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Dilbert: Business #1

The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions

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The creator of Dilbert, the fastest-growing comic strip in the nation (syndicated in nearly 1000 newspapers), takes a look at corporate America in all its glorious lunacy. Lavishly illustrated with Dilbert strips, these hilarious essays on incompetent bosses, management fads, bewildering technological changes and so much more, will make anyone who has ever worked in an office laugh out loud in recognition. The Dilbert Principle: The most ineffective workers will be systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage -- management.

Since 1989, Scott Adams has been illustrating this principle each day, lampooning the corporate world through Dilbert, his enormously popular comic strip. In Dilbert, the potato-shaped, abuse-absorbing hero of the strip, Adams has given voice to the millions of Americans buffeted by the many adversities of the workplace.

Now he takes the next step, attacking corporate culture head-on in this lighthearted series of essays. Packed with more than 100 hilarious cartoons, these 25 chapters explore the zeitgeist of ever-changing management trends, overbearing egos, management incompetence, bottomless bureaucracies, petrifying performance reviews, three-hour meetings, the confusion of the information superhighway and more. With sharp eyes, and an even sharper wit, Adams exposes -- and skewers -- the bizarre absurdities of everyday corporate life. Readers will be convinced that he must be spying on their bosses, The Dilbert Principle rings so true!

336 pages, Paperback

First published April 18, 1996

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About the author

Scott Adams

250 books1,175 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adams was born in Windham, New York in 1957 and received his Bachelor's degree in Economics from Hartwick College in 1979.

He also studied economics and management for his 1986 MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

In recent years, Adams has been hurt with a series of debilitating health problems. Since late 2004, he has suffered from a reemergence of his focal dystonia which has affected his drawing. He can fool his brain by drawing using a graphics tablet. On December 12, 2005, Adams announced on his blog that he also suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a condition that causes the vocal cords to behave in an abnormal manner. However, on October 24, 2006, he again blogged stating that he had recovered from this condition, although he is unsure if the recovery is permanent. He claims to have developed a method to work around the disorder and has been able to speak normally since. Also, on January 21, 2007, he posted a blog entry detailing his experiences with treatment by Dr. Morton Cooper.

Adams is also a trained hypnotist, as well as a vegetarian. (Mentioned in, "Dilbert: A Treasury of Sunday Strips 00).

He married Shelly Miles on July 22, 2006.

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Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,565 reviews1,888 followers
January 11, 2021
There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe that the world of business is rational and those who have experience of it.

Or as Scott Adams puts it in the first chapter of this loose collection of comic strips and emails from people about their jobs "No matter how absurd I try to make the comic strip I can't stay ahead of what people are experiencing in their own workplaces."

The downside of this book is that the emails would be funnier if they weren't true.

There's an article discussing Adams' emergence as a fan of US President Trump, who apparently he sees as the visionary mass communicator and transcendent mastermind of the early twenty-first century USA, of course once it has been mentioned it is uncanny how far Dogbert seems to be suspiciously similar to Trump - I am thinking of his habit of threatening to sue people (on specious grounds) to get his way, rather than his martial or sexual habits which as you might expect for a cartoon dog are above board and family friendly.
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,099 followers
February 18, 2015

The Dilbert Principle: A Q & A

This is not really a review. It is more of a collection of notes I made from the book while I got some respite from laughing my head off or scratching my head at the thought that some of this sarcasm is slung at me too.

To those of you who are unfortunate enough to be 'bosses', I would suggest that you give this book a miss: You might end up in chronic depression.

To get into the nuances of the book, here is a Q&A with my notes from the book and a few Dilbert illustrations (again from the book) representing Scott Adams:

The book opens with an instant classic: These days it seems like any idiot with a laptop computer can churn out a business book and make a few bucks. That's certainly what I'm hoping. It would be a real letdown if the trend changed before this masterpiece goes to print.

The Dilbert Principle: A Q&A

Q: Why is Business So Absurd?

A: The Dilbert Principle

Q: And that is?

A: The basic concept of The Dilbert Principle is that the most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management. This, Scott Adams says, has not proved to be the winning strategy that you might think. Then he spends the rest of the book detailing this out in hilarious fashion.

