Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: abuse.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars


I kicked off this month with Sutton’s original business self-help book, The No Asshole Rule, and wanted to follow up with his sequel, Good Boss, Bad Boss. I checked it out of the library as an audiobook via Hoopla, in the hopes that I could pick up a few more managerial tips from Sutton.

Sutton decided to expand on his original thoughts of the No Asshole Rule after countless readers contacting him and asking for variations on the ways to apply the rule, as well as good general managerial advice. Happy to do so, he responded and after a decade, decided to share the collection of advice, calling it Good Boss, Bad Boss. The focus is on what a good boss looks like, and how to be the example for other employees. To me, the information was given for a more broader audience, allowing more than supervisors, managers, and bosses to connect, relate, and apply the information for their own purposes.

Overall, I enjoyed Sutton’s no-bull advice. He doesn’t glamorize being the “person in charge”- it’s not always easy, and he states so. He mentions that there will always be things out of your control, such as personalities and differences in opinion, and that sometimes, no matter how great an idea is, it may still fail. Yet, he gives examples and local reasoning for how to handle such situations, and help steer the ship for success as much as you reasonably can, or in some cases, acknowledge failure and have the skills to recalculate direction.

As with The No Asshole Rule, I also admired the humor woven into the text. This keeps the content from being too dry. I managed to hook onto a new favorite phrase: “Jargon Monoxide“. To paraphrase, this is described as a when someone is using certain words to make them sound intelligent and productive, only to mask the exact opposite in which they don’t know the true meaning of the words they use, and they have done nothing productive the task they referenced.

I would say that if business and leadership books are your forte, or if you are looking to expand your managerial skills, Good Boss, Bad Boss is great source of consumable information. I would say, however, to skip the audiobook and stick with print. The narrator (Bob Walter) sounded more like a newscaster and a tad monotonous. I missed the humor and inflection from the Sutton, who narrated his original book, which kept me engaged.

TL/DR: Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert L. Sutton is a memoir style management self-help guide to creating a civilized work environment.

Read it? Yes, because everyone has worked with a good boss and a bad boss, and they should know how to treat them both.

Recommend it? Yes.

Buy it? Definitely buy it for reference. Keep it on your work desk if you have to, haha.

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