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

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

4.5 2
by Scott Adams
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Dilbert creator Scott Adams offers his most personal book ever — a funny memoir of his many failures and what they eventually taught him about success.

How do you go from hapless office worker to world-famous cartoonist and bestselling author in just a few years?  No career guide can answer that, and not even Scott Adams (who actually did

Overview

Dilbert creator Scott Adams offers his most personal book ever — a funny memoir of his many failures and what they eventually taught him about success.

How do you go from hapless office worker to world-famous cartoonist and bestselling author in just a few years?  No career guide can answer that, and not even Scott Adams (who actually did it) can give you a road map that works for everyone. But there’s a lot to learn from his personal story, and a lot of humor along the way.

In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams admits that he failed at just about everything he’s tried, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and his two restaurants. But along the way, Adams discovered some truths you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. For instance…

  • Goals are for losers.
  • You can get fit without using willpower.
  • A combination of mediocre skills can make you surprisingly valuable.

Adams hopes readers can laugh at his failures while discovering some unique and helpful ideas.

Editorial Reviews

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.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591846918
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/22/2013
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
302,363
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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.  

What People are saying about this

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

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GeoffB72 More than 1 year ago
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.