It seems as if we've turned nature's rules upside down. We systematically identify and promote the people who have the least skills. The usual business rationalization for promoting idiots (the Dilbert Principle in a nutshell) is something along the lines of "Well, he can't write code, he can't design a network, and he doesn't have any sales skill. But he has very good hair..."

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The fundamental way to ensure that business runs smoothly is Humiliation. There are many ways to achieve this and almost all aspects of business to ensure the hierarchy. Most of what follows deals with different ways to achieve this end result.

Q: What is Business Communication?

A: Any business school professor will tell you that the objective of business communication is the clear transfer of information. That's why professors rarely succeed in business. The real objective of business communication is to advance your career. That objective is generally at odds with the notion of "clear transfer of information."

Some of the Common Uses of Business Communication is:

Q: What is a Mission Statement?

A: It is defined as "a long awkward sentence that demonstrates management's inability to think clearly." All good companies have one.

The formulation of Mission and Vision statement cannot proceed without learning Jargon.

Q: So what is "Jargon"?

A: Jargon Illustrated: For example, a manager would never say, "I used my fork to eat a potato." A manager would say, "I utilized a multitined tool to process a starch resource." The two sentences mean almost the same thing, but the second one is obviously from a smarter person.

Q: How useful is 'Team Work'?

A: Stephen King writes very scary books. Shakespeare wrote several excellent plays. Unfortunately, they worked alone.* If only they had worked together there's no telling how much better the results would have been. That's the theory behind "group writing," and it's hard to find fault with the logic.

The next part of the book covers what is called "The Great Lies of Management"

Q: What lies do management tell me?

A: All assurances are lies, especially if your manager says good things will happen to you:

Q: What is The Myth of the Industry Average Salary?

A: This lie is appreciated by the employees. Unfortunately only one company in each industry can have the best employees. And you might be suspicious about the fact that your company pays the lowest salaries.

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Is it likely that the "best" employees would be drawn to your company despite the lower-than-average pay? Is it possible that there's a strange mental condition that makes some people brilliant at their jobs, yet unable to compare two salary numbers and determine which one is higher? Let's call these people "Occupational Savants." If they exist, what are the odds that they all decided to work at your company?

Q: Once shrewd communication and lies are not enough, where do we turn to get ahead in the business world? 

A: Machiavellian methods!

Adams assures us that this chapter contains many surefire tips for gaining wealth and personal power at the expense of people who are studying how to be team players. Naturally I have withheld my most effective tips so that I can crush you later if it's absolutely necessary, or if it just looks like fun. But what you find here should still be enough to brush aside the kindhearted dolts that litter your path to success.

PROVIDE BAD ADVICE & SHADE THE TRUTH is pretty much the essence. But, for the sake of clarity, a few more tips:

Q: How to appear smart?

A: Don't waste your time actually reading the Wall Street Journal. Many people subscribe to it, but nobody actually reads it. It's easier just to say, "Hey, did you see that article in the Journal yesterday?" and see what happens. If the other person says yes, he's bluffing too, so you can both give a hearty laugh about the insights of the article and leave it at that. II the other person indicates he did not read the article, give a condescending look and mutter, "It figures" before changing the subject.

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Q: How to give 'constructive criticism'?

A: Don't make the mistake of criticizing your co-workers to their faces. That will tip your hand and invite retaliation. The only constructive criticism is the kind you do behind people's backs.

Q: Should I go for Form over Substance?

A: The earth is populated by shallow and ignorant people. That's why form will always be more important than substance. You can waste your time complaining about how that should not be the case in a perfect world, or you can snap out of it and follow my advice.

Q: How to Look Busy at work?

A: Never walk down the hall without a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're heading for the cafeteria. People with the newspaper in their hands look like they're heading for the bathroom. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.

Q: How to choose your projects?

A: The worth of any project is based on how it will sound on your resume. Don't get caught up in the propaganda about how important something is for the stockholders. The stockholders are people you'll never meet. And since most projects fail or turn into something you never intended, the only lasting impact of your work is the impact on your resume. Keep your priorities straight.

