Review: Assholes: A Theory

The truly optimistic among us believe that there is no such thing as an asshole. That is to say, the guy who cut you off in traffic or butted in front of you at Starbucks is probably possessed by some temporary affliction (lateness, cluelessness, hangover) that recedes as quickly as it came. In other words, he was acting like an asshole, and that same guy might well hold the door open for you or even save your life 10 minutes later. Aaron James is no such optimist. In fact, the author spends 214 quite convincing pages arguing that “assholeness” is less inattention than a permanent state of mind, and that assholes are more than numerous enough to be called out in book form.