The flying arse assessment and other great book promotion ideas

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flyingarseMy friend and favorite professor Bob Sutton, author the very popular book The No Asshole Rule, just released another fun assessment to test your “arsehole-ness” when traveling as an air passenger called The Flying Arse.

The mainly humorous, but very telling questions point to whether or not you are the source of aggravation to fellow passengers.

As someone who has spent a lot of time flying (at one stretch, traveling for 50 out of 54 weeks), I have witnessed every single one of the scenarios described in the assessment.

I caution, however, that sometimes things aren’t exactly what they seem.  I once was very offended by a woman who elbowed her way out of the airplane, practically knocking someone in the head with her suitcase and stepping on a small child.  I assumed that she was a self-centered and arrogant “arsehole.”  But when I got off the plane, I saw her sprinting to the women’s restroom.  Taught me a lesson!

The Flying Arse follows Bob’s very popular ARSE exam (stands for Asshole Self-Rating Exam), co-created with Guy Kawasaki, that has been filled out by a whopping 85,000 people, and continues at a rate of about 1,000 people a week.  He also has ArseMail, to “help someone deal with working with an asshole, or apologize for being one.”

There is a lot we can learn about Bob’s approach to marketing his book.  He included:

  • Standard speaking engagements to associations and corporations around the world
  • Mainstream press coverage
  • Updates on his blog about how people are reacting and responding to the book
  • Outreach to other bloggers for book reviews
  • Interactive and fun assessments to create buzz and get people talking about and sharing the work

I realize that Bob is already an established author with “platform,” (name and brand recognition in the marketplace) so it makes it a lot easier to get mainstream press reviews and high profile blog reviews.  But I don’t think that is the main reason the book has been so successful.  I think it has been successful because he has taken a fresh, honest and humorous look at an issue that creates tremendous pain and conflict in the workplace and has created multiple opportunities for people to talk about and react to it.

I think of the billions of dollars spent each year in corporations around the world on human resource directors, consultants, lawyers and trainers who gently and professionally try to goad workplace tyrants to change their behavior.  As one who has tried to goad people myself, I can tell you it doesn’t often work.  But what a difference to have a respected colleague send a workplace tyrant a link to the “ARSE” exam, where s/he can see that well-known, successful and bright people around the world agree that this kind of behavior is unreasonable.  The impact of this is a lot more than selling books; it may create more civilized workplaces.  Now that is using your superpowers for good!

Here is my score on the Flying Arse exam.  I swear I was honest!:


How about your score?

Have you used any fun and interesting means to spread the word about your book?

4 Responses to “The flying arse assessment and other great book promotion ideas”

  1. Asher says:

    I have been intrigued by the problem of how to avoid accepting a new job in a jerk-infested organization, and I think I’ve found an excellent and unique way to avoid this costly and painful problem.

    I just finished developing a website called that allows people to rate their current or former boss so that people who are considering a job change can search for bosses at potential workplaces and can receive reports detailing the ratings that each boss has received.

    Bob Sutton, author of the best-selling book The No Asshole Rule, has called eBossWatch “fantastic, a great idea.” I hope this helps some of you avoid jerk-infested workplaces.

  2. I ended up with an “8”

    In my own defense, I have to say that when I was undecided about an answer — I checked the more assholey choice. Maybe because I know, deep down, that I am worse that the world sees me?

  3. Bob Sutton says:


    I got a 4… I confess that I can’t resist unbuckling my seatbelt at the wrong times. My wife got a 0 and keeps telling me she is that perfect, even if I don’t believe her.

  4. Unfortunately I’m a 6: “You sound like a borderline certified asshole, perhaps the time has come to start changing your behavior before it gets worse.”

    What’d you expect, I’m in PR! 🙂