I'm planning to do a week of blogging on the topic of success, as part of a lead up to the release of my book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.

And so I wondered if you'd like to cue me up with specific topics in the area of success/failure. Is there any accepted wisdom in that field that you'd like to see confirmed or destroyed?

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Sep 27, 2013
Semperjase sort of hit on this one: for you to discuss how worthless some of the 'self-help' business guru books are. Like "Who Moved My Cheese," "The Four-Hour Workweek," and the "One-minute" series. I mean, how can you stand out when you're one of the sheeple, doing what everyone else does? How do you approach excellence in an individual rather than induhvidual way?

Then, there's the college question. Is college still the path to success? With the cost of college now, will you ever make the money back it cost you to go? I recall reading a comparison of a plumber's lifetime earnings (starting at the end of high school) versus a doctor's lifetime earnings (starting after college, med school, internship and residency), with the plumber coming out slightly ahead.

I'd also like it if you'd comment on Thomas Edison's statement that genius is one percent inspiration and 95% persperation, and his notion that "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." When do you have to realize that you're just not good enough to become an 'X', or do you ever?

As a matter of fact, if you'd look at some of Edison's quotes (check Wikiquote), that would be a good place to start. In any case, whatever you do, I'm sure it will have much more value than most of the success books out there.
Sep 27, 2013

You've written about using them before, but if I recall correctly you weren't sure where the magic came from. Any further thought on why or how daily affirmations might work?

Specific Action due to Specific Failures.

We've all heard, over and over again, that failures are how you learn. Can you provide any specific examples of a failure, the knowledge you gained from it, and the success that followed or the trap that was avoided? (I haven't read your unreleased book yet, so perhaps it's full of such examples. It seems like it ought to be).

+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
I'd just like to know how to successfully get credit for my work. The management level that approves my compensation doesn't have a clue what I do. Every day, I get emails 3 Fwd:'s deep asking about company operations. I'm pretty sure the part of my reply that says "call me if you have any questions" gets stripped out by 3 levels of supervisors.
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
Is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" still relevant? Is it good advice? Was it ever good advice?
Sep 27, 2013
Apparently the key to success is to surround yourself with successful people.

But how can I do that when these successful people always realize I'm a complete loser and ditch me as soon as possible?
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
So... we all know pointy-haired boss is an idiot. And yet he's a successful guy. It seems like it would be in the Scott Adams style to write a defensive piece about the boss's various horrible qualities and how those qualities do, in fact, make a person successful in real life.
Sep 27, 2013
Can I really be successful working 4 hours a week?

Can I be successful if my cheese was moved?

Can I be successful if I want to be merely good and not great?

And most of all, why do most comics suck now?
Sep 27, 2013
It would interesting to explore the notion of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Looking back on my life, there were key moments (similar to jakesdad) that put me on the path to where I am today. I my case, most of the those moments were negative in some way, my reaction to them grew into positive outcomes.
Sep 27, 2013
Wally's Secret of Success:
Good attendance, head nodding, patting yourself on the back and covering your back side.
Not exactly accepted wisdom but I would certainly like to see it confirmed.
Sep 27, 2013
If you wouldn't mind shining some light onto that stupid "lean in" crap and pointing out its utter inanity, that would be great.

(Every time some high-profile woman comes out with a tome of workplace advice, I'm always reminded of the female idiots in my MBA program who worshipped at the throne of Carly Fiorina (this was back in her HP days):
Me: "You realize she's an incredibly corrosive and divisive manager who's driving down HP's value, !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%* clueless women in their late 20s: "She's a woman! And a CEO! Everything she does is fabulous!")
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
It would seem to me that the old adage of "If at first you don't succeed; try, try again" is antithetical to the wisdom of "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Perhaps we need a new pearl of wisdom that combines the encouragement of tenacity with the intelligence of learning from your mistakes so as not to repeat them.
Sep 27, 2013
Is it true that the best way to succeed is to get a toothless parrot?
Sep 27, 2013
A friend and I were joking the other day that somebody needs to write a book "Success Strategies for Dilettantes". So, I guess my question is: In this world of increasing specialization, what success strategies (if any) would you recommend for a person that prefers to do a variety of things vs. doing one thing extremely well.
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
I'd like to know to what extent (if any) your experience has mirrored mine in that one of the biggest lessons I'm impressing on my kids is that the moments & decisions that really turn out to shape your life you rarely recognize when they're happening. when I reflect I can think of 5-10 key moments/decisions that have really shaped my life but only with one of them did I recognize the significance as it happened. conversely, I can think of many things over which I obsessed that in hindsight really didn't mean much (GPA/SAT, college admissions, titles, etc).

not sure what practical application that has except maybe always be authentic because you probably won't recognize opportunity from an encyclopedia salesman when it knocks but that's my story & I'm sticking to it - you?
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