Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met or anyone you’ve even heard of. So how did he go from hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams shares the game plan he’s followed since he was a teen: invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket.
No career guide can offer advice that works for everyone. As Adams explains, your best bet is to study the ways of others who made it big and try to glean some tricks and strategies that make sense for you. Adams pulls back the covers on his own unusual life and shares how he turned one failure after another—including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and his two restaurants—into something good and lasting. There’s a lot to learn from his personal story, and a lot of entertainment along the way. Adams discovered some unlikely truths that helped to propel him forward. For instance:
• Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.
• “Passion” is bull. What you need is personal energy.
• 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.
Adams hopes you can laugh at his failures while discovering some unique and helpful ideas on your own path to personal victory. As he writes: “This is a story of one person’s unlikely success within the context of scores of embarrassing failures. Was my eventual success primarily a result of talent, luck, hard work, or an accidental just-right balance of each? All I know for sure is that I pursued a conscious strategy of managing my opportunities in a way that would make it easier for luck to find me.”
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
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
Read an 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.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Time I Was Crazy 7
Chapter 2 The Day of the Talk 10
Chapter 3 Passion Is Bullshit 13
Chapter 4 Some of My Many Failures in Summary Form 16
Chapter 5 My Absolute Favorite Spectacular Failure 28
Chapter 6 Goals Versus Systems 30
Chapter 7 My System 35
Chapter 8 My Corporate Career Fizzled 41
Chapter 9 Deciding Versus Wanting 46
Chapter 10 The Selfishness Illusion 47
Chapter 11 The Energy Metric 51
Chapter 12 Managing Your Attitude 65
Chapter 13 It's Already Working 74
Chapter 14 My Pinkie Goes Nuts 76
Chapter 15 My Speaking Career 80
Chapter 16 My Voice Problem Gets a Name 82
Chapter 17 The Voice Solution That Didn't Work 84
Chapter 18 Recognizing Your Talents and Knowing When to Quit 86
Chapter 19 Is Practice Your Thing? 92
Chapter 20 Managing Your Odds for Success 95
Chapter 21 The Math of Success 101
Chapter 22 Pattern Recognition 145
Chapter 23 Humor 149
Chapter 24 Affirmations 154
Chapter 25 Timing Is Luck Too 158
Chapter 26 A Few Times Affirmations Worked 161
Chapter 27 Voice Update 163
Chapter 28 Experts 165
Chapter 29 Association Programming 167
Chapter 30 Happiness 171
Chapter 31 Diet 180
Chapter 32 Fitness 204
Chapter 33 Voice Update 215
Chapter 34 Luck 218
Chapter 35 CalendarTree Start-up 220
Chapter 36 Voice Update 3 222
Chapter 37 A Final Note About Affirmations 225
Chapter 38 Summary 230
What People are Saying About This
“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.”
“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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
Great book. Scott Adams has always made me laugh with Dilbert as well as shake my head in agreement. This is a good read.