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My new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, is released today in the United States.



I think it's my best work, and I have you blog readers to thank for that. Allow me to explain.

For years people have been asking me why I blog. At one point, blogging was taking about half of my work time while providing only 5% of my income. My wife and my friends asked "What is your goal in blogging?"

I don't do goals. I do systems. (That's a theme of the book.)

In this case, my system involved publicly experimenting with a variety of writing styles and topics and closely monitoring the reactions of readers. I was honing my writing skills and my understanding of the reading public. I didn't have a specific goal. I was aiming for "better."

I reasoned that my system would generate good opportunities for me in ways I couldn't predict with any precision. That's what makes it a system and not a goal. I was simply improving my odds that something good would happen. I just didn't know when it might happen or in what form it would come.

Blogging also charges me up. I like the interaction, the angry villagers with torches and pitchforks, and the possibility of saying something useful. It is one part of my overall system for keeping my personal energy high. It also keeps my mind sharp.

Several years into my system, it seems to be working. My blogging prompted the Wall Street Journal to ask me to write some guest articles for them. Those articles did well, in large part because the topics and the approach had been pretested in rough form here. I knew exactly which topics and writing styles would resonate with readers because of your comments and votes.

A combination of my blogging plus the exposure in the Wall Street Journal attracted a variety of fascinating and attractive business offers. One of those offers turned into the book that launched today.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is a sort of unified field theory for my observations on what works and what doesn't in the game of life. It's not advice per se, because as you know, taking advice from cartoonists is generally a bad idea. So I call it information, not advice.

Before you embark on anything important in your life, the first thing you will do - if it is available to you - is ask someone who travelled a similar path what they did and how it turned out. You won't follow that same plan, but it gives you a good starting place and a point of comparison. That can be worth a lot.

I'm in the middle of my promotional swing for the book. I just returned from a series of interviews in Los Angeles. The early reactions to this book are quite exciting. Not counting the Dilbert reprint books, I've written eight regular books. Only two of them got the kind of reaction I saw this week, and those were by far my most popular books. (The Dilbert Principle and God's Debris.)

Now I'm going to ask a favor. I wrote How to Fail to be helpful and not just entertaining. And to be helpful, people need to know it exists. If you were planning to buy it anyway, it makes a big difference if you do it soon because that's what pushes it onto the bestseller list and gives it a buzz.

I'm fairly sure you'll like it. After all, you helped write it.

Thank you in advance.

Here's a link.

 
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Nov 12, 2013
I saw you do a piece on a Chicago station (random - I live in South Carolina) and within a couple minutes of the interview I knew I was going to buy your book. Grabbed it on iBooks and haven't put it down. Love your comedic style which in some ways reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson. Anyway, just thought I'd chime in and say thank you for the great advice in the book and the chuckles.
 
 
Oct 24, 2013
To Phantom and the other misers whining about not getting a discount: If you can't afford $20 for a good book then perhaps there is a better use of your time than commenting on a blog.
 
 
Oct 24, 2013
@whtllnew

Amazon does timed deal every day. He could make a post saying "Check my blog tomorrow morning for a big announcement". Then Amazon could run a special for 1 hour or 2 hours or...

I would love to help Scott out, but almost $20 for a book when I already have too many books and too little time doesn't make sense. If Scott wants a boost from me now so it will draw more attention to his book, then I need a discount.

I have a stack of books 3 feet high that I bought when Borders went out of business. Still working on those, and a friend just offered me book.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 24, 2013
I was given advice by a senior manager years ago. He had escaped from East Germany into West Germany, started at the bottom of a GM plant and worked his way up. He then transferred to EDS after GM bought them and had gone up the ranks quickly. He shared his success in a thick German accent: "You have to pick a role or a goal. You can't do both. Personally, I chose a role. I work from 6am to 6pm Monday through Friday and then I go home. I don't have a cell phone. (They were rare in those days anyway.) I don't take a computer home. But I work hard while I'm here. This role has carried me far."

Sounds like you're a role guy too, Scott.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 23, 2013
Very entertaining book.
The humor woven into the storytelling and concepts Scott presents are making it hard for me to stop reading it.

Ironically, exercise is one of the books themes, and I skipped my morning workout to continue reading.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 23, 2013

Scott, you have given me so much pleasure over the years, I feel I owe you. A little like a happy ending, without the mess.

