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Book Notes: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Read On: May 2016
Reading Time: 8 hours
Rating: 9/10

Summary

Scott Adams has likely failed at more things than anyone you’ve ever met, including his corporate career, his inventions, his investments, and two restaurants. So how did he go from hapless office worker to the creator of Dilbert, one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips, in just a few years? In this funny yet serious book full of personal stories, Adams shares the strategies he has used to invite failure in, embrace it, then pick its pocket

Notes

  • Success causes passion more than passion causes success.
  • Failure is a tool, not an outcome. It’s where Success hides in plain sight.
  • Timing is often the biggest component of success. And since timing is often hard to get right, it makes sense to try different things until you get the timimg right by luck.
  • Goals are for losers. You spend every moment until you reach the goal feeling as if you were short of your goal. You exist in a state of nearly continuos failure that you hope will be temporary. That feeling wears on you. In time, it becomes heavy and uncomfortable. If you achieve the goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Goal oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre success at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do.
  • A system is something you do on a regular basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you in a better place in your life. Successful people follow systems not goals.
  • Always take care of yourself first, so that you can do a better job of being generous in the long run.
  • Make choices that maximize your personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities. This means eating right, exercising, sleeping, and all of the obvious steps, but also having something in your life that makes you excited to wake up.
  • Getting enough exercise, food and sleep are the easiest ways to elevate your attitude. Working on projects that have a real chance of changing the world, helping humanity and/or making a lot of money are also energizing.
  • If you work on big ideas, you will fail a lot, but you will also learn a lot. See your big-idea projects as a part of a system to improve your energy, contacts and skills.
  • Praise has much more transformative power than criticism.
  • If your view of the world is that people use reason for their important decisions, you are setting yourself up for a life of frustration and confusion. A working knowledge of psychology is essential for success.
  • You can overcome shyness by acting like someone else. Also, act interested in other people.
  • Golf is a great activity for males to bond.
  • You spend a great deal of time persuading people to do things for you. Take time to learn how to persuade more effectively.
  • Affirmations are the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. They have worked pretty well for the author.
  • Schedule Flexibility is an important component for achieving happiness. Consider this in your personal life and career when making any big decision.
  • Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than when you are. It is the natural state of mind for most people whenever they feel healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good.

    Thoughts

    Scott is an engaging and entertaining writer. It’s been a while since I read a book in one sitting, but I never felt like putting this book down. The book is an inside look in the successes and numerous failures of Scott’s life, and does not have a coherent theme besides that. I personally enjoyed it a lot, and also got a lot out of it.

P.S More Book Notes here.

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