How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

( 2 )

Overview

Everything you want out of life is in that bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and two restaurants. So how did he go from hapless office worker to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years?

In this funny yet serious book ...

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

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Overview

Everything you want out of life is in that bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and two restaurants. So how did he go from hapless office worker to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years?

In this funny yet serious book full of personal stories, Adams shares the strategies he has used to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket. Among his contrarian lessons:

• Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.
• A combination of mediocre skills can make you surprisingly valuable.
• You can manage your odds in a way that makes you look lucky to others.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Audio
10/10/2014
Cartoonist Adams of “Dilbert” fame dives into the “guide to success” subgenre of self-help with this book, adding in both humorous and serious autobiographical stories to illustrate some of his guiding principles. Much of the content rehashes commonsense ideas found in similar books, such as eating right for more energy, diversifying your skill set to be more marketable, and learning that some failure is a part of overall success. However, the author also provides a few novel insights concerning focusing on systems to create success instead of on goals or passions. Adams speaks with authority throughout the book, sometimes voicing his personal take on events as fact, though he also addresses the limitations of his own knowledge and experience. Although lacking a great deal of originality, the book's content is concise and well organized. Patrick Lawlor's narration gives the book an upbeat feel that will keep listeners engaged.
Verdict Recommended for graduating college students, beginning entrepreneurs, and “Dilbert” fans.—Cliff Landis, Georgia State Univ. Lib., Atlanta

(c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From the Publisher
“Adams has a funny, refreshingly considered set of ideas about how to find success—and what that success will look like when one gets there.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Scott Adams has drawn nearly 9,000 Dilbert cartoons since the strip began, in 1989, and his cynical take on management ideas, the effectiveness of bosses, and cubicle life has affected the worldview of millions. But he built his successful career mainly through trial and error—a whole lot of error, to be exact.
Harvard Business Review

Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Failing and succeeding, the sarcastic comic-strip–artist way. Dilbert creator Adams has failed where others have succeeded, and he has a chapter to prove it: a 10-page list of mistakes, misfires and entrepreneurial blunders that humbled him time and again. Not every business venture crashed and burned, of course; the massive success of Dilbert is proof enough of that. As the title of the book suggests, Adams' path to cartooning fame and fortune was uneven, fraught with missteps and largely unrelated to cartooning. Fans of Dilbert will find the author's less-than-orthodox approach to a "win big" guide to be in keeping with the tone of the comic strip. Some of the themes of the book include "goals are for losers," "conquer shyness by being a huge phony (in a good way)," and "simplicity transforms ordinary into amazing." Adams has extensive experience in data-driven office environments, and the long-form writing gives him a chance to examine the many approaches he's tried to making positive changes in his life and career. Many of the themes are common to this type of book--e.g., the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, the benefits of having a "system" to follow over a long period of time instead of passions or goals that leave you feeling empty as soon as you achieve them. Adams has a funny, refreshingly considered set of ideas about how to find success--and what that success will look like when one gets there. While Adams implores readers not to consider this book's suggestions as advice ("It's never a good idea to take advice from cartoonists"), he does turn the many lemons of his work history into something akin to a helpful guide for young adults stumbling through the early career years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480555358
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/28/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott  Adams

Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular comic strips of the past quarter century. He has been a full-time cartoonist since 1995, after 16 years as a technology worker for companies like Crocker National Bank and Pacific Bell. His many bestsellers include The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook. He lives outside of San Francisco.

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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

Excerpt:

This is not an advice book. If you’re ever taken advice from a cartoonist, there’s a good chance it didn’t end well. For starters, it’s hard to know when a cartoonist is being serious and when he or she is constructing an elaborate practical joke. I’ve crafted pranks that spanned years, sometimes when no one was in on the joke but me.   

On top of that, I’m getting paid to write this book, and we all know that money distorts truth like a hippo in a thong. And let’s not forget I’m a stranger to most of you. It’s never a good idea to trust strangers.

I’m also not an expert at anything, including my own job. I draw like an inebriated howler monkey and my writing style falls somewhere between baffling and sophomoric. It’s an ongoing mystery to me why I keep getting paid.

Most advice-like books take the view that the author is an omnipotent source of knowledge and the reader is an empty vessel of dysfunction. I approach this book with a more realistic humility. For starters, anyone who reads this sort of book is likely to be brighter than the average citizen, and, in far too many cases, brighter than me.  

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 22, 2013

    One part philosophy, one part self help, all fun

    Scott Adams is a very strange person, but also a very interesting chap. He has experienced major successes, but also major setbacks, and through it all has maintained the sense of humour that powers one of the most popular comic strips in the world. Much of this book goes over ground covered in The Dilbert Future and the introduction to Dilbert 2.0. But while the stories can be familiar the underlying ideas tying together the narrative are clearer and more focused. A key point: keep working at things till you succeed at something and little will be thought about your failures. For good advice from a true success and the philosophical consolation to keep going till you succeed, this is a great if quirky read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 23, 2015

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