The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are Assholes More Successful in Academia?

It’s a discussion that started over beer and chips and grew into a blog post now grabbing attention in higher education circles: Do asses do better in academe than their more tactful peers?


I have a feeling I'm in the minority here, but I really don't believe as*holes do better in academia. The relevant comparison is whether a person who is clever to degree X would do better were he marginally more (or less) an *sshole. It seems to me obvious that the latter is the case. What is true, is that we are willing to put up with somebody because he is clever, notwithstanding the fact that he is aggressive, snide, or whatever. In some fields, I sense that the premium on civilized behavior is greater -- perhaps an indication that politics or niceness is getting more weight than perhaps it should. --ts

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