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The little engine that could, and what happens when he can't.
am 23. September 2015
Scott Adams used to believe that by writing one's goals 15 times a day, you would magically achieve them ("The Dilbert Future", 1998, p. 246). Now he claims that "Goals are for losers; systems are for winners". What happened to his belief in "written affirmations"?
Anyway, while his new beliefs make more sense than the old ones, they are not original. Adams recommends adopting good working habit, keeping fit, learning from setbacks, not getting discouraged too early but also being ready to let go, blah, blah, blah...
Overall, reading his book made me think of the children's book, "The Little Engine that Could". I think that one can summarize the "philosophy" of Scott Adams as little more than "if you repeat yourself often enough that you will succeed, then you will succeed", with the very useful and convenient complement "and if you fail, then keep on going".
This belief in failures as "little more than a speed bump on the road to success" is very commonplace. "Embrace failure" is the belief of many entrepreneurs and is part of the American business culture since the time of the pioneers.
Those who already believe in the power of a "can do" attitude will enjoy this book. It will give them renewed faith in the gospel of success. Those who are looking for something a bit deeper will be disappointed. The author never really confronts the idea that one can actually fail at something and be responsible for it and not gain anything by it.
Scott Adams also never explains what it means for him to be succesful. One is left wondering what success means for him. In the absence of further elaboration, he seems to have a very trite vision of success: being rich, famous, entrepreneurial and well-connected. What drives his relentless activity is left unexplored.
In summary, a superficial but pleasantly written book, and a good updated summary of current platitudes on the themes of success and of the good life in the capitalistic Americano-centric sense of the term.