Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook

( 3 )

Overview

Behind the closed doors of corporate management lurks a manifesto so devious, so insidious, and of such diabolic power, it has the ability to transform normal human beings into paradigm–spewing zombies. Its purpose: to help bosses stick it to their employees. Its author: none other than Dogbert, the canine corporate consultant out to rule the world.

All too often, new managers make mistakes such as rewarding good work with good pay, communicating clearly and improving ...

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Overview

Behind the closed doors of corporate management lurks a manifesto so devious, so insidious, and of such diabolic power, it has the ability to transform normal human beings into paradigm–spewing zombies. Its purpose: to help bosses stick it to their employees. Its author: none other than Dogbert, the canine corporate consultant out to rule the world.

All too often, new managers make mistakes such as rewarding good work with good pay, communicating clearly and improving departmental efficiency. Dogbert shows that this could have devastating consequences: Employees begin to expect fair treatment and compensation, productive workers show results (making managers look bad by comparison), and the department's future budget allotment could be decreased because it spends only what it needs.

Drawing from his years of experience tormenting Dilbert and advising his boss, our Machiavellian mutt uses pithy essays, illustrated by scores of comic strips, to teach neophyte managers such potent practices as:

The power of verbal instructions: Sound like a boss while maintaining complete deniability!

Empty promises of promotion: all the motivational benefits, none of the costs!

Pretending to care: Learn how to hear without listening!

Incentives: Inspire employees by giving them worthless knickknacks!

Once again firmly establishing Scott Adams as the spokesman for the absurdities of the workplace (and Dogbert as the guru of sticking it to the masses), Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook is the perfect gift for all cubicle dwellers and their bosses.

Dilbert--the world's fastest growing comic strip, read by 60 million fans in 32 countries--deals with the frustrations of everyday corporate life, as the title character struggles to maintain his identity and happiness in a world where attacks can come from everyone from his boss down to his dog. 128 pp. Web site promo. 400,000 print.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887308819
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 712,079
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, the comic strip that now appears in 1,550 newspapers worldwide. His first two hardcover business books, The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook, have sold more than two million copies and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for a combined total of sixty weeks.

Biography

Back when he was a lowly office worker slaving under fluorescent lights and drinking bad coffee at an unsatisfying string of office jobs, Scott Adams would try to stave off some of the mind-numbing boredom he faced each day by doodling a little comic strip about a hapless office drone he called Dilbert. As he worked, Adams filed away the fodder for his fledgling comic strip. Today, Dilbert is officially an empire -- and Adams is the CEO.

Adams didn't start his career path intending to become a workplace warrior. As he told FamousVeggie.com, he graduated high-school as valedictorian "because the other 39 people in my class couldn't spell ‘valedictorian.'" After earning a B.A. in economics at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, Adams went on to earn an M.B.A. at the University of California at Berkeley. Adding an interesting twist to his education, he also managed to pick up a Certified Hypnotist diploma from the Clement School of Hypnosis in 1981.

After college, during his often-brief tenure at a series of low-paying, low-on-the-totem-pole jobs at corporations from Crocker National Bank in San Francisco to Pacific Bell in San Ramon, Adams started to wonder if his sanity-saving doodles really could rescue him from a life spent working for The Man. Acting on a tip from a kindly fellow cartoonist, he picked up the 1988 Artist Markets guide and simply followed the instructions on how to get syndicated. He mailed out fifty sample Dilbert strips, and was offered a contract by United Media within weeks.

Adams's first attempt writing an actual book was 1996's The Dilbert Principle, which became a number one New York Times bestseller and one of the top-selling business books of all time. More than just a compilation of Adams's cartoons, the book included essays on the trials and tribulations of corporate culture. "Each one is on target and deliciously sardonic," said Booklist in its review. "Sometimes too true to be funny." Today, the strip continues its clip as the fastest-growing cartoon of all time, and is enjoyed daily by 150 million people in 1,900 newspapers, in 56 countries.

