Proper Names


“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

— Chinese Proverb


It’s an ugly word, offensive, even. When Jon first suggested it as the title, I humored him. I mean, what do I tell my kids? What will my mother think? How can I push a book with that title to my contacts in Human Resources?

It stuck. Funny how that happens.

10409000_696542783789842_6139882758498278409_nWhile the title is provocative, the subject is commonplace: two million Americans are quitting their jobs every month. This is the symptom; f#ckery is the primary culprit and the crime. Not constrained to Wall Street or Corporate America, f#ckery wreaks havoc in nonprofits, impairs government organizations, and slinks in the shadows of academia and healthcare. We’ve been taking notes.

The potential for f#ckery is everywhere. We’re all guilty, every last one of us. Some of us lie, while others omit key details. Aggressors blame and point fingers, while passive aggressive folks ignore requests and stuff anger. We all have f#ckery to own, and owning it enables us to reduce it, before it reduces us. This reality fuels our determination and compelled me and Jon to write a book.

f#ckery=trust-eroding behaviors

Time is limited. Blatantly or subtly, in large or small doses, trust-eroding behaviors weaken success. We’ve experienced the devastation of f#ckery, not only in our work environments, but on the trajectory of our careers. In cubicles and boardrooms, offices and hallways, we’ve watched f#ckery breed and multiply. It will continue to do so unless and until we call it into the light. F#ckery will divide us.

Our purpose is simple: share what we’ve learned to get real about what keeps us from the happiness found in belonging to a successful team. F#ckery is a first-person, story-driven book to pique your curiosity, challenge where you pay attention, and equip you with the tools you need to fight f#ckery, including your own.

If you’re hungry for a cookie-cutter book that provides a 7-Step recipe for success, this is not that book. If you’re searching for a research-based tome that evaluates the predictive validity of linear regression, this is not that genre. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or visionary, a community organizer or executive director, there are books promising better, faster, profitable results and limitless means to improve your probability of success. We’re not really that book either; our method is orthogonal, providing more questions than answers.

Trail graffiti, Smith & Bybee Wetlands Natural Area

Trail graffiti, Smith & Bybee Wetlands Natural Area

Fighting f#ckery is hard. It’s also really satisfying, like good-sex satisfying. Like sealing-a-deal satisfying. Satisfying, in an I-just-slayed-a-dragon kind of way. If that’s what you crave, then you’ll have to work for it.

F#ckery is tested by our own failures, our own accomplishments. Born of debate and discourse, self-discovery and creative conflict, it is the guide to annihilate f#ckery where you work. Here’s to the adventure!


(Excerpt from F#ckery by Lori Eberly & Jonathan Sabol, copyright 2015)

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