Monday, October 7, 2013

How to work for an idiot: Survive & thrive without killing your boss

By John Hoover

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I absolutely loved Hoover’s sense of humor. Whether or not you have worked for an idiot, you are working for an idiot now, you know people who have worked for an idiot, or you know, up front, that YOU are an idiot, this book is for you.

Even the fact that Hoover uses himself as the foil, makes for delicious reading—a true verbal delicacy. His sense of humor is spread throughout this book. Here is just one of many, many, many possible choices:

"Did you notice that I tried to leave myself and my Inner Idiot out of that last rant? I can’t in good conscience do that. I might as well be honest, take my Inner Idiot by the hand, launch off the stage into the mosh pit, and join the party. I am recovering, but I’m still an Idiot. I try to never forget that I’ve been an Idiot employee, an Idiot Boss, an Idiot spouse, an Idiot student, and an Idiot teacher. I’ve been an equal-opportunity aggravation to more people than I care to count. Therefore, I invite you to join me, come clean, experience the cathasis of speaking openly about your idiot-syncrsies, and begin your own journey toward an Idiot-resistant experience" (p. 37).

Hoover’s writing style (i.e., caustic, sarcastic, witty, tongue-in-cheek, humorous, and sometimes honest-to-the-core—sometimes it’s hard to tell!) Leaves you breathless.

The advice, suggestions, and practical admonitions are engaging and surprisingly useful. He knows what he’s talking about, and despite his humor, his ideas (I determined) are quite accurate and worth trying.

I did get the feeling throughout that this book was a total cathartic release for Hoover. He may have started it being totally serious, but as he got farther and farther into the writing process, he found his niche, a channel for his muse, and just let go! Look at the following example:

"Be thankful for small blessings. Unlike the God, Machiavellian, Sadistic, Masochistic, Paranoid, Reluctant, Unprepared, and Buddy Bosses, the I-Boss is simply a chronically clueless mutant from the evolutionary journey of the species. The wagon of human development hit a bump somewhere, and the I-Boss was left sitting in the middle of the road in a cloud of dust, rubbing the bump on his head. From there, he wandered into a nearby office to use the toilet and, before long, was running it—the office, that is. This is the real world" (p. 71).

The nice thing about this book is that Hoover does not leave readers high and dry. Chapter 8, "A Strategic Partnership," (pp. 203-216), Chapter 9, "Idiot-Speak: How to Talk to Your Idiot Boss," (pp. 217-232) and Chapter 10, "Idiot-Eat: How to Break Bread With Your Idiot Boss," (233-246) are practical, useful, and specific, and they offer valuable information.

This book merits a five-star rating out of five stars---maybe even a six!  Or, is that just me being an idiot?

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