How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big

Humorous and entertaining, this book dispenses valuable life advice from author Scott Adam’s own experiences of becoming a famous cartoonist, and other accomplishments. Nothing particularly “new”, but an interesting read that endorses affirmations, it is a worthwhile read.

There are six ways to tell the truth from fiction. They’re faulty and fail a lot, but by combining a few you might just figure out what you need:

  1. Personal experience
  2. Experience of peers
  3. Experts
  4. Scientific Studies
  5. Common Sense
  6. Pattern Recognition

When you have the right energy, you will be more productive in school, in your career, in sports, and even in your personal life. Energy is a good thing, Passion is a sham.

A goal-oriented individual is in a constant state of failure or waiting for the goal to be achieved. A systems person wins every day by sticking to his system. People who focus on systems tend to perform better and become happier.


  • They have had a lasting effect on him in his life since he was an avid proponent of them
  • “I, Scott Addams, will be a famous cartoonist.”
  • “Affirmations are simply repeating what you want while visualizing your desired outcome. It can be written, spoken, or just thought in sentence form."

Spending time on your health, eating well, pursuing your career, and spending quality time with your family and friends is the best form of selfishness.


  • “My approach to multiple priorities is to focus on one key metric: my energy. When I make choices that maximize my energy, I can manage all the other priorities more easily."
  • “A simple way to keep your priorities straight is to analyze the impact each option will have on your personal energy. This is not a foolproof gauge, but if you will know for certain. If you feel more stressed, unwell, and drained, that’s probably the wrong path for you.”

The strategy of simplifying is typically one of the systems-oriented believers. There is a reason why the best systems are simple. Complex systems are more likely to fail. It is in human nature to follow simple systems more easily than complicated ones."

When determining whether an idea or product is effective, the best way to measure it is by watching what customers do with it. Most people tend to say what they think you will like to hear or what they think will cause the least discomfort. People’s actions are more honest than what they say. In the case of comics, for example, one of the best measures of potential is whether people stick the comic to the refrigerator, tweet, e-mail, or post about it in their blogs.

Success & Skills

  • To be successful in life, it is important to become good at something, anything, and to let that passion drive you to new and improved accomplishments. Success can become a habit."
  • Essentially, every skill you gain doubles your chances of success."
  • When trying to discover where you might have extra talent, a good rule of thumb is to think about what you were obsessed with when you were a kid.
  • “Everything you learn becomes a shortcut to understanding something else.”
  • Success is about knowing the price you must pay and then paying it."
  • A good way to improve your chances of success- according to some, it may seem like luck- is to become good, but not amazing, at the types of skills that complement each other well and are useful for most jobs.
  • “Another tendency I see in successful people is the way they view success as a skill they can learn. They determine what they need and then go get it.”

Conversation Tactics

  • Ask questions.
  • Don’t complain.
  • Talk about interesting things. Don’t limit the conversation to mundane things.
  • Give others the chance to speak, don’t do all the talking
  • Keep your mind open to new topics.
  • Although planning is helpful, it isn’t a conversation.
  • Medical stories, especially sad ones, should be kept short.

“I learned how to overcome shyness from a college friend, imagining I was acting instead of interacting, and literally, that means acting.”

If your intuition differs from the experts, take that seriously. You may be noticing patterns that you can’t describe yet.


  • Five major factors are contributing to your bad moods: lack of sleep, not enough exercise, an unhealthy diet, and having a hectic schedule.