Office Politics by Oliver James

Office Politics by Oliver JamesJames Bond is unlikely to swap his gun for a word processor yet if , like him, you are able to squeeze the most out of your working environment by being ruthlessly self serving then you should be able to push aside any latter day Goldfingers to reach the top of the office pile.

Oliver James tells us that by displaying these Machievellian, narcissistic and/or psychopathic character traits generally associated with 007, then you have the essential building blocks to achieve success in the office environment no matter what the personal cost.

These “dark triadic” tendencies are brought to life by the author through the use of factual accounts which complement the more sober psychological and sociological analysis that underpin this thesis on the often subconscious path to ultimate success in the office battle field of competing egos and ambitions.

The author adds complexity to the triadic personality by highlighting the office politics divide between West and East. For example, in the US the overtly ruthless individual may not be liked but is generally admired in the boardroom. Whereas in Asia the cult of the individual needs to be suppressed within the ethos of the collective.

Perception often counts more than actual ability. So the individual with the A grade academic record may often have to play second fiddle to the ambition of the A grade political animal and this is nowhere more apparent than in those industries , particularly the service related ones where there are no clearly defined performance metrics.

Rather worryingly 1% (approximately 600,000) of the UK population display psychopathic tendencies yet only 15,000 currently reside behind prison bars. So the majority are therefore existing and probably thriving at a desk close to you!

They say all the world’s a stage and this book captures the blurring of perception and reality in the workplace and ultimately the ability of performance to have more meaning than truth in the striving for success.


Office Politics  by Oliver James
Publisher Vermillion (Paperback – £9.98)

This review originally featured in the Oxford Times

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