Transitioning from comic compilations to full books was a challenge for Adams. As he admitted to Salon.com, "Drawing the comic strip is fun -- it can actually increase my energy. I feel good when I'm doing it, and I feel good when it's done. But writing just sucks the energy right out of me. I find that after about an hour of writing sometimes I have to jump on the floor and fall asleep, right now. It's so much harder than it looks."

When he's not helping Dilbert bring a smile to the faces of the working wounded, Adams moonlights as a restaurateur, running two successful Stacey's Cafés in Northern California. He has also founded the Scott Adams Foods company, home of the Dilberito™ -- a protein-packed burrito perfect for the office microwave.

Good To Know

Adams describes himself as a "a cat-loving, vegetarian tennis player."

His past jobs include bank teller, computer programmer, financial analyst, product manager, loan officer, corporate strategist, and pseudo-engineer. Says Adams, "I was incompetent in each of those fields, but for some reason no one ever noticed."

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    1. Hometown:
      Danville, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 8, 1957
    2. Place of Birth:
      Catskill, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Hartwick College, 1979; M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Acting like a Manager

In an ideal world, your job as manager would include setting goals and acquiring the resources to achieve them. But you don't live in an ideal world, largely because there are people like you in it.

Since you don't have the authority to establish goals and acquire resources, you are left with only two logical choices:

Alternative Results

1. Do nothing.Get fired for doing nothing.

2. Do irrational and Get rewarded for being a
unproductive things.can-do manager who makes
things happen.

To make matters worse, you will be expected to spend as much as forty hours every week doing management stuff, regardless of how much management is really needed. Obviously, unless things are seriously broken, most of what you do will be "filler."

Fortunately, there are many "managerish" things you can do to pack your schedule and make yourself look like a capable executive.

Managment Time Fillers
  • Renaming the department
  • Status reports
  • Teamwork exercises
  • Office relocations
  • Writing mission statements
  • Random organizational changes
  • Making view graphs
  • Micromanagement

It's not a good idea to refer to the dolts who report to you as dolts. It makes them more dangerous than they already are. Although it can be very entertaining to rile them up, it's not recommended. As a manager you have to learn to be more diplomatic.

Use the more acceptable term resources. It means the same thing as dolt but for some reason it doesn't get the same reaction. Likewise, the terms team member and associateshould be used instead of the diminutive terms pud and loser, respectively. The new terms sacrifice nothing in accuracy while doing much for your personal security. In this book I'll refer to the people who report to you as employees because that term encompasses all of those diminutive meanings.

It's important that your employees think you are smart. Judging from the fact that you're reading this book, you'll probably have to fake it. Listen carefully to the zombie-like speech patterns of other managers and try to imitate them. If you hear a new management buzzword, jump on it like a starving squirrel on the last peanut on earth.

Combine your new management language skills with the Management Zombie Stare. Learn to hide every trace of comprehension and compassion in your expression. Your face should send this message:

Logic is futile.

Some rookie managers make the mistake of inviting input from the employees, hoping for some valuable insight or contribution. As far as unwarranted optimism goes, this is roughly equivalent to panning for gold in your own shower.

Tip: If youe employees were capable of generating any nuggets of wisdom, they wouldn't be working for you.

Clothes make the leader. Employees probably won't ever respect you as a person, but they might respect your clothes. Great leaders throughout history have understood this fact.

Take the pope, for example. If you took away his impressive pope hat, his authority would be seriously diminished. Ask yourself if you would take advice on birth control from a guy wearing, let's say, a John Deere hat. I don't think so.

You can learn from the pope's example. Wear impressive clothes. This will be the primary source of your respect, if any, for the remainder of your career.

It will no longer be necessary to be witty or attractive in order for people to pay attention to you. As a manager, your power and charisma will carry you through any social situation.

In fact, you can be physically repulsive and still have a good chance of bedding one of your attractive employees through the use of subtle intimidation. From a strict legal perspective, this is criminal behavior. But let's face it--you didn't become a manager so you could get the best parking space. You did it so you could talk dirty to attractive people who couldn't complain.