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Q: How to build a resume / praise myself?

A: Observe:

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Q: What to do about Performance Reviews? 

A: Keep this in mind: (1) Your manager is probably too lazy to write your Performance Review without your "input".

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Q: How to get by in a workplace with minimum work?

A: Employee Strategies such as 'Telecommuting':

The office is designed for "work," not productivity. Work can be defined as "anything you'd rather not be doing." Productivity is a different matter. Telecommuting substitutes two hours of productivity for ten hours of work.

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Now you can spend time at home, sitting around in your pajamas, listening to your stereo, and playing with your hand puppet. If you feel generous and slam out two hours of productivity, it's more than you would have done in the office, so you can feel good about it.

Q: Should I be a constant Learner?

A: Consider this hypothetical situation: You're having a conversation with Albert Einstein and he suddenly gets struck by lightning. This freak accident makes him instantly twice as smart. Could you tell the difference?

Once a person is smarter than you, it doesn't matter if he's one percent smarter or one thousand percent smarter. You can't tell the difference. Don't waste your time acquiring a bunch of knowledge that will do nothing to elevate your perceived value.

Q: How to get your way in Meetings?

A: The Final Suggestion Maneuver: Follow these simple steps"

1. Let everybody else make moronic suggestions.

2. Stay uninvolved while the participants shred each other's suggestions like crisp cabbage in a Cuisinart. Watch as they develop intense personal dislikes that will last their entire careers.

3. Toward the end of the allotted meeting time, when patience is thin and bladders are full, offer your suggestion. Describe it as a logical result of the good thoughts you've heard at the meeting, no matter how ridiculous that might be.

Now Scott spends some time to dole out specific advice to people in different business functions:

Scott: I can speak with some authority on the subject of marketing because I once took a marketing class. Moreover, I have purchased many items.

The Hidden Secret of Marketing:

The most important market segment is known as the "Stupid Rich," so named because of their tendency to buy anything that's new regardless of the cost or usefulness. If you can sell enough units to the Stupid Rich, your production costs per unit will decrease. Then you can lower your prices and sell to the Stupid Poor—that's where the real volume is.

Q: Are Focus Groups useful?

A: Focus Groups are people who are selected on the basis of their inexplicable free time and their common love of free sandwiches. They are put in a room and led through a series of questions by a trained moderator. For many of these people it will be the first time they've ever been fed and listened to in the same day. This can cause some strange behavior. They will begin to complain vehemently about things that never really bothered them before. Then they will suggest product features that they would never buy.

Q: What is the deal with these MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS?

A: Consultants will hold a seemingly endless series of meetings to test various hypotheses and assumptions. These exercises are a vital step toward tricking managers into revealing the recommendation that is most likely to generate repeat consulting business.

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After the "correct" recommendation is discovered, it must be justified by a lengthy analysis. The consultants begin working like crazed beavers in a coffee lake. Reams of paper will disappear. You'll actually be able to hear the screams of old-growth forests dying as the consultants churn out page after page of backup charts and assumptions. The analysis will be cleverly designed to be as confusing as possible, thus discouraging any second- guessing by sniping staff members who are afraid of appearing dense.

Consultants will ultimately recommend that you do whatever you're not doing now. Centralize whatever is decentralized. Flatten whatever is vertical. Diversify whatever is concentrated and divest everything that is not "core" to the business. You'll hardly ever find a consultant who recommends that you keep everything the same and stop wasting money on consultants. And consultants will rarely deal with the root cause of your company's problems, since that's probably the person who hired them. Instead, they'll look for ways to improve the "strategy" and the "process."

Q: How to write a good BUSINESS PLAN?

A: First, assume that any positive trends will continue forever and any negative trends will turn around soon. Then run the numbers through a computer spreadsheet. The result is the future. (Later, if you turn out to be wrong, blame it on the global economy.)

It is never a good idea to be constrained by reality when you craft your assumptions for the business case. Reality is very unpopular and it is not fun to read.