I pre-ordered your book from Amazon as soon you asked. Still haven't received it, as it must require 6 trucks and a mule to get here. Netflix has a week turn-around time too, so it's probably not Amazon's fault.

I'm conflicted by Amazon. Their business model will put me out of business, but I still buy from them, helping put others out of business. Sorry about that, but I can't stop using their fast and efficient systems. They pit dealers against each other forcing the price lower and lower, then identifies the best selling products, contacts the manufacturer directly, then stocks and sells themselves, putting the "winner" out of business.
Amazon is the wal-mart of etail.

But off track already. I've lurked for years, but if comments help, I'll start to help stir the pot once in a while.

I'm in to help buy Phantom a signed copy of Scott's book, who's with me?

 
 
Oct 23, 2013
How about if I download a pirated copy of the e-book, does that count?

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2004-04-25/
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 23, 2013
OK, OK ... I pre-ordered the book, now leave me alone :P
 
 
Oct 23, 2013
"Blogging also charges me up. I like the interaction, the angry villagers with torches and pitchforks, and the possibility of saying something useful. It is one part of my overall system for keeping my personal energy high. It also keeps my mind sharp."

Hmmm... I never before thought trolls had utility.

[It ain't trolling if it has utility. It's brainstorming :-) --- Scott]
 
 
Oct 23, 2013
Done! But I had to buy it here in the UK, and you're up against the Morrissey autobiography. His system is to consistently complain about life, love and other people. It got so endearing and entertaining that he became a British icon. In a country that confuses optimism and naivete you've got your work cut out but I'm rooting for you!
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 23, 2013
Amazon delivered my pre-order today, Tuesday Oct 23. On page 46 and enjoying it very much. Only question I have so far, is it possible to print on paper in a more nuclear-neon red-orange color than is used for this cover? or is this the absolute limit? In a good way I mean.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2013
My first laugh from Scott's new book came from reading the index
(I swear I'm not making that up).

My first big laugh from the book content came in the early pages.
I've just started the read, but so far, funny and entertaining.

It's good.


 
 
-8 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 22, 2013
Liberals are broken people.

That's why something as clever as the post by Phantom II was down-voted so much. Just mindless sheeple following the rest of the herd.
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
Now that I have requested the book at my local library, I will definitely let you know if I like it!

(I'll tell others, but so far all I get when I praise this blog is polite smiles.)
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
For what it's worth Phantom II, I found your post amusing.
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
"Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, The Dilbert Principle"

Honest question: Is it really appropriate/a good idea to still use TDP as a selling point 17 years later?

Not to take anything away from the achievement, since I obviously haven't done it, but something about it strikes me as off-center. It wasn't the most-recent book so, if I haven't read any of the others, shouldn't I assume that they're not as good as TDP? And if the most recent book wasn't as good as TDP, why would I think this one is as good?

[That's a fair question and the answer is more interesting than you think. A rule of thumb is that non-fiction authors who have an early hit will normally sell half as many with the second book in the same field, then half of that with the next, and so on. My several books after the Dilbert Principle, all in the same genre, followed that pattern as expected.

This new book is in a different field (personal success) as opposed to management/cubicle/workplace humor. So comparing it to The Dilbert Principle is actually the best comparison for this one. And I would expect this one to outperform The Dilbert Principle by a wide margin because personal success is a nearly universal topic, which I approach in a very different manner from what you have seen, so the market is perhaps ten times as large as it would be for a workplace-specific book. -- Scott]
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
Scott,

I developed the greatest business model ever.

I heard you were interested in such. I can sell you anything you want and make your payments for you. Plus, make a profit.

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/thomas-adair/1b/30/29/

Here to change the world.

Thomas
thomasdair@live.com
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
@Phantom II

[You need a humor transplant, I swear! I was being facetious in a humorous way. It was a joke. Jeez. Earth to Whtll -- it was a joke!!!]

As of the moment I write this your comment has had -99 votes on it, so maybe its not me who needs the humor transplant.
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
And come on, you weaklings! Only -99??? You can do better!!! Let's go for at least -1,000! Call your friends! Have them log in! Excoriate me!!!

And you will hear the Adams cash register go, "Ka-CHING!!!"
 
 
Oct 22, 2013
@whtllnew,

You need a humor transplant, I swear! I was being facetious in a humorous way. It was a joke. Jeez. Earth to Whtll -- it was a joke!!!
 
 
 
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