12 Reasons A-Holes Win and You Don't

A "know-it-all" who doesn't know what he is talking about is a jerk; whereas a "know-it-all" who does know what he is talking about is merely an a-hole.
- from Get Out of Your Own Way by Mark Goulston 

As much as I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy behind Bob Sutton’s New York Times best-selling book The No Asshole Rule, I have to conclude that a-holes have always been around and probably always will. An even more disheartening truth is that more often a-holes seem to win whereas nice guys do seem to finish last or at least far behind their obnoxious  counterparts. And here’s why:

1. They’re not afraid to go first – so they’ll take something first while you’re being polite.

2. They’re not neurotic about hurting your feelings – they figure if you’re foolish enough to be thin skinned, it’s your fault if you get hurt.

3. They’re compelling – they will keep you awake and alert which feels better than feeling bored.

4. They’re watchable – you will keep your eye on them which will keep you focused which also feels better than feeling distracted.

5. They keep you on your toes – and then still manage to step on them.

6. You’ll go out of your way to get respect, love or liking from them – because doing so is a real coup compared to getting the not-so-special respect, love and liking from a giver who gives it to everyone.

7. You know where they’re coming from – they are clear about what they want and don’t want as opposed to nice people who can be so vague that they exasperate you when you just want them to “spit it out.”

8. You’re afraid of what you want to do to them as much as of what they will do to you - they frustrate and infuriate you so much that you will do anything to not have to deal with them, including appeasing them and giving them what they want.

9. They’re arrogant because they’re confident – you think they are assured about what they’re doing which makes you all the more vulnerable if you have self doubts.

10. They use their aggression to their advantage – and your disadvantage if you’re busy trying to not come off that way.

11. They feel both entitled and deserving of whatever they get and take – and so they have no compunction about going after it.

12. They’re not afraid of – and in fact enjoy – being an a-hole – and to some extent, you’re jealous of their brazenness.


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