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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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"Grace & Style: The Art of Pretending You Have It"
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“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
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Top Customer Reviews
I would say any book that holds my interest like that deserves a 5-start rating, though there are a few things that I'd tweak to get it closer to perfection. My official score, being a tough grader, is a 4.6/5.0 and I wouldn't resell it for twice what I paid ... especially now that it's fully highlighted and sticky-noted throughout (which makes the book more valuable to me now because I've identified the portions that spoke directly to me and my own experiences).
I really enjoyed Scott's independent thinking and challenges of conventional wisdom throughout this book, especially as it contrasts with other self-help, goal-setting or business advice books. For instance, choosing an opportunity for which one has some sort of inherent advantage rather than blindly prescribing "you can do whatever you want" appeals to my pragmatic mind. I have wrestled with this exact conclusion within the past year as I work through my own list of new ideas and opportunities, so I enjoyed that perspective as it resonates with my own thinking.
I really enjoyed the thinking on pg. 40, which is fully highlighted, less perhaps a couple sentences. This is where Scott talks about his mental model of not wanting to sell his time due to limited upside and finding a product that is infinitely scalable. I appreciated this candidness, which allows the reader to better understand the later "luck" and apparent rapid success of Dilbert.Read more ›
His key ideas are easy to follow because he keeps it simple and Scott Adams writes in a clear and witty manner
For example the chapter on applying a system vs setting goals and trying to follow them was worth the price of the book many times over for me (and this is reinforced through the book). In his own words goals are a reach-it-and-be-done situation (where you are often waiting to achieve it someday in the future) whereas a system is something you do on a regular or daily basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you to a better place in life. Wanting better health or wanting to lose 10 kg are goals. Being active everyday is a system. One is tied to another - but goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn and the systems people are feeling good every-time they apply their system.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone smart and weary of reading tired cliches in the self-help genre. The book is a breath of fresh air!
Adams is at his best when he writes about figuring out how things work and what is important. Readers of his popular blog will recognize such topics as the moist robot, the single most important metric to measure, the five most important factors for happiness, how to thrive without using freewill, and other such topics.
One of his key principles is to distinguish goals from systems. Generally, it's better to pursue a system to get what you want rather than to pursue a goal. Goals are generally bad things as they focus you on what you have not accomplished and therefore feel negative. Unfortunately his discussion of the difference between goals and systems is confused and unclear. He seems to be saying that the reader's goal should be to come with a system that works.
I do appreciate that Adams consistently urges the reader to experiment, to be open minded, and not to follow the advice of cartoonists. The focus should be on what works for you. His humility is a welcome relief from much of the Success literature.
Some parts of the book, especially in the middle chapters, read like annotated lists constructed quickly from Internet searches. Other parts of the book are much better and many of Adams's insights are interesting, captivating, and even brilliant. The tone of this book is quite serious - there are even research footnotes - and it is clear that Adams believes he has something important to share with the reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got a few good tips out of reading this book and it made me think sometimes, and this is enough for me to call it worth reading.Published 3 days ago by alexlo
What did I like about this book: Pointing out that humans are moist computers that can be programmed. Skills are worth acquiring and, yes, sometimes you get lucky. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Tora
An interesting book. Some good advice through a few different techniques. Systems rule rather than goals for achievement. Worth a read.Published 5 days ago by Neale Blackwood
It's not great literature, but it has some fantastic suggestions. (Hypnotism pun intended.) Chapters 9, 10, and 31 alone are worth the price of admission.Published 7 days ago by John Henry Lamming
Optimistic and inspiring. Systems ARE better than goals! This book is funny and helpful. I've read it twice!Published 7 days ago by emily g.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised to read about Adam's scent to comic stardom. His thoughts on success in life and business are worthy of consideration. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Dr. Phillip L. Marzella
You don't have to agree with everything he says, but there is a lot of information one can adapt to one's endeavors to succeed.Published 10 days ago by Howard Halvorsen
If you've never read any self-help book because you think they're all full of s*** then this one is a good start. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Sunspot Mike
I liked this - quick read - he has some interesting stories and tips, some of which I found helpful. Worth reading!Published 12 days ago by Leonard A Savage