Your jokes will also take on a new air of richness and humor, no matter how many times you tell the same ones. Your employees will feel obliged to laugh heartily. And if you mix in some sexual innuendos, that's the same as foreplay.

Some people say you shouldn't abuse your power as a manager. But being timid is no way to live. Go out and grab some gusto. And if the gusto files a lawsuit, claim you were misinterpreted.

Before your rise to power you felt obliged to stop rambling when your listener showed signs of starvation, coma, or rigor mortis. That's all in the past.

If you're part of a meeting that's scheduled for sixty minutes, feel free to use it all. And remember: Agendas are suggestions, not rules. And rules were made to be broken; therefore, suggestions are made to be ignored.

That last paragraph didn't make any sense, but logic is not a luxury that a busy manager can afford. Sometimes you have to cut corners to make more time for babbling.

As a manager, all meetings have the same objectives for you:

Objectives for Meetings

1.Clear your desk by assigning tasks to the powerless dolts trapped in the meeting.

2.Exhibit your keen conceptual grasp of the big picture.

3.Babble.

4.Avoid answering any questions.

Sometimes you'll blunder into meetings called by people who have a "mission" or a "purpose" for the meeting. That's the sort of thing they should be doing on their own time, not yours. Ignore their rudeness and proceed with your own good work.

It is not necessary for you to understand the technology that drives your company, or even the technology that raises and lowers your big puffy chair. You are a manager, not a detail person. And you can pay the "little people" to do the boring technical work for you. However, there are a few key technical concepts you should master to avoid embarrassment.

1.When you fax a piece of paper, your original piece of paper does not actually travel through the phone lines. Nor can you save on travel expenses by faxing yourself to a distant location.

2.If your PC is plugged into the power outlet, that doesn't mean you're connected to the Internet, despite all the hype you hear about how easy it is. You also need software.

3.You don't need to move your desk or put on sneakers in order to be "running under Windows."

4.Ethernet will not make you lose consciousness, even if you sniff a broken cable.

About once a week, you should skim technical magazines--such as Newsweek or People--and ask your staff, "Why aren't we doing this?" Then watch them squirm as they try to convince you that it's impossible or hideously expensive. They are lazy and deceitful. Ignore their so-called expertise and demand that they do your
bidding.

Try to pick your technology challenges at random, as opposed to choosing those that have some immediate relevance to work in progress. This shows the scope of your intellectual grasp of technology. For example, if your department is building a new customer database, insist that it incorporate the ability to store aromas and music (in case you need those capabilities later).

If you're too lazy to skim technology magazines for good ideas, simply combine any two good concepts, then challenge your staff to make it happen. For example, you could say, "Why don't we make all of our electrical outlets digital?" or "Why don't we get some multimedia fax machines?"

Prior to becoming a manager, you handled your own calendar. From now on, your schedule will be managed by a secretary whose goal is to send you to meetings that are far away from the office.

To illustrate this point, let's say your most important priority is to hire additional staff members to improve client service. Your secretary will respond by booking you on a mining expedition to the Axlon Nebula star system. This might not have much to do with your priorities, but the alternative is to make your own appointments, and that is not what leaders do. Leaders do what their secretaries schedule them to do.

Take Napoleon Bonaparte, for example. He was originally an accounting manager in Paris. But his secretary handled the calendar and she hated him because he had some sort of a short-guy personality disorder that had no name at the time. So his secretary would book him for things such as "Invade Russia during the winter" and "Waterloo--2 p.m."

Don't complain if your secretary sends you out of the office. The alternative is worse. If you've been a tyrant lately, your secretary will seek revenge by using the "Idiot Trickle Torture." This involves filling your calendar with slow-talking, dim-witted employees who form a never-ending line outside your office door.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    THIS BOOK EXPLAINS EVERYTHING

    I refer to it at least once a week to help me understand why my supervisors are saying and doing the things they are. Anyone working for, or that has ever been in, the military will immediately recognize and understand the management techniques explained by Dogbert. Page 2 explains everything in one place. Only update needed is the time filler entitled 'make viewgraphs' needs to be updated to 'make PowerPoint presentations.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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