26 May 2008

A$$HOLE (Martin Kihn)

Available at all good bookstores, courtesy of Penguin Books South Africa

Where do you start, when the book is called A$$HOLE and sub-titled, ‘How I got rich and happy by not giving a shit about you’? Well, you kick off with a hefty chunk of tongue in your cheek and you keep an open mind.

Martin Kihn’s A$$HOLE is an eye-opener.

Promising access to a revolutionary programme for assholism, it covers essential body language (‘no smiling, unless others are in pain’), workplace etiquette (‘take credit for everything, except mistakes’) and feelings (‘the one luxury you can’t afford’), while detailing the author’s real-life journey from utter dorkness to total jerkhood.

I loved it – until the end of the second chapter. And then I started to wonder how someone could fill an entire book (granted, a small one, but 244 pages nonetheless) with tips like ‘be a fighter, not a lover’, ‘become the alpha dog’ and ‘put the tame back in team’. It was getting cold, fast. There’s only so much anti-nice I can stomach.

The story behind old Martin’s transformation is interesting, but it’s no page-turner – and the contents are funny, but hardly bursting with brilliant dry wit. My advice? Mid-year stocking filler. Buy a copy of A$$HOLE for the person in your life with the best sense of humour (a man, ideally) or get your own and keep it in the loo. No jokes. It’s great toilet reading.


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