How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Scott Adams ★★★★★

A no-bullshit story of the failures of the author of the Dilbert comics, Scott Adams.

I have to admit, I am biased about this book: it’s my favorite in the past few years. I like it because of its simple and straightforward tone and very practical content; it’s personal and not at all authoritative, not like the typical self-assured success-book.

The author is totally aware of cognitive biases that we are a victim of (see: You Are Not So Smart), and tries to use them to his benefit.

Read it!


I’m delighted to admit that I’ve failed at more challenges than anyone I know. There’s a nonzero chance that reading this book will set you on the path of your own magnificent screwups and cavernous disappointments. You’re welcome!

Investing in Webvan wasn’t the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s a contender.

Passionate people who fail don’t get a chance to offer their advice to the rest of us. But successful passionate people are writing books and answering interview questions about their secrets for success every day. Naturally those successful people want you to believe that success is a product of their awesomeness, but they also want to retain some humility. You can’t be humble and say, “I succeeded because I am far smarter than the average person.” But you can say your passion was a key to your success […].

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard goes something like this: If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power. […] Success always has a price, but the reality is that the price is negotiable. If you pick the right system, the price will be a lot nearer what you’re willing to pay.

Eat right, exercise, think positively, learn as much as possible, and stay out of jail, and good things can happen.

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.