Why It Pays to Be a Jerk

Sociology Associate Professor Robert Faris is quoted in the Atlantic.

Smile at the customer. Bake cookies for your colleagues. Sing your subordinates’ praises. Share credit. Listen. Empathize. Don’t drive the last dollar out of a deal. Leave the last doughnut for someone else.

“For animals, a victory or a defeat is not complicated to interpret,” says Robert Faris, a sociologist at UC Davis. If you were to screen the movie Cool Hand Lukefor an audience of chimps—something he has not done—they would have no trouble determining who prevails in the prison boxing scene: the hulking boss, Dragline, beats Luke until the title character can barely stand. But the next scene would leave the chimps scratching their heads. Luke, the loser, has become the new leader of the prisoners.

Read more at the Atlantic.