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The Rules of Work

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The Rules of Work

The Unspoken Truth About Getting Ahead in Business

FT Prentice Hall,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you want to move up, walk the walk, learn the unwritten protocols, be great at your job, and always follow The Rules.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Shortly after author Richard Templar started his career, a boss whom he despised relegated him to the menial job of taking the CEO his morning coffee. Templar used this assignment as an opportunity to chat with the CEO for five minutes each day. One day Templar recommended that the CEO assign his unpopular boss elsewhere in the company. Soon the hated boss was gone, and Templar had learned his first lesson about taking advantage of the unwritten rules of the office. Books like this tend to come across as reiterations of Machiavelli’s The Prince, promoting stratagems that work only if you’re willing to behave like a conniving finalist on Survivor. Yet, this book is actually useable and it has an interesting twist: Templar says it’s only for those who are willing to work harder than everyone else. He writes, "These rules are not for...posers. They are for the really industrious, the talented, the hardworking, the naturally gifted, those who are prepared to put in some effort and burn some oil." Templar’s rules range from obvious to delightfully devious. He upholds ethical boundaries, however, and he’s secure enough to lampoon himself to make a point. recommends this fun, useful compendium to anyone who could use an official rulebook, spiced up with a little attitude, for the game of office politics.


Rules of the Game

Years ago author Richard Templar was working as an assistant manager. A manager’s job came open and, because Templar was the most experienced candidate with the greatest expertise, most of the staff supported him for the opening. They saw Rob, his rival for the job, as inept. Templar asked an outside consultant to assess his chances.

"Slim," the consultant said frankly, explaining. "You don’t walk like a manager." Sure enough, although Rob was less qualified, he got the job. Templar had to admit that Rob walked like a manager. After that, Templar began to observe the unwritten rules of work studiously. He saw that managers did have a certain walk, and that they also had a managerial style of dressing and speaking. Some managers practiced the general manager’s walk, and some practiced the regional manager’s walk. Templar started practicing the general manager’s walk and in three months he was promoted over Rob to serve as general manager. The difference was that in addition to having the walk, Templar worked really hard to do his job well.

Rules exist in every workplace. Those who learn to use them to their advantage are called "Rules Players...

About the Author

Richard Templar writes books on business topics. His work includes I Don’t Want Any More Cheese - I Just Want Out Of The Trap!

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