Bob Sutton

Bob Sutton

Bob Sutton has been interested in the dynamics of work since his first job at a pizza parlor. He has since written books on the subject including No Asshole Rule, Good Boss/Bad Boss, and his newest, Scaling Up Excellence. We have a lot of fun talking about his research, tax collectors and Israeli police interrogators.

Below is a summary of his interview:


“Fight like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong”

“Its too crowded. Nobody goes there anymore”- Yogi Bera

His Journey

Bob talks about how he went from a 1.9 GPA in high school to teaching at Standford and researching  the dynamics of work.

Low Point

Bob discusses working with a mentor in grad school who was exploitative. You could say it was first experience with an asshole boss.

Aha Moment

Bob goes into how he got involved with David Kelly, Founder of IDEO.

Bob’s work now

We talk about the origins of the “The No Asshole Rule

What’s Exciting Bob now

We discuss the findings from his new book “Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less” and go in-depth about the Facebook case study.

For a chance to win a signed copy of “Scaling Up Excellence” tweet @work_matters and @PurposeRockstar about how much you enjoyed this interview.

Lightning Round

Book Recommendation: “Orbiting the Giant Hairball” and Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by his friend and mentor David Kelly

Helpful Internet Resource: Research Digest from British Psychological Society – A collection of weird studies

Helpful Habit: Exercise. No bike ride and Bob starts to get grouchy.

What is Your Purpose?: “Try to help people as much as I can and do little damage” “Help individuals and organization be better off”

Helpful Person: Jim Plummer, Stanford University, Dean School of Engineering

How to Follow Bob

Work Matters Blog


Parting Words

There are three reactions when you fail.

1. Forgive and forget

2. Remember blame, stigmatize, and treat people like dirt

3. Forgive and remember. Learn from the situations and keep people accountable.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

One More Thing

If you want to receive a free excerpt of Scaling Up Excellence which includes the preface and first chapter click here to subscribe to our mailing list


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Derrick Duplessy

Executive Director at Duplessy Foundation
Derrick has coached 500+ executives in 10 years as an executive coach. He runs Duplessy Foundation which is dedicated to creating meaningful careers for everyone. He also hosts Purpose Rockstar, a daily show on iTunes where he shares the career stories of a variety of guests.

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