Book Review:”How To Work For An Idiot” by John Hoover PhD

Nov 21st, 2011 | By | Category: career challenges, challenges, difficult boss, strategy, tactics

Book Review

I am thankful for the invitation from Career Press to review the revised edition of: How To Work For An Idiot – Survive And Thrive Without Killing Your Boss

In his revised version of “How To Work For An Idiot”, Dr. John Hoover PhD has added all 10 types of bosses that he has encountered while working for corporations and his years as an executive coach. With much insight he identifies 10 different types of bosses. Dr. Hoover has also developed 10 characteristics and associated competencies attributed to bosses. All 10 types of bosses are explained as well as the 10 characteristics and competencies. Using this data Dr. Hoover cleverly constructed a 10 x 10 matrix as an easy way to identify and compare his list of boss types. However the emphasis of the book remains on topic, as Dr. Hoover uses humor and examples to develop and explain his 12-step program to deal with an idiot boss.

The first edition of “How To Work For An Idiot” made virtually every bestseller list a business book can make (p18), which speaks volumes for the value of its salient information and advice. Beware, the book contains a lot of sarcasm, and the reader must distinguish between the humor and honest advice. While entertaining, the tight intermingling of advice and sarcasm may confuse or mislead the causal reader. I must confess while I have worked for a variety of difficult bosses, none fit neatly into any of the categories described, and none were really idiots. Each of my bosses had their strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, unlike a game of chess, it is impossible to develop a game plan with specific instructions on how to react to your opponent’s every move. In chess there are rules that control the available moves, there are no such rules in the workplace. Which leads to Dr. Hoover’s 12-step program. A Twelve-Step Program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. No matter which lens you are reading through, humor, sarcasm, theory, or experience, the mention of a 12-step program indicates a behavioral self-improvement strategy. Learning self-control is an essential core value in any scenario. Nonetheless, often a difficult boss is an adversarial situation, which, in my estimation, require more aggressive proactive strategies and tactics. Several of my difficult bosses acted like my competitors and attempted to impede my promotions. Successfully navigating around and through them was a battle. While I trust the old saying that you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar, neither helps much when the wolf is at the door. In adversarial situations a little bit of strong will goes a long way. Self-control and assertiveness are not mutual exclusive values, and work well together. I learned a lot about myself and the workplace through reflecting on the message in “How To Work For An Idiot.”

Dr. Hoover has a unique view of the workplace. He combines the theory of years of formal education, the practical experience of working in industry, and the observations of coaching executives. This unique view of workplace challenges and behavior, coupled with a sharp and witty sense of humor makes his writing very informative and enjoyable to read.

I am very glad for the opportunity to read and review “How To Work For An Idiot” – “Survive & Thrive Without Killing Your Boss”. The book is well written and presents an important message with the right touch of sarcastic humor (which is so prevalent in the workplace). Similar to the workplace, one has to pay attention to discern the sarcasm. Just like in the workplace a misenterptatation may be disastrous. Don’t be alarmed; the lessons are clear and helpful, to those who are smart enough to know an idiot when they encounter one. Best of luck. The PracticaL Mentor –

Title: How To Work For An Idiot
-Survive &Thrive Without Killing Your Boss
Author: Dr. John Hoover PhD
Place Published: Pompton Plains, NJ
Edition: Revised Edition
Pages: 282
Special Features: 10×10 Matrix Boss Types vs Character and Competence
Price: $15.99
ISBN: 13:978-1-60163-191-6

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