Q: What are 'Engineers'?
Scott: "For the record, I'm not an engineer by training. But I spent ten years working with engineers and programmers in a variety of jobs. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming."

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Q: Why are most projects 'impossible' for them?

A: The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something like this:

RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people

REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance of risks and rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The best way to avoid risk is by advising that any activity is technically impossible for reasons that are far too complicated to explain. If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project, then the engineer will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's technically possible but it will cost too much." The quickest way to make a project uneconomical is by doubling the resources needed and using the cover story that you need to prevent failures.

Personal Anecdote on the MAGIC of DOWNSIZING

When the downsizing began it didn't hurt much. Instead of five non-value-added people we had four, then three, then eventually only me. I let everybody know that I was "doing the work of five people." I got no sympathy because everybody was "doing the work of five people" if you believed what you heard.

Eventually I left the job. For the past thirteen years, zero people have been doing the work of five people but there were no complaints. This was a fairly clear indication that downsizing had a future.

Q: So after criticizing the current way of doing things left right and center, does Scott Adams have a better alternative or is the whole book just one wild RANT?

A: Turns out that he does!

He calls it:


Short for "Out At 5" - An OA5 company isn't willing to settle for less productivity from the employees, just less time. The underlying assumptions for OA5 are:

- Happy employees are more productive and creative than unhappy ones.

- There's a limit to how much happiness you can get while you're at work. Big gains in happiness can only be made by spending more time away from work.

- The average person is only mentally productive a few hours a day no matter how many hours are "worked."

- People know how to compress their activities to fit a reduced time. Doing so increases both their energy and their interest. The payoff is direct and personal—they go home early.

Q: So what makes such an environment tick?

A: A company can't do much to stimulate happiness and creativity, but it can do a lot to kill them. The trick for the company is to stay out of the way. When companies try to encourage creativity it's like a bear dancing with an ant. Sooner or later the ant will realize it's a bad idea, although the bear might not.

Q: Do these little things matter?

A: Collectively all the little things create an environment that supports curiosity and learning. Imagine a job where after, you've screwed up your boss says "What did you learn?" instead of "What the hell were you thinking?". Be efficient in the little things. For example, rather than have some Byzantine process for doling out office supplies, add $25 a month to each employees paycheck as a "supply stipend" and let employees buy whatever they need from their local store. If they spend less, they keep the difference.

Q: Any last statements?

A: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

If you are not improving the product or interacting with customers you are worthless.

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: The good thing about dolts is that they can be easily duped. I'll address that issue in more detail in the sequel to this book, titled Hey, Why'd I Buy Another One of These Books?
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,255 reviews2,297 followers
May 25, 2016
I have worked in Engineering Consultancy organisations since 1993. Now I will let Dilbert speak for me.

And finally, with apologies to the memory of Dian Fossey.

Profile Image for Preston Kutney.
219 reviews29 followers
September 23, 2015
Clever satire of corporate office culture. I think we are in the decline of the "Office Space" era, and I don't really harbor any resentment towards my own corporation (though I do sit in a drab cubicle) but this remains a must-read for any disaffected employee of a large company. I had more than a few hearty laughs here.
Profile Image for Tomislav.
1,001 reviews69 followers
February 13, 2022
The comments were written back in 2008, when I read the book.

The Dilbert Principle: The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage - Management.

I think the satire is getting a little dated, and I have seen many of these strips before. But still, it hits way too close to home.

