How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

by Scott Adams

This book is one of the most widely applicable and original self-help/success/self-improvement books I have ever read. There's no rehashing of ideas you've seen in 10 other books to fill up the pages so the author can offer up only 1 or 2 unique ideas but still sell books. If you can't find a single piece of advice to immediately implement into your life for the better, you clearly aren't trying hard enough.

This book is only 9 hours long (Audible) but contains around 30 chapters on a number of different subjects. Throughout the book Scott also describes his battle with spasmodic dysphonia which adds a central theme and underlying structure to the otherwise separated chapters.

Scott Adams has some very interesting ideas in a lot of areas which is why the chapter count is so high. For example one 15 minute chapter on diet (which is never touched on again) contained so much good information that I immediately changed what I purchase at the grocery store.

There's no possible way to do a comprehensive review without quoting the whole book since there is so much information packed into it. Instead I'll just mention Scott's 8 steps to maximize happiness and list a bunch of quotes I found either entertaining or useful.

8 Steps to maximize happiness (don't do them all at once, this is a pyramid, you must get good at #1 before you move onto #2)
1. Exercise
2. Eating right
3. Sleep
4. Imagination (thinking of the future in a positive light)
5. Flexible Schedule (We can generally do all the things we want in a day, but timing is usually more important than the intrinsic value in thing we want to do)
6. Find a hobby or sport you can steadily improve at
7. Help others once you have fully helped yourself
8. Reduce daily decisions to routine

"Your mood and abilities is a function of your body chemistry, stop treating it like magic. Food plays a larger role on your mood than the environment around you. Reprogram your tastes, stock up on convenient healthy food."

"Don't wish for success, decide. If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it."

"Timing is one of the most important factors for determining success. It's also nearly impossible to predict so try a bunch of things and just hope luck eventually finds you on the timing."

"Welcome failure, but don't let it leave till you learn something from it."

"Experts are right 98% of the time on the easy stuff but only 50% on the complicated/complex/new things."

"Maximize personal energy. All you need for success after that is luck. Move from strategies with bad odds to strategies with better odds. Lose your ego and pick strategies that filter out people who fear embarrassment. Stay in the game long enough and luck will have a better chance at finding you."

"Goals are for losers, systems are for winners. Goals only make sense if you have a system constantly moving you in the right direction." Example of a goal is "I want to become a famous cartoonist" where as a system example is "I'm going to continuously try new ideas out on the public. I'll only consider ideas where I can make money without selling my time directly and while also creating something infinitely reproducible. I'll continue trying things until something strikes a chord with the public."

Originally posted on Facebook July 10, 2017.