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

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

A surprisingly fantastic read, that had some great point. Scott Adams Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular cartoons out there. So here are some great life lessons from a cartoonist.

The Six Filters for Truth:
Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)
Experience of people you know (Even more unreliable.)
Experts (They work for money, not truth.)
Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)
Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)
Pattern recognition (Patterns, coincidence, and personal bias look alike.)
In our messy, flawed lives, the nearest we can get to truth is consistency. Consistency is the bedrock of the scientific method.
When seeking truth, your best bet is to look for confirmation on at least two of the dimensions I listed.
Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.
Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.
So sometimes passion is simply a by-product of knowing you will be good at something your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job
 
Systems vs Goals
Let’s agree that goals are a reach-it-and-be-done situation, whereas a system is something you do on a regular basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you to a better place in your life. Systems have no deadlines, and on any given day you probably can’t tell if they’re moving you in the right direction. My proposition is that if you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals.
In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.
Warren Buffett’s system for investing involves buying undervalued companies and holding them forever, or at least until something major changes.
One of my systems involves continually looking for patterns in life.
“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it.”
Manage your Energy not Time
Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps. But it also means having something in my life that makes me excited to wake up.
My proposition is that organizing your life to optimize your personal energy will add up to something incredible that is more good than bad.
Simplification frees up energy, making everything else you do just a little bit easier
Exercise, food, and sleep should be your first buttons to push if you’re trying to elevate your attitude and raise your energy
increasing your ratio of happy thoughts to disturbing thoughts
working on projects that have a real chance of changing the world, helping humanity, and/or making a billion dollars.
“Success at anything has a spillover effect on other things”
The Success Formula: Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success merely good —not extraordinary—at more than one skill.
It helps to see the world as math and not magic, success is a numbers game the more trys the more chances for success.
  • Skills worth learning:
  • Public speaking
  • Psychology
  • Business writing
  • Accounting Design (the basics)
  • Conversation
  • Overcoming shyness
  • Second language
  • Golf (one of the best ways to network with powerful people “The thing that golf does well is that it allows males, especially, to bond.”)
  • Proper grammar
  • Persuasion
  • Technology (hobby level)
  • Proper voice technique
What are common traits in successful people?
  • Lack of fear of embarrassment
  • Education (the right kind)
  • Exercise
People who enjoy humor are simply more attractive than people who don’t.
Affirmations: 
 
Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want.
You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form. The typical form of an affirmation would be “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.” The details of affirmations probably don’t matter much because the process is about improving your focus, not summoning magic.
Luck
The biggest component of luck is timing.
But I did make it easier for luck to find me, and I was thoroughly prepared when it did
Luck won’t give you a strategy or a system—you have to do that part yourself.
I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.
If your gut feeling (intuition) disagrees with the experts, take that seriously. You might be experiencing some pattern recognition that you can’t yet verbalize.
Happiness:
The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness.
I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it.
Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are
When you choose a career, consider whether it will lead to a lifetime of ever-improved performance, a plateau, or a steady decline in your skills.
Never waste a brain cell in the morning trying to figure out what to do, always have the day planed out in advance. Have Routines that you follow.
Recapping the happiness formula: Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself). Reduce daily decisions to routine.
Focus on your diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps. Once you optimize your personal energy, all you need for success is luck.
You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from strategies with bad odds to strategies with good odds. For example, learning multiple skills makes your odds of success dramatically higher than learning one skill. If you learn to control your ego, you can pick strategies that scare off the people who fear embarrassment, thus allowing you to compete against a smaller field. And if you stay in the game long enough, luck has a better chance of finding you. Avoid career traps such as pursuing jobs that require you to sell your limited supply of time while preparing you for nothing better.
Happiness tends to happen naturally whenever you have good health, resources, and a flexible schedule. Get your health right first, acquire resources and new skills through hard work, and look for an opportunity that gives you a flexible schedule someday.
Develop a habit of simplifying. Learn how to make small talk with strangers, and learn how to avoid being an asshole
If you control the inputs, you can determine the outcomes, give or take some luck.
Look for patterns in every part of life, from diet to exercise to any component of success. Try to find scientific backing for your observed patterns, and use yourself as a laboratory to see if the patterns hold for you.
Most important, understand that goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them.
And always remember that failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. And don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket. That’s a system.