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Assholes: A Theory (2012)

by Aaron James

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5061538,052 (3.16)6
A philosophy professor describes the elements that can combine to make someone behave in an unbelievably disturbing and stress-causing manner and offers practical concepts to help develop constructive ways of dealing with these people and the problems they pose.

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
This book gives one a lot to think about.

A reader with at least a passing knowledge is philosophy will get more out of the book than if one has never read Descartes, Kant or Neitchze. The author refers to these and other more obscure philosophers throughout the book. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Very enjoyable. While the author states that it is less rigorous that a standard philosophical text, it is more rigorous than a typical book aimed at a lay audience. At times, repetitively so, but as you proceed through his arguments and development, that repetition mattered less and helped connect ideas. Copies of this book should be sent to leaders across the range of social institutions in an effort to galvanize pro-social leaders and maybe also serve as an asshole dampening mechanism. ( )
  ltbxf4 | Jul 5, 2020 |
I'm glad I went into this with eyes wide opened as to the widespread prevalence and ubiquitous presence of assholes.

I mean, honestly, we all know one, or two, or sometimes a full office full of them. And even if we don't have many real life line-cutters, traffic-weavers, or conversation killers in our lives, at least we have Trump. And high-level bankers. And Rush. And practically the entire existing vocal portion of the political process in America. We have lots and lots and lots of good examples.

What didn't really have was a comprehensive attempt to define and refine all the aspects about what truly makes up an Asshole. Enter this book. The extremely nerdy logical equivalent of a loud fart. Not humorous in the way most of us like fart jokes, mind you. It's just so nerdy it still had me chuckling the entire time.

Assholes are people with entrenched senses of entitlement.

Pretty easy. They will sometimes give you long winded reasons why they do asshole things, giving lip service to the basic moral equivalency of cooperation and knowing that we're all in the same boat, but they still go ahead and pull an asshole move anyway. Assholes can be that person who always complains to the management when his McD fries aren't fresh enough. They're also the people who perpetuate the idea of the Noblese, making sure you know that you deserve so much more while taking the lion's share of everything. They are the people that we wish we could curtail with laws and restrictions and sanctions, but because the things they're doing are socially reprehensible, and not precisely unlawful, we all just look on in disgust as they get away with it.

Fun stuff.

I most appreciated the sociological ramifications and possible means to put assholes in their place. :)

Totally recommend, dude. Especially for surfers. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I enjoyed this book, it was a good discussion at our book club relating to different levels of assholes as well as how to deal with them and what makes them become one. ( )
  bookswithmom | Dec 18, 2019 |
This book reads more like a PhD dissertation than a book that is meant for the general public. I thought it would be interesting, but I lost focus on it after a while and started skipping through a lot of it.

Basically, assholes are described as people with an unfounded sense of entitlement over another person. Assholes are usually men. This is described as a problem of semantics and culture, much like how only a man can be a bachelor. This is around the point that I stopped reading.

The style is a bit too dry and scholarly for me, but perhaps I will come back to it and read it again some day. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aaron Jamesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Morey, ArthurNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If an individual takes a lenient view of the moral law, he may well have a high opinion of himself and be conceited, because he judges himself by a false standard.

-Immanuel Kant, 'Lectures on ethics'
Émile, in considering his rank in the human species and seeing himself so happily placed there, will be tempted to...attribute his happiness to his own merit....This is the error most to be feared, because it is more difficult to destroy.

-Jean Jacques Rousseau, 'Émile'
Do you know who I am?

-A quintessential asshole question
To my parents
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A philosophy professor describes the elements that can combine to make someone behave in an unbelievably disturbing and stress-causing manner and offers practical concepts to help develop constructive ways of dealing with these people and the problems they pose.

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