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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life - Dilbert Blog

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

My new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, is released today in the United States.

I think it’s my best work, and I have you blog readers to thank for that. Allow me to explain.

For years people have been asking me why I blog. At one point, blogging was taking about half of my work time while providing only 5% of my income. My wife and my friends asked “What is your goal in blogging?”

I don’t do goals. I do systems. (That’s a theme of the book.)

In this case, my system involved publicly experimenting with a variety of writing styles and topics and closely monitoring the reactions of readers. I was honing my writing skills and my understanding of the reading public. I didn’t have a specific goal. I was aiming for “better.”

I reasoned that my system would generate good opportunities for me in ways I couldn’t predict with any precision. That’s what makes it a system and not a goal. I was simply improving my odds that something good would happen. I just didn’t know when it might happen or in what form it would come.

Blogging also charges me up. I like the interaction, the angry villagers with torches and pitchforks, and the possibility of saying something useful. It is one part of my overall system for keeping my personal energy high. It also keeps my mind sharp.

Several years into my system, it seems to be working. My blogging prompted the Wall Street Journal to ask me to write some guest articles for them. Those articles did well, in large part because the topics and the approach had been pretested in rough form here. I knew exactly which topics and writing styles would resonate with readers because of your comments and votes.

A combination of my blogging plus the exposure in the Wall Street Journal attracted a variety of fascinating and attractive business offers. One of those offers turned into the book that launched today.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is a sort of unified field theory for my observations on what works and what doesn’t in the game of life. It’s not advice per se, because as you know, taking advice from cartoonists is generally a bad idea. So I call it information, not advice.

Before you embark on anything important in your life, the first thing you will do – if it is available to you – is ask someone who travelled a similar path what they did and how it turned out. You won’t follow that same plan, but it gives you a good starting place and a point of comparison. That can be worth a lot.

I’m in the middle of my promotional swing for the book. I just returned from a series of interviews in Los Angeles. The early reactions to this book are quite exciting. Not counting the Dilbert reprint books, I’ve written eight regular books. Only two of them got the kind of reaction I saw this week, and those were by far my most popular books. (The Dilbert Principle and God’s Debris.)

Now I’m going to ask a favor. I wrote How to Fail to be helpful and not just entertaining. And to be helpful, people need to know it exists. If you were planning to buy it anyway, it makes a big difference if you do it soon because that’s what pushes it onto the bestseller list and gives it a buzz.

I’m fairly sure you’ll like it. After all, you helped write it.

Thank you in advance.

Here’s a link.