Book Summary - How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

creation date: 2014-03-17, latest update: 2017-11-26

Gist Summary

  1. Optimize Personal Energy by
    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Sleep
  2. Optimize Personal luck (success) by
    • Move from strategies with bad odds to ones with good odds
    • Stay in a game long enough for luck to find you
  3. Optimize your happiness chance by
    • Being Healthy
    • Have resources
    • Have flexible schedule

Fail-toward-success tactics

  1. Goals are for losers. Use Systems.
  2. Your mind isn't magic. It's an organic computer you can (sort of) program.
  3. The most important metric to track is your personal energy.
  4. Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.
  5. Happiness is health plus freedom.
  6. Luck can be managed, sort of.
  7. Conquer shyness by being a huge phony (in a good way).
  8. Fitness is the lever that moves the world.
  9. Simplicity transform ordinary into amazing.

The 6 Filters for Truth

(Commonly what we do given constraint)

  1. Personal experience (biased)
  2. Experience of people you know (more bias)
  3. Experts (They work for money, not for truth)
  4. Scientific studies (correlation not causation)
  5. Common sense (works until it's wrong)
  6. Pattern recognition (Patterns, coincidence,  and personal bias look alike)

That's why you should try to use different sources and hope that it rules out random noise once combined.

Look for consistency in answers. Multiple models by Charlie Munger.

Failure as tool to get information

Failure always brings something valuable with it. Don't let it leave until you extract that value. Mug the shit out of it.

Goal vs System

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.

This is partly semantics, but it's helpful to think this way. Same as career capital.

It's roughly more like a single point of success vs daily practices to get there.

However, a daily practice can help you reach multiple goals. That's a good side effect. Be flexible, do pivot if reasonable.

Deciding vs Wanting Success

Wishing starts in the mind, and usually stays there. If want to achieve success, figure out the price, then pay it.

You have permission to put your self-interest first, charity second

The most important form of self-interest involves

CH11: Maximized your Energy

We humans want many things: good health, financial freedom, accomplishment, a great social life, love, sex, recreation, travel, family, career, and more.

The way I approach the problem of multiple priorities is by focusing on just one main metric: my energy.

I make choices that maximize my personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities.

Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps.

But it also means having something in my life that makes me excited to wake up.

One example: During my corporate days, I always had one or two side projects going on that had the potential to set me free.

For years, the prospect of starting “my own thing” and leaving my cubicle behind gave me an enormous amount of energy.

Tricks for getting most energy

  1. Match creative work to time of day
  2. Be simplifying instead of optimising -- allow some time buffer for less stress
  3. Place matching -- Bed only for sleeping, Desk for work, couch for games
  4. Keep things Tidy - mentally clear
  5. Don't be scared of lack of knowledge of "how to do something" - 90% Can be solved by Google and the 10% by asking other people
  6. Don't be an asshole
  7. Set the right priorities
    1. Your health
    2. Your economics (money, career)
    3. Family and friends
    4. Local community, country, the world

*CH12: The Right Attitudes*