Rising road rage is one thing, but when a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor—Robert Sutton—writes a bestseller called “The No Asshole Rule”, you know the fuse the world is on has just got a bit shorter. Hardly surprising, then, that Sutton has followed this up with “The Asshole Survival Guide” since, as he put it so eloquently in a recent Times of India interview, “we’ve reached Peak Asshole”. If being a jerk isn’t bad enough, or toxic when it comes to firms—that’s the reason why a B-school professor is interested in this—the impact really hits you when you consider how many of them have access to, well, you, thanks to social media that amplifies the negativity. That, of course, is why Sutton told ToI that he often joked that Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed to tweet unless he’s been certified as having slept for eight hours.
For a country that gave the world transcendental meditation, and so much more, this is a heaven-sent opportunity to re-market our techniques, our Sudarshan kriyas and Savasanas. And while the Arianna Huffingtons are doing well with their Sleep Revolutions—don’t use any of the three screens (laptops, TVs and mobiles) for a few hours before sleep—there are the obvious tech-solutions to work at as well. A mobile phone, linked to your FitBit, that knows you didn’t sleep well could, for instance, prevent you from sending that SMS or tweeting; in this IoT world, your car would know that you’re sleep-deprived and switch to driverless—and most certainly, horn-less given how a quiet drive does so much to soothe nerves—mode, the possibilities are endless. Shakespeare had it so right when he talked of sleep ‘that knits up the raveled sleave of care’. And for those that can’t, given their surging sales, it would appear sleeping pills are vying to help that ‘balm of hurt minds … chief nourisher in life’s feast’. Aumm… (deep breath)… Aumm