There’s a welcome irreverent edge defining Vicky Oliver’s Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues present in her earlier books as well. It gives her writing a shot of personality lacking in most non-fiction business texts without ever playing like a gimmick. There’s never too much of it, but Oliver definitely ingratiates herself with readers by recognizing the component of absurdity present in dealing with people. Her latest book, as well, has a much wider application than its title may imply – Oliver aims the book at a professional set, but even a restaurant dishwasher has some quantifiable experience with the situations and issues Oliver describes within Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots.  


Some readers might find it a little long, but I think it needs to be. It reflects Oliver’s comprehensive approach to the subject and, frankly, it is a subject with many forms and variations in an individual’s employment life. Oliver does a more than respectable job mitigating any attrition readers my experience through the book’s layout – she breaks it up into concise segments rather than a traditional approach with paragraphs of text on every page washing over readers. The layout for Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Officer Idiots allows readers to negotiate its length in a fleet-footed way and there are few people exposed to this book who will cite its length as a fault.

Another key factor in the book’s success is how she covers the subject. There are three overarching parts to the book – the first deals with “bad bosses”, the second pertains to relationships with co-workers, while the third part addresses personal shortcomings that complicate professional lives. A brief conclusion following these three parts summarizes what has come before. Oliver breaks down the subject of each part in chapter-by-chapter fashion – she presents readers with a number of credible situations and supplies possible solutions for each. It is simple and direct, but accomplishes her goals with a minimum of fuss.

Oliver has established a sterling reputation as a trusted voice on employment and business matters. Her latest book Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues will burnish and expand her reputation. She has a gift for making difficult subjects come alive for readers while still exhibiting searing intelligence and insight that sees beyond the superficial cosmetics of an issue and identifies the forces truly at work in different scenarios.


The focused and collected prose fueling this new book respects readers. It doesn’t fritter their time away with coy pandering for their affections and Oliver builds a relationship with readers early on that reassures you she’s experienced what you have and has something of genuine import to say on the issues at hand. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of such a gift and it is one of many attributes setting her work apart from the pack. Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle the Toughest People Issues is a book you can read multiple times and find something new with each perusal.

Garth Thomas