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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still…

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of… (2014)

by Scott Adams

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  1. 00
    Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin (Deesirings)
    Deesirings: Adams suggest having "systems" rather than goals. Developing good habits appears to be a key system in Adams' approach to success and Rubin's book elaborates on how to do that. These two books therefore complement each other.

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This book is appropriately named, though perhaps another subtitle could be added: "or how to fake it until you make it."

Scott Adams is known best for Dilbert, a "satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring engineer Dilbert as the title character" (to quote Wikipedia). After listening to his story, it's hard not to see in the eponymous character much of Scott Adams. He is savvy, smart, and, in a way that is uniquely American, confident of doing anything he sets his mind to, regardless of whether he is qualified or not.

It's this last quality, this modern entrepreneurial "daring do" attitude, that makes Adams' book so compelling. As he tells his story, it becomes clear that he has overcome significant obstacles to success. That he overcame these obstacles makes the things he did compelling and persuasive. Indeed, there are times when I had to remind myself that even Adams himself had opened by admitting that he was only sharing what had worked for him, was simplifying the information he had learned from others, and that the readers should figure out what works best for them. Adams is so persuasive a story teller that it is difficult not to be inspired. You too can be a rich and famous--something--if you only think it, believe it, and work harder at it than anyone else.

Also, get lucky along the way. There's no doubt that luck plays a part in success, and you can see it in Adams' tale, but it was his ability and tenancy at taking advantage of both the opportunities, as well as capitalizing on the setbacks, that led him down a road to fame and fortune.

I truly admire Scott Adams for his success. I'm not sure I'll apply his methods or suggestions, but just listening to his story had the effect on me to get my creative juices and ambitions going. It's easy to believe success is in reach and that I can make the changes I need to obtain that success as you listen to Adams' tell how he turned one lemon after another into lemonade. Luck favors the prepared and at the heart of Adam's story is his application of his preparation at the opportune moment. It's a lesson we can all learn from. ( )
  publiusdb | Jan 10, 2017 |
Not exactly a "how to" book, more a collection of ideas and anecdotes about improving performance and results, written in an entertaining and accessible style. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
I thought this book was OK. I detest self-help books, so that's saying a lot, that I didn't absolutely abhor it. But although his twist was to have a strategy rather than goals, I really didn't see how that was supposed to help. His personal stories were interesting, and I think I pulled the book back from my discards pile to re-read, just in case there's more there than I think.

So really a moderately enthusiastic "Meh." ( )
  Tonestaple | Jan 9, 2017 |
An interesting book. Some good advice through a few different techniques. Systems rule rather than goals for achievement. Worth a read. ( )
  Neale | Feb 7, 2016 |
Adams' newest book is a gem IF you happen to prefer his purposefully tactless sense of humor. (I welcome it.) He is after all the creator of Dilbert so thumbs-up to a slightly outsized ego and don't go expecting much in the way of political correctness or hand-holding. This is life as Scott Adams knows it, a brutishly practical, hard-work-plus-luck-equals-success kind of life.

How To Fail is stuffed with stories, lessons learned and plenty of useful advice. Its tone is less "pursue your dreams" and more "try stuff and see what sticks." The chapter titled "Passion is Bull****" is the highlight of the book and one of the most satisfying I've read in a while.

Like some readers, I thought the addition of the diet and exercise portions near the end were excessive. I agree with Adams' conclusions on the subjects but they could have been incorporated into other chapters rather than sticking out like afterthoughts. Still, Adams defends their inclusion on his blog, suggesting that diet and exercise are crucial to personal success and therefore deserve their full say. ( )
3 vote Daniel.Estes | Mar 31, 2014 |
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"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. "--… (more)

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