You probably don’t know Scott Adams (I didn’t), but you know the comic he created, Dilbert. How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big is the story of success/failure throughout Scott’s life.
Scott maintains a theme of simplicity and humor throughout the book that is a refreshing break from other boring business books.
Greg’s TL;DR summary
Scott Adams is successful (which he defines as doing what he wants and when he wants) because of a pretty simple reason: He’s tried many things. In fact, this is a common theme I’ve seen across almost all the successful people I’ve seen, they try things until one of them hits.
The reason for this is because of execution (putting action towards an idea). My estimate is that only 2% of people ever take action on an idea they have. Scott was in that 2% and kept trying.
My Top 13 favorite quotes:
“Good ideas have no value because the world already has too many of them. The market rewards execution, not ideas...I was already failing toward success, but I didn’t yet know it.” pg. 17
“When you start asking questions, you often discover that there’s a simple solution, a website that handles it, or a professional who takes care of it for a reasonable fee. Keep in mind that every time you wonder how to do something, a few hundred million people have probably wondered the same thing.” pg - 61
“No matter what you want to do in life, higher energy will help you get there. From that viewpoint, if you have big, interesting projects in the works, you’re a winner every time you wake up.” pg - 67
“Let’s say you wake up tomorrow full of energy for your exciting new project. Over the course of the day you learn a few things in the process of doing your research, and you meet some new people along the way. If you accomplish that and nothing more, you’re succeeding, no matter what happens with your project.” pg - 68
“The smartest system for discerning your best path to success involved trying lots of different things - sampling, if you will. For entrepreneurial ventures it might mean quickly bailing out if things don’t come together quickly.” pg - 88
“Success isn’t magic; it’s generally the product of picking a good system and following it until luck finds you.” pg - 95
“You’ve heard the old saying that knowledge is power. But knowledge of psychology is the purest form of that power. No matter what you’re doing or how well you’re doing it, you can benefit from a deeper understanding of how the mind interprets its world using only the clues that somehow find a way into your brain through the holes in your skull.” pg - 116
“Find me a normal person and I’ll show you someone you don’t know that well. It helps to remind yourself that your own flaws aren’t that bad compared with everyone else’s.” pg - 130
“There’s one more pattern I see in successful people: They treat success as a learnable skill. That means they figure out what they need and they go and get it.” pg - 148
“I put myself in a position where luck was more likely to happen. I tried a lot of different ventures, stayed optimistic, put in the energy, prepared myself by learning as much as I could, and stayed in the game long enough for luck to find me.” pg - 158
Greg: This line sums up everything I’ve seen about success
“My observation and best guess is that experts are right about 98 percent of the time on the easy stuff but only right 50 percent of the time on anything that is usually complicated, mysterious, or even new.” pg - 166
“The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness. That might sound selfish, but it’s not.” pg - 171
“That’s what I call ‘failing forward’ Anytime you learn something useful, you come out ahead. In this case, my focus on a healthy diet probably increased my life span.” pg - 191