Starting Note: The other day I mentioned there are some ideas that, by their nature, can’t be communicated. Today’s post will be a good example of an exception that proves the rule. In today’s post I will embrace a risk of embarrassment that folks with a normal sense of shame would avoid. By the end of this post, three-quarters of you will have a new reason to dislike me. But I didn’t know a better way to convey some potentially useful information. Luckily, I lost my sense of shame years ago. So here you go. The embarrassing parts are at the end.
Now to the actual post…
[You can skip most of this if you have read my latest book]
I know my readers. You’re smart and you see no reason to buy a hardcover book that will be less expensive in a year when the paperback is released. After all, it’s not as if you will run out of books to read between now and then. (That’s almost exactly what many of you told me.)
You were also cautious about a book from me on a topic that is way out of my normal strike zone. That caution was smart too.
And when you heard that the book included one chapter each on diet and fitness, you probably wondered what I could possibly add to that conversation. So you took a wait-and-see attitude. That was exactly the right play. I would have done the same.
Your waiting also allowed you to see all the reviews from early readers. If you haven’t seen the reviews, these are some quotes from Amazon reviewers, organized by type:
People Who Are Surprised I Don’t Suck:
This book might surprise some people … It is probably the best use of time and money I can think of right now.
This book inspired me to do new things. I was not expecting this from Scott Adams.
This book was so much more than I expected … Readable, enjoyable, inspirational, informative, practical,
educational and most importantly entertaining!
I read The Dilbert Principle some years ago and found it very entertaining. I was expecting the same from this book and was surprised at how good it actually is
Full of lots of surprisingly great insight and advice, written by a witty writer who has failed his way to success!
I bought the book because I like his writing, and I even ended up learning some things, too!
I bought it because I enjoyed Dilbert, but have found it a lot more useful than I expected a cartoonist’s
book on success would be.
…fantastic book. much MUCH better than I expected, frankly… chock full of wisdom and wit. Will be
having my clients read!
Don’t judge a book by its type! …really feel like reading this book has already begun to change my life!
I think when I bought it I was really expecting some kind of goofy, comedic type of work. But it turned
out to have some prescient information about achieving success in life.
The book packed in more info than I was expecting and so I am off to read it again as it was so valuable.
People Who Found It Useful
Keep your highlighter handy for this one!
I’m not given to outlining books with a bullet list to consult later, but I did with this book. Excellent!
I enjoyed this book so much that I might read it again and take some notes.
This is going in the library and the “give to a client in need” box.
The most useful book I’ve read for a long time.
I learned so many common sense things that my life would have been a little easier if I had
this book 20 years ago.
This book has become a part of my permanent collection. I have read it twice, partly because
of the information and partly because of its message of encouragement.
People Who Think It is Best of Breed
This is my favorite book in the self-help/business philosophy section.
The best book I read this year. Strongly recommended!
Absolutely the best business/work self-help book I have ever read.
You will benefit greatly from reading this book. It’s the best book I’ve read in a long time.
I’ve read a lot of success books and this is really the top.
I’m an avid reader of business books and this is one of the easiest and most informative
books of this kind I’ve read in a while.
I’ve read a lot of self-help books but this is just about the best one ever.
Solid advice, and woven into a far better narrative than other self-help books can offer.
I’d give it six stars if possible – the extra star for how well – and humorously – it’s written
This has to be the best self-help book I have read. Frank, forthright and practical, it simply
tells you what to do and what to realistically expect.
This is one of the best books I have read in years. There is so much information to improve
your life and career that if you glean just a smidgen it will be worth you reading.
… the best book of this year so far
This is now in my all-time list of useful books.
People Who Want to Give it as a Gift
This is one of those books I’ll be buying all my business buddies.
It will be my new gift to give to my friends.
I have purchased 3 copies of this book, one for my 21 year old son and another for a good friend.
I’m sending gift copies to a slew of friends.
I would like to say I will give this as a gift to young people as a guide for living their lives, but
presently the people who come to my mind who could use it the most are middle-aged.