My favorite chapter is the one about the personality type of engineers and scientists. I read one of the strips to my 18yo college student daughter. A little while later, I reenacted it using one of our cell phones to call our house phone, and when it rang, I called out "Could you please get that?". She let it ring through to the answering machine to make sure it wasn't one of her so-called friends that she didn't want to talk to. Finally, she listened closely and heard my voice coming out of the speaker - "Fool! I have autodialing!". If you don't think that's funny, then you are just not engineering material.
Profile Image for Nicholas Nash.
Author 1 book167 followers
December 28, 2016
I read this book when I first started working. I've been cynical since and try to see through all the workplace madness right away. This book is incredibly funny and, I must say, every bit true. If you're slogging away in a cubicle, don't feel bad. This book will make you feel better. Know that you are not alone!
Profile Image for Carol.
1,218 reviews
July 6, 2019
If you've worked for a company, for any period of time, chances are you'll be able to identify a lot of these funny situations and people. Because we have all worked for a crazy boss one, we've all been in a cubicle at least once, and we've all seen Quality Teams at least once in companies. I know I have, and boy, are they the same as in Dilbert.
I mean, thank goodness, I've never had everything happening all at once. Is either just one or two that stand out more than others. Still, when you got that point when you can say "God, this Dilbert moment just happened at work" that's when it gets hilarious. And even though he is portraying the lunacy of American corporates, it's impressive how well it travels across countries. Corporates aren't really that different, neither are managers.
This is a wonderful comedy book about office life and how that little system works. It's true (some more than others), and it also lets you see you could be far worse. I declare myself a Dilbert fan.
Profile Image for Doc Opp.
448 reviews200 followers
May 19, 2008
From about 2002-2007, I believe the Daily Show gave the most hard hitting and reliable news on TV. The reason was because the mainstream media was afraid to go against the zeitgeist of the patriotic anti-terror hawkish government policies. The Daily Show, being a humor show, could say whatever the heck it felt like safe behind the armor of freedom of expression and comedy. So, John Stewart poked holes in ridiculous policy, and was one of the few places with reasonable analysis of global affairs.

The Dilbert Principle is similarly unconstrained. Through the lens of comedy it is able to explore the inane nature of corporate America, to give one of the most incisive and insightful critiques of corporations I have read recently. (No, I don't think of Chomsky or Nader as particularly insightful). Despite the fact that its a humor book, its probably the most useful analysis of how to create productive corporate culture that I've come across. It also had me laughing out loud frequently, which is a nice bonus.

The only down side is that it goes on a bit long, and some of the topics it lambasts in the latter sections I'm not familiar with, so it wasn't all that interesting (e.g. ISO-9000). The AO5 model that Adams puts forth in the final chapter is a very interesting proposal, and I can't help but wonder if its actually the basis for the google corporate culture.

Long story short: anybody thinking of starting a business ought to read this. Its got good advice and comics. What is there not to like?
Profile Image for Rob.
Author 2 books383 followers
August 11, 2007
I got into the Dilbert comics sometime during high school. I was working part-time in the head office of a construction company, alphabetizing invoices and de-stapling paperwork. Gimpy stuff. "Office bitch" type stuff. The hours and pay were good though and my boss looked almost exactly like the Dilbert Boss -- but with a mustache and without being an idiot. Just the same, everyday's three panel strip clearly illustrated some incident that had recently occurred.

This book was given to me somewhere during that time period and was then consumed in asynchronous chunks, usually while on the toilet. In my mind, it remains a philosophical gem that (for better or worse) illuminates and updates all of the same points that Machiavelli was making hundreds of years ago. But Adams includes pictures.

What this book is: an excellent companion piece to Microserfs by Douglas Coupland.

What this book is not: a collection of comic strips a la Calvin and Hobbes or The Far Side Gallery etc.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
June 7, 2013
Writing comedic prose is tough. Even professional comedians fail at it most of the time. And I would imagine that writing comic strips is even tougher, based on the fact that DILBERT, THE FAR SIDE and CALVIN AND HOBBES are the only good ones that immediately spring to mind. In THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE, Scott Adams succeeds admirably at both. Yes, the DILBERT comic strips are funnier than his prose--but not by so great a margin as you'd naturally expect. Adams obviously put a lot of thought into this book, and it shows. Of course, there are plenty of missteps. Jokes occasionally fall flat on their face. If you try to read the book within too short a time frame, the humor will start to feel tired and repetitive, especially since the book is way longer than it should be. But, if you can ration it out to yourself bit-by-bit, THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE should put a smile on your face with every page.
Profile Image for Lora.
656 reviews24 followers
September 26, 2016
Dilbert was a favorite of my late husband, and I read this book in small portions over the course of a year. It brought me back to my days in the work force, for example United Way campaigns, downsizing and leaders that compare employees making mistakes with doctors dropping babies on their heads (employees at the insurance company I worked for actually got a memo from upper management on that!).

