I liked How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert. I don’t normally like ‘success’ books, but in this one is pretty good and very practical.

Here are some of my notes:

On Comics

Making comics is a process by which you strip out the unnecessary noise from a situation until all that is left is the absurd-yet-true core.

On Bullshit

Most people think they have perfectly good bullshit detectors. But if that were the case, trial juries would always be unanimous, and we’d all have the same religious beliefs.

On Failure

At this point in my story, you might have the following question: What kind of idiot puts himself in a position to be humiliated in front of a thousand people? It’s a fair question. The answer is a long one. It will take this entire book to answer it right. The short answer is that over the years I have cultivated a unique relationship with failure. I invite it. I survive it. I appreciate it. And then I mug the shit out of it

On Lucky Streaks

The way our brains are wired, the lucky streaks feel good even if we know they are nothing but chance.

This was about the time I started to understand that timing is often the biggest component of success. And since timing is often hard to get right unless you are psychic, it makes sense to try different things until you get the timing right by luck.

Goals vs. Systems

One should have a system instead of a goal. (For job hunting) The system was to continually look for better options

The system-versus-goals model can be applied to most human endeavors. In the world of dieting, losing twenty pounds is a goal, but eating right is a system. 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

For our purposes, let’s say a goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal

My proposition is that if you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals

On 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.

Once you become good at a few unimportant things, such as hobbies or sports, the habit of success stays with you on more important quests.

A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories. Success can be habit-forming.

On Simplicity

Dilbert was designed from the start to be simple to create, and I continue to streamline the process. That simplicity has paid off big-time because it frees me to blog, write books, do interesting side projects, and still enjoy life

Another big advantage of simplification is that it frees up time, and time is one of your most valuable resources in the world. If you give an ant infinite time, it can move a mountain all by itself. In my case, I can run the equivalent of three separate careers (cartoonist, author, entrepreneur) in the same forty-hour week that would normally accommodate one job

On Happiness

Your attitude affects everything you do in your quest for success and happiness. A positive attitude is an important tool. It’s important to get it right. The best way to manage your attitude is by understanding your basic nature as a moist robot that can be programmed for happiness if you understand the user interface

On Attitude

Imagination is the interface to your attitude. You can literally imagine yourself to higher levels of energy.

The easiest way to manage your attitude is to consume as much feel-good entertainment as you can.

On The Big Picture

It’s smarter to see your big-idea projects as part of a system to improve your energy, contacts, and skills. From that viewpoint, if you have a big, interesting project in the works, you’re a winner every time you wake up.