Book review: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big
Over last fortnight I happened to read a fantastic book by Scott Adams – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
This book has so much wisdom that I would recommend you to read at least once every year or two, moreover Scott has kept narrative so simple and contextual that you don’t lose interest . The book covers a variety of topics – Success factors , Ability to learn from failures , Grit , Affirmations, Right diet, Career Advice , Skills to acquire and so on and so forth. I will try to elucidate on themes that nudged me in my first read.
Become system oriented rather than goal oriented – The idea that one should have a system instead of a goals. How these two are different for example
System: Remaining healthy by doing daily exercise is a system
Goal : Planning to lose 20 pounds in next 6 months is goal
Why one is better than other
Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous presuccess failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system. That’s a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction
Be a learning machine – This is a recurring theme in every successful person story that I have read on be it Elon Musk , Charlie Munger , Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rahul Dravid. Every new skill we learn doubles our chances of succeeding in life. Scott Adams himself applied for every single training that his company had to offer during his corporate career
I would take as many company-paid training classes as I could and learn all there was to know about business from a banking perspective
When it comes to skills, quantity often beats quality.
Work – Fail – Work (learn from mistakes) – Scott had ventured into multiple ventures and he failed at most of them but today he is one of the most famous cartoonist in the world. Why did that happen ? the reason is he kept learning from his failures and kept trying things. He not only learned from his failures but cherished them.
You might say I have a day job, How do I try things ? The answer is Get up before everyone else
First sixteen years of my corporate life. So I did the next best thing by going to bed early and getting up at 4:00 A.M. to do my creative side projects. One of those projects became the sketches for Dilbert. You might not think you’re an early-morning person. I didn’t think I was either. But once you get used to it, you might never want to go back. You can accomplish more by the time other people wake up than most people accomplish all day.
My personal take is if you love what you’re doing getting up or staying late would be easy. I still remembers in our teens my brother and I used to get up at 3:30 am to be on time for 5:30 am cricket match on a Sunday after going to school for 6 days. It was effortless for us through out the season.
Skills everyone should aspire to gain during their lifetime
- Public speaking
- Business writing
- Design (the basics)
- Conversation Overcoming shyness
- Second language
- Proper grammar
- Technology (hobby level)
- Proper voice technique
The above skills will go a long way to improve your chances of success in career, relationships and life in general
Power of positive mental talk
Positivity is far more than a mental preference. It changes your brain, literally, and it changes the people around you. It’s the nearest thing we have to magic.
A single positive thought can kill 10 negative thoughts. let’s try it out, pause for a moment look up an smile … This very forced smile will make you happy. Scott Adams got rid two never before cured diseases with power of positive mental talks
Exercise and eat right
If you had to take one message from this book then it would be to exercise daily, make it a habit so that you don’t have to use your will power to get into an activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Exercise has so many emotional and physical benefits.
Reduce white carbohydrates and fried food from your diet and eat as much as you like healthy food* – Bananas Protein bars Peanuts Mixed nuts Cheese Whole wheat pasta Edamame (soybeans) Broccoli Cauliflower Brussels sprouts Fish Lettuce Tomatoes Apples Pears Carrots Radishes
First fix your diet before exercise
diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps.
*Check with your doctor neither Scott is doc nor I
Work toward a flexible schedule – Find a boss who values your productivity over your attendance. Flexible schedule is one of five big factors for happiness
Finally here is the magic formula
The formula – No one wants to believe that the formula for happiness is as simple as daydreaming, controlling your schedule, napping, eating right, and being active every day.