ArseMail: The ARSE Followup
Bob Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, continues to, well, kick butt. It’s gaining notoriety across the globe and, more importantly, it’s usually in the top twenty sellers of Amazon. Here are some interesting factoids about the introduction of the book.
57,774 people have taken the ARSE (Asshole Rating Self Exam) ARSE (Asshole Rating Self Exam). The average score was 5.16.
A Google search of “no asshole rule” yielded less than 100 hits prior to Bob publishing an essay on the topic in the Harvard Business Review. Up until advanced book reviews started appearing on on blogs, the same search still yielded under 500 hits. A few days ago (after all the blog mentions, shipping of the book, and ARSE) there were 498,000 hits.
When I blogged about the book, its Amazon ranking went from over #100,000 to under #500. It has held steady between #8 and #15 for the past three weeks. (I digress, but my new goal is to be the Oprah of online book sales!)
Emails from people who are trying to enforce the no asshole rule or are victims of it are flooding Bob’s inbox. Here is one example from a legal assistant:
I have devoured your new book The No Asshole Rule. I am not in HR, or a manager of any kind. I am a legal assistant at a large law firm. After complaining to HR about my new assignment within the firm (working for a real jerk of an attorney), I saw your book on her desk. I said to her, Mr. G is VERY moody (my polite term for asshole). She smiled and said, Isn’t he though. It was then I felt any hopes of validation for my tales of woe sinking. A few days later, I was doing a search on my PC regarding upcoming firm-sponsored seminars and low and behold, the law firm I am working for is putting on a seminar based on your book called the “No Jerk Rule.” I immediately bought your book and have read it non-stop. And I am going to read it again and again, so that I can sustain myself for the time being from being a victim of Attorney Asshole. I am in one of those situations where I cannot leave my present employment due to economics; i.e., feeding, clothing, and housing myself in a basically comfortable state.
Other than a few folks like Jessica Guynn (“Crusade Against the Jerk at Work”) major media sources like Time, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, AP, and Reuters started writing stories after the book took off in Amazon. When one writer for a major publication received the book, he asked the publisher, “What’s next: the no dick rule?” But he did review the book (like most journalists) once the book took off at Amazon.
Here are some lessons from this experience:
A good book that addresses a hot topic is the key.
A good title sure helps too. Recall that Harvard Business School Press decided not to publish the book because of the title.
It helps to cover the earth with early copies to get the bloggers on board. Certainly “premature buzz” is an oxymoron.
An interactive feature like the ARSE not only increases reader interest but is a very good “hook” for reviewers and bloggers.
By the way, Bob is certainly not a dumb arse, so he created ArseMail to continue the online branding of his book. This web service enables people to send that special email to someone who is an asshole or to apologize for being one. How fun is that? Check it out!