06/08/2007 01:45 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Are You a Certified Asshole?

The No Asshole Rule defines certified assholes as people who leave a trail of demeaned and de-energized victims in their wake. I also talk about temporary assholes, arguing that under the wrong conditions just about anyone can turn nasty for a time. But if you are worried that you might be certified asshole, as with other psychological maladies, the first step is realizing that you are suffering from the affliction. As the button says:


The No Asshole Rule contains a 24-item self-test, which you can use to help determine if you are a certified asshole. A few months back, I worked with Guy Kawasaki and the folks at Electric Pulp to put the test online. We named it the Asshole Rating Self-Exam - or ARSE Test - and put it on Guy's blog. Almost 90,000 people have completed the exam since then. The average score is a bit over five (a 24 would be a "perfect asshole"). Here are some sample items:

"You sometimes just can't contain your contempt toward the losers and jerks at your workplace."

"You were a nice person until you started working with the current bunch of creeps."

"You are constantly buttering up your boss and other powerful people, and expect the same treatment from your underlings."

Not everyone takes the test for themselves; some people take it with others in mind. Consider this email that I received just after the test came out:

'A colleague at work recently passed along a link to Kawasaki who was blogging about your new book The No Asshole Rule. Then we found the ARSE exam and after my friend took it for one of our VPs he promptly quit (the VP scored 23, no kidding). Last Friday was my friend's last day.

As Milan Kundera wrote in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, no one is listening, they just wait for the person talking to stop for a breath so they can blurt out, "that's just like me, I...." So, that's just like me, I have an asshole working at my company. The guy constantly runs good people off.'

Take the test and let me know how you "perform." But if you score over 15, and qualify as a certified asshole, I hope we can avoid meeting in person!