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Why Being an Asshole Can Be a Valuable Life Skill

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Why Being an Asshole Can Be a Valuable Life Skill

Mark Manson,

5 min read
5 take-aways
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“When you grow up, make sure you know how to be a massive jerk,” said no one’s mom, ever. But maybe she should have…

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Editorial Rating



  • Controversial
  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Society perceives agreeable people as warm, tactful and cooperative – all good qualities, of course. But a 2011 study published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review came up with an interesting finding: Disagreeable people make more money. Mark Manson’s interpretation is that being an “asshole” is an important life skill. He tempers this conclusion with a couple of important caveats. He defines “asshole” as someone who’s willing to be disliked, and only “ethical assholes” need apply. Despite the strong language, getAbstract recommends this article to people who fear their agreeableness is getting in the way of their success.


Imagine a business deal that could benefit humanity and enrich people on either side of the deal, if only each side were willing to really push for what they need. Now picture three scenarios: First, one of the people involved in the deal is amiable, while the other is an “asshole.” The asshole will end up bulldozing the amicable counterpart. Second, two agreeable people negotiate the deal. Because both are unwilling to do the uncomfortable job of pushing for what they really need, they’ll either come up with a suboptimal deal or make no deal at all. Third, both ...

About the Author

Mark Manson is an entrepreneur and author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life and Models: Attract Women Through Honesty. He blogs at

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