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The Ape in the Corner Office: Understanding the Workplace Beast in All of Usby Richard Conniff
Synopses & Reviews
Tired of swimming with the sharks? Fed up with that big ape down the hall? Real animals can teach us better ways to thrive in the workplace jungle.
You’re ambitious and want to get ahead, but what’s the best way to do it? Become the biggest, baddest predator? The proverbial 800-pound gorilla? Or does nature teach you to be more subtle and sophisticated?
Richard Conniff, the acclaimed author of The Natural History of the Rich, has survived savage beasts in the workplace jungle, where he hooted and preened in the corner office as a publishing executive. He’s also spent time studying how animals operate in the real jungles of the Amazon and the African bush.
What he shows in The Ape in the Corner Office is that nature built you to be nice. Doing favors, grooming coworkers with kind words, building coalitions—these tools for getting ahead come straight from the jungle. The stereotypical Darwinian hard-charger supposedly thinks only about accumulating resources. But highly effective apes know it’s often smarter to give them away. That doesn’t mean it’s a peaceable kingdom out there, however. Conniff shows that you can become more effective by understanding how other species negotiate the tricky balance between conflict and cooperation.
Conniff quotes one biologist on a chimpanzee’s obsession with rank: “His attempts to maintain and achieve alpha status are cunning, persistent, energetic, and time-consuming. They affect whom he travels with, whom he grooms, where he glances, how often he scratches, where he goes, what times he gets up in the morning.” Sound familiar? It’s the same behavior you can find written up in any issue of BusinessWeek or The Wall Street Journal.
The Ape in the Corner Office connects with the day-to-day of the workplace because it helps explain what people are really concerned about: How come he got the wing chair with the gold trim? How can I survive as that big ape’s subordinate without becoming a spineless yes-man? Why does being a lone wolf mean being a loser? And, yes, why is it that jerks seem to prosper—at least in the short run?
Also available as a Random House AudioBook and an eBook
From the Hardcover edition.
Applying the latest scientific research into animal behavior to the workplace environment, a witty study addresses a variety of important issues, including status obsession, bosses, climbing the corporate ladder, and the survival game, and explains how to use one's natural tendencies and genetically determined patterns to one's advantage. 50,000 first printing.
Richard Conniff's work takes him from the executive suite to a casual swim with piranhas in the Amazon, from tea in the member's dining room at the House of Lords to the driver's seat in a demolition derby. He won the 1997 National Magaz
About the Author
Richard Conniff’s work takes him from the executive suite to a casual swim with piranhas in the Amazon, from tea in the member’s dining room at the House of Lords to the driver’s seat in a demolition derby. He won the 1997 National Magazine Award for his writing in Smithsonian and the 1998 Wildscreen Prize for Best Natural History Television Script for the BBC show Between Pacific Tides. His previous books include The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide and he has also written for Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and National Geographic.
Table of Contents
Yes, it is a goddam jungle out there (Why acting like an animal comes so easy) — Nice monkey (The search for the unselfish gene) — Being negative (Why things look worse than they probably are) — Rough beasts (Moore's Law meets monkey law) — Donut dominance (Why hierarchy works) — Tooth and claw (How we wage dominance contests on the job) — Bending the knee (Strategies for subordinates) — Chatter in the monkey house (Gossip and the beastly nature of "Oh, my God, tell me more") — Bang bang, kiss kiss (The natural history of "I'm sorry") — Making faces (A field guide to facial expression) — Facial predestination (How the shape of your face can make or break your career) — Monkey see (The power of imitation) — Bunnies for lunch (On being a corporate predator) — A landscape of fear (Why do jerks seem to prosper?) — Running with the pack (Why lone wolves are losers) — Epilogue: leadership lessons of highly effective apes.
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