The book includes both cartoons, text and real-life anecdotes that readers sent Scott Adams. Adams is just as good at writing as drawing comics. In fact, I marked more of his text than his cartoons. He makes funny comments, for example "a project that went down harder than a drunken ninety year-old woman with a broken hip [and you're sitting in a meeting getting your face rubbed] in the fiscal entrails." He also makes sensible observations and has a common-sense approach to business that more people should listen to.

Profile Image for Ed.
879 reviews116 followers
March 7, 2011
This is the second time I've read this book. The first time, I went through it very fast. This time I savored its wisdom.

Anyone who has ever worked in a corporation will relate to both the essays and the unforgettable cartoons. I particularly enjoy Dogbert, the heartless H.R. manager. Having worked in H.R. for a number of years, I have stories similar to Adams' comic strips.

The hypocrisy of a great percentage of managers is illuminated in the chapter on "Great Lies of Management". I'm sure most managers want to believe the things he mentions but unfortunately they don't want to act accordingly, especially when the pressure is on.

This book is a a lot of fun to read, except when it hurts, mainly when my own failings as a manager are made the object of Adams' satire.
Profile Image for Felicia.
462 reviews12 followers
January 15, 2015
"When companies try to encourage creativity it's like a bear dancing with an ant. Sooner or later the ant will realize it's a bad idea, although the bear may not."

As usual, Scott Adams is spot on about business life. It's bizarre that this book is almost 20 years old and the same old management fads, catch phrases and general b.s. are still in play today. It's amazing that any businesses manage to be successful.
Profile Image for Sandra.
305 reviews
November 24, 2019
I used to think this comic was incredibly boring.... but now that I have an office job too, I see the appeal.

"Companies use a lot of energy trying to increase employee satisfaction. That's very nice of them, but let's face it - work sucks. If people liked work they'd do it for free. The reason we have to pay people to work is that work is inherently unpleasant compared to the alternatives."
Profile Image for Swati.
2 reviews1 follower
February 13, 2017
Funny exaggeration of the corporate life. I liked the chapter about Marketing. One thing is clear, the author really hates cubicles.
Profile Image for Alimanzoor.
63 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2022
Throughout the book, Adams throws a lot of corporate comic-bits that would entertain and/or enlighten you. The corporate environment he depicts predominantly includes ‘the management’.

If you are into corporate culture, you may appreciate most of the generally accepted corporate terminologies Adams destroys in his rant for different meaning on leadership, strategy, management, efficiency, teamwork, downsizing etc.