Wish I had read something like it fifty years ago. It could have given me a much better road map
for my life. Plan to give a copy to my son and grandson.
…bought it for myself, read it, and then bought it for my brother.
This is my new graduation or entering senior year gift for anyone I would normally buy that type of gift for.
I have agreed to purchase this book for my three children and my six grandchildren. It should be a
required reading in all schools-seriously!
People Who Were Changed by It
You will surely be a different person after you read it … thanks Scott for a nice book …
One of my favorites for this year
This might be one of the strangest, yet at the same time most helpful, books that I have ever read.
To me, the great achievement of “How to Fail at Almost Everything” is the sly and gradual undermining
of traditional view of “success”.
Some books have a great impact. This one came at the right time for me.
This book changed my life, my diet, and inspired me to hack my routine even more!
I’m definitely re-reading the book. I have already put some of his theories … to the test and
am happy with the results so far.
For me it was a paradigm shift. [I almost didn’t use this on because of “paradigm” — Scott]
Really great book. Made me think about things differently.
Thanks to your clever strategy of not buying the hardcover version of the book, you now see
that two-thirds of readers gave the book five-stars reviews and found it useful. It earned the
best reviews of anything I have produced in any field.
And the paperback version just landed.
If you feel tempted to read it, this is a good time to see what all the fuss is about and save some money. Your wait-and-see strategy worked. Well played.
I have one more piece of unfinished business, and this comes with personal risk. In my view – and I hope you agree – any authors talking about diet and fitness should show their work. And so I will show mine. Here is a selfie of me at age 57, taken the other day. I cropped off my head because that’s the ugly part.
I got this way gradually, over about ten years, by replacing willpower (which always failed) with knowledge. Now I eat everything I want whenever I want. I lost 28 pounds over time by eliminating my cravings in a simple, systematic way. The reason I can eat anything I want is that I no longer crave bad food. And healthy food is self-regulating in the sense that you rarely eat too much broccoli even if you like it.
None of this gain was possible even five years ago because science had so many things wrong about diet. I did what science told me to do twenty years ago and I slowly gained from about 135 pounds to 168 lbs. Once science started to get things right (I assume), I once again followed their lead and my body transformed back to about 140 pounds but with higher muscle content. I never looked remotely like this at a younger age. And it was effortless in the sense that I didn’t suffer and I didn’t need any real willpower.
I work out, obviously. But I never overdo it, which is an important part of my system as explained in the book. I do thirty minutes of light weights and thirty minutes of light cardio at most. I attempt to exercise daily and succeed about six days a week. Sometimes the exercise is just a long walk. I mix it up. I’ve never had a personal trainer.
In the old days I had to muster a lot of willpower to exercise. But thanks to my knowledge about the science of habits, I trained myself like Pavlov’s dogs to look forward to it. I only exercise enough to feel good. Then I reward myself with a tasty protein shake and some downtime. If you don’t look forward to exercise, you might be interested in how to rewire yourself in a similar fashion over time. It isn’t much harder than hearing some new things for the first time. The change happens almost on its own.
Just to be crystal clear, I have no reason to believe my system will work for you. We’re all different, and that’s why I don’t believe in generic broadcasting of “advice.” But I guarantee my approach is different from what you have been exposed to. If what you are doing isn’t working, you might want to include my system on your short list of what to try next.
Back to my original point about information that can’t be communicated – I didn’t think I could make a credible point about diet and exercise systems without showing my work. And doing so in this context is uber-douche-baggy and lives forever on the Internet. I’ll take that hit because the people who have read my book think it’s worth sharing and I agree. I’m comfortable with how the photo looks but I realize many will judge me for showing it. The Internet is unkind to old guys without shirts. Whatever.
Thanks for putting up with me. I mean well.
Scott AdamsCo-founder of CalendarTree.com
Twitter Dilbert: @Dilbert_Daily
Twitter for Scott: @ScottAdamsSays