Vicky Oliver’s addresses the worlds Bad Bosses

Vicky Oliver’s writing has appeared in over 900 media outlets including the venerable New York Times and Esquire Magazine. It is staple, as well, on blogs for Harvard Business Review Ascend, ThriveGlobal, and LifeHack, among others. She has authored a number of books beginning with 2005’s 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions and her latest Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues ranks among her most impressive achievements yet. It seems like, reading this book, there isn’t a single prospective situation Oliver fails to anticipate – Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots covers a wide gamut of employment experiences with confidence and welcome psychological insight.

I think the book’s psychological underpinning is one of its strongest selling points. Oliver understands what makes people tick in these settings. There are a wide array of possible personality types individuals may encounter in their professional lives and, to an extent, Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots helps readers understand the motivations underlying the actions of many so they might better accommodate or resist negative behavior. For example, her writing about how individuals should deal with sexual harassment in the workplace is more timely than ever and she exhibits a shrewd understanding of the power dynamics at work in such situations without ever belaboring them for readers. Her advice, in this matter and others, has a sound basis in logic and advocates the aggrieved party cover all relevant bases.


The candor of the book’s third part where she looks at the problems we cause for our own careers is welcome as well. It is notable how Oliver never writes like someone wagging a disapproving finger at her readers but, rather, seems to implicitly acknowledge many of us suffer from weaknesses that can, fortunately, be addressed if we are honest with ourselves. The same all-encompassing rigor she brings to the earlier sections of the book is present here as well and she doesn’t pull any punches while still retaining the same aforementioned respectful tone.  The writing here and throughout the book as a whole captured my attention with its lean economy and measured unflappable confidence.

Vicky Oliver’s Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues demonstrates the same intelligence and charisma apparent in her earlier books. It is no small thing to “jazz up” a potentially dry subject without cheapening any seriousness in your intentions, but Oliver manages it in her earlier books and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots is no exception. It is, without question, one of the key reasons why Oliver’s reach extends in the way it does; her unwavering reason and marshaling of facts supporting her ideas makes her an unimpeachable source for those in professional life. Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues goes even further though; anyone working for pay alongside others can benefit from reading this book.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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