How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

This book came to me as the result of a rabbit hole.  I love to listen to intelligent people discuss things because I love the opportunity to learn from those with proven skills and understanding.  I love it more when I can keep up.  The triple crown is when I can be completely gobsmacked with understanding on a level that completely changes my reality.

I regularly listen to Sam Harris’ Waking Up podcast.  Even if I disagree with something that he or one of his guests says, I will regularly come away with some understanding and some useful new questions to ask that will lead to further understanding.  It was through this podcast that I’ve come to reacquaint myself with Scott Adams, best known for his Dilbert comic strip.  Adams is not only a humorist, he’s an entrepreneur, a self-taught hypnotist, an excellent study on human character, and… someone who can understand Donald Trump.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Not only can he understand the man, he can explain him in ways that will make you open your eyes and allow you to see the Matrix.  This is why Sam Harris interviewed Adams on his podcast, to get this insight.  The conversation is scary beyond all reason, but amazing all the same.

During the course of the interview, Adams referred back several times to his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.  In addition to being an obviously successful cross-promotional tactic that most definitely worked in my case, he described it as a more in-depth look at the reasons behind his explanations of Trump and the current political climate.  And so, being a proud member of Audible, I jumped on the book to satisfy curiosity, secure in the knowledge that if it blew smoke, I could return it with no questions asked.

I’m no stranger to the self-help genre.  There was a time some years ago when I eagerly latched on everything I could get my hands on, and it seemed like no matter how much actual and quantifiable skill I learned, I was continually struck down by circumstance or some inborn Achilles’ heel.  Whatever the case, the books and their messages continually ran together until I could see how self-help books created an industry of addiction in people just like me with a craving to learn and/or a desperate situation to exit.  So I stopped reading them.  Hence I never found this book.  Until now.  And that’s the trick here.  This time around, I found myself reading this book not with a means to apply it to myself, but with an opportunity to see the world through a different lens and see why it works as it seemingly does in defiance of all logic and reason.

I don’t expect anyone to believe what I think about this book.  My best suggestion is to listen to the podcast and see if it’s something you might want to explore, either for understanding the political climate or in regards to seeing how these tools can be directly applied to an unsuspecting world.  Then if you want to learn more, get this book.  I can promise at that point you will be greatly rewarded with new understanding that transcends convention or tradition, told with a straightforward blend of common sense, simple explanations, and a dash of Adams’ trademark humor without distracting from the lessons.  What I got out of it can best be described as a simple meme.  In the Star Wars fan community, there’s a rather ingeniously fun (albeit completely incorrect) theory that you can learn about in minutes on YouTube, describing the innocent fool Jar Jar Binks as the real Sith Lord of the prequel era.  This book, especially when consumed after the listening to the podcast interview, demonstrates conclusively that Donald Trump is Darth Jar Jar.  And these tools are all learned skills that anyone can use.  Or perhaps it’s all dumb luck.  Adams does pad this book with that possibility, so you can believe that alternate version of reality if it makes you more comfortable.  Red pill, blue pill… it’s your call.

What you apply to your own world, and how you go about it, at that point is up to you.  Either way, what is seen cannot be unseen, and applied knowledge is power.

5 stars

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