Book Thoughts | How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

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

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

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


How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life Book Cover How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
Scott Adams
Nonfiction, Self Help, Biography
Portfolio
October 22, 2013
256

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 strategy he has used since he was a teen to 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 into something good

and lasting.
Adams reveals that he’s failed at just about everything he’s tried, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and his two restaurants. But there’s a lot to learn from his personal story, and a lot of humor 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.”

About Daniel

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. He reads about history, politics, and current events, as well as more serious genres such as science fiction and fantasy. You can also follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas.