come up with a phony excuse, but at least you can offer the rejoinder that you’ll only do what you committed to do in the beginning.
There are more unsavory characters in the book, and more advice on how to deal with them. Let’s just hope they don’t get hold of the book and learn our plans on how to foil them.