A witty comic read - for sure, The Dilbert Principle is so funny.
Profile Image for Jorge Rosas.
517 reviews30 followers
March 29, 2019
Fun and with a lot of sarcasm regarding the office life, managers and engineering, it is a real representation on what many managers and decision makers do instead of what they’re supposed to be doing, the self interest drives them to take annoying and catastrophic decisions. Also, it has good collection of comics that makes it even more enjoyable.
Profile Image for Tom Schulte.
2,981 reviews58 followers
March 19, 2018
I pulled this off the shelf thinking it was merely a compendium of Dilbert cartoons. It is a much more involved exegesis of the The Dilbert Principle in action and the apathy and rage when "companies tend to systematically promote their least competent employees to management (generally middle management), to limit the amount of damage they are capable of doing." Bolstered by anonymized emails from the field, it is at times as saddening and painful as it is funny. This stuff is all too true. Unfortunately, many of the strips are reproduced too small to be easily read.
Profile Image for Mark.
219 reviews2 followers
June 7, 2019
Whenever I read the comics I make sure that I read Dilbert. It is the funniest and most observant comic strip published today. Dilbert's creator and author of this book is clearly a smart guy. His many years in the business sector has lent him a particular acumen for pointing out ridiculous things that happen in office settings. He continues that trend of witty humor in "The Dilbert Principle". I enjoyed reading this book. It's thesis is that "We are all idiots" which is true. At one point or another everyone does something dumb that can then be made funny in a comic strip such as Dilbert. That is essentially what Scott Adams does in this book. He expertly combines Dilbert comic strips, personal anecdotes, and emails from disgruntled Dilbert readers to make this book. The comic strips often explain the point Adams is trying to convey. It may, at times, feel like he is copying-and-pasting comics to fill the pages. This may be true, but for the vast majority of its' usage Dilbert speaks for itself. Adam's stories about his life in cubicles, as is the entire book, are laced with sarcasm and mock advice. The emails from Dilbert readers is a clever addition as well. Their stories about the absurdity of managers and business polices seem like they are straight out of Dilbert. I'm not sure if authors today would use emails in this format. It's not outdated- I guess at the time emails seemed like a bigger deal. Either way I appreciated actually reading from fans of the series. Overall, a fun read.
Profile Image for Peter Timson.
221 reviews
August 14, 2018
Brilliant and still so apt. A must read even if it is just to broaden one's education/view on life. A business classic really, even taken up by the BBC's "In Business" programme.
Profile Image for Anne.
222 reviews
December 29, 2020
Loved the emails that Scott Adams gets. No matter where you work there's a bit of crazy.
February 28, 2023
Um dos livros mais inteligentes sobre negócios que eu já li. Muitas reflexões no meio de humor, ironias e sarcasmos.
Profile Image for Swapnil Agarwal.
156 reviews15 followers
December 13, 2022
It’s funny because it’s true. Understanding this is a rite of passage. You’ll also find management lessons in there.
Profile Image for Ioana.
155 reviews
June 30, 2020
1996 - A reminder to keep function above appearance

A critique of the workforce while making total abstraction of the immense pool of employee stupidity? What have the romans ever done for us?

Extra star for keeping it real on ISO worthlessness (standardization -process described for better or worse in those extra long guidelines that no one reads- IS essential and traces back to ancient times when folks had to be on the same page when the need to weigh goods arose and who knows what other quarrels had to be addressed. Today, standardization is widespread and necessary, because you can't have production without it. ISO is rather worthless because many companies implement it to attract customers rather than seriously considering an extra layer of process optimization/ risk assessment. Plus, no matter how different generic management practice ISO is from, say - ISO in the food industry or financial audits, it holds true that auditors are most of the time financially endorsed by the companies they audit. That there's a group in the middle (whether it's TUV or Deloitte or KPMG doesn't make that much of a difference).

A manager would never say, “I used my fork to eat a potato.” A manager would say, “I utilized a multitined tool to process a starch resource.”
The two sentences mean almost the same thing but the second one is obviously from a smarter person.’

On second thought, one more star because of this adept thought: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/vid.... Adams can be insightful, but not so much comes through in long-form content.

Update. I'll take the star back: https://www.rt.com/usa/493300-scott-a.... Really, there's only so much Dilbert you can watch. The daily strips are good, but man, the cartoon show wasn't THAT great.
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974 reviews1,290 followers
August 5, 2014
Pretty hilarious! i couldn't erase the smile on my face during reading such a hilarious book.. even sometimes i burst into laughter and people around me was wandering whether i'm crazy or something!

the book contains the management deficiencies that scott has experienced himself during his career as an employee in big companies.
even though it may seem exaggerated sometimes for some people but for people working in the engineering field it'll definitely be their "day-to-day" routine! so if you're an engineer you'll totally be able to relate to every word in the book!

even scott himself said he's astonished that in his comics he created very weird characters doing very absurd things (i.e. cat in the chair of the HR manager torturing people in hell and trolls in accounting living like the evil witch in The Wizard of Oz!) but people don't notice that absurdity instead their attention gets drawn to the situations itself and they ACTUALLY relate to them!

The funniest chapter ever was the fourteenth chapter, the one talking about engineers. I never laughed from a book in my entire life as much as i laughed from that chapter! the stereotyping of the geeky nerdy engineer is very hilarious nevertheless true! well actually i don't know if that should have made me laugh or cry! but it made me laugh whatsoever!

one of the funniest books i've ever read written by one of the funniest people on the planet who created the funniest cartoon character ever!

Totally recommended for a good laugh!
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