Regular reader Phantom raised an interesting question: How do I know I've ever written or said anything that made a positive difference in anyone's life? Did anyone ever get richer, happier, or healthier because of anything I ever wrote? How would I know?

Over the years people have thanked me on a surprisingly regular basis, usually by email, for inspiring them to one sort of success or another. Usually it's based on something I wrote in a book, newspaper article, or in this blog. Sometimes it's because of a speech I gave somewhere. But I figure everyone in the public eye gets those sorts of thank-you messages. I assume the local TV weatherman gets email every day from viewers thanking him for giving them the courage to carry on no matter the weather. So I discount my personal experience as relevant to answering the question of whether I've ever done anything useful. I'm a biased observer and I can't trust those suspiciously thankful strangers. I need better data.

So I thought I'd put the question to you. Has anything I've ever written had a positive impact on your life beyond the momentary entertainment of consuming it? I'm looking for something bigger than it "put me in a good mood" or "made me think in a different way."

I'm asking if you've ever tried something you wouldn't have otherwise tried, and it worked out well, because of something I said or wrote.

This is clearly not scientific, but if there's no trace of benefit in the group that follows this blog, I wouldn't expect a better result in the general public.

If signing up to comment here is a pain, you can email me at dilbertcartoonist@gmail.com. I'm the only person who sees that account.


An entertaining preview of my new book's content in a slideshow is here.



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Feb 10, 2014
How are you not a nihilist? What does it matter that anything good or bad happens?
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 24, 2014
Your insights into manipulating one's own mood and that of surrounding others (hypnosis) has been invaluable. The power of (positive) suggestion is an amazing thing, and based on your results, I've used it in my own life and with friends and family, and I've enjoyed more success than I could ever have expected. Apparently subtle but totally life changing.

I have also walked through atheism with you and shaken off all the detritus of a strict Catholic upbringing. Clearing out those old superstitions and cobwebs has also been life-changing: imagine being brought up in an environment of "you're doomed and will never amount to anything, so feel as guilty as you possibly can all the time" to "ah ... blissful intellectual and emotional freedom!"

I am a better person because of your existence, and the people around me do better because I am better.
Jan 24, 2014
[I'm asking if you've ever tried something you wouldn't have otherwise tried, and it worked out well, because of something I said or wrote.]

Compliments. I learned the power of compliments from you. I tried it. It worked out well.

I am not writing all the other gains and learnings since your question is very specific.
Jan 23, 2014
I agree with Benoit Pablo. The impact of Dilbert, especially the way that Time Magazine seized on it as though it were an example of what actual work is like, made me quite anticapitalist. One reason I went for a no-education-required factory job right out of college is that I was so pleasantly surprised it wasn't at all like Dilbert. But many jobs aren't.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 23, 2014
Maybe it's an overstatement, but I think you definitively had a hand in saving my marriage with the blog entry "relationship advice: who has a right in a fight?" or something like that, where you hypothesised that the one who feels stronger on the subject of fight is the one who is right. You also said that you're aware that means that 90-95% of being right will go to women, while 5-10% to men. That was a stroke of genius and true to the core.

Is that advice in your new book as well?
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 23, 2014
I subscribe to your happiness formula and apply to my life and life outlook.

I had also never heard of written affirmations before I followed your blog. Now I use them regularly.
Jan 23, 2014
I used your "affirmation" idea after being unemployed for an extended period of time. While I can't say it specifically helped, I did find a position I really enjoy not long afterwards. Of course, I'm wasting time at that job right now typing this so I better watch out or I will need a new affirmation!
Jan 23, 2014
I have thanked you by e-mail for freeing me from The Matrix. I send you e-mails occassionally showing humans are really moist robots.

And I tried going to your restaurant as a way to say thanks and support you, but you no longer owned the restaurant.

I have definitely let you know that I appreciate you and what you have done for me.
Jan 23, 2014
Secret favor.

Used it successfully several times and shared it among colleagues as technique/discussion point.
Jan 23, 2014
Sorry for the double post. I have another question. How do you even start finding someone who will protect you legally? I worry that simple copyright isn't enough...

[Simple copyright is enough. And you can do that yourself on the Internet. Just Google it and the U.S. website for copyright filings will pop up with instructions. It's very easy. -- Scott]
Jan 23, 2014
Erm, Watterson. My apologies.
Jan 23, 2014
Erm, Watterson. My apologies.
Jan 23, 2014
Dear Mr. Adams,

As a child in the 1st-6th grade I would tell my teachers and my friends that I wanted to be a cartoonist. I must admit that this was mostly because of Bill Waterson and "Calvin and Hobbes", but stay with me; When I was in Middle school Waterson ended his cartoon, and so I turned my new fascination toward Dilbert, which has been a consistently wonderful strip since it's genesis. As a young man in a pre-internet age I tried to get my hands on any Dilbert books in my reach. My Dilbert love thrived through my college career and during that time and afterward I read many of your non Dilbert related books (most recently "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain" the Dilbert Management Book, and God Debris), and have been a reader of your Blog since it used to be called the DilBlog. In answer to your question, the advice of yours that's stuck with me for years, and influenced many of my decisions is that if you aren't great in any any one particular thing, be pretty good at 2 or more things that you can link together in a marketable way. I guess my major question is what does a wanna-be newspaper cartoonist to do in this day and age? Are web-comics the only answer?

[I wouldn't jump into a shrinking industry at your age. So yes, comics on the web make sense for the long run. -- Scott]
Jan 23, 2014
I often steal your ideas from the blog and pass them off as my own at parties and in other social situations which has given me a reputation as a quirky but intelligent open-minded thinker which has probably attributed to my promotions at work and success with the ladies. Fortunately, my social circles are not populated with people who read Dilbert so it is working great.

Please move on from talking about your book and wondering how popular you are and get back to the out-of-the-box ideas so I can chat up the new girl!
Jan 23, 2014
Scott, I realise you are looking for specific examples but in this day and age of miniscule attention spans, if you are not adding value to your readers, believe me, they would soon go somewhere else. The fact that your readers tend to keep on coming back, means that you are making us happier and adding value to our lives. Rarely, even if you don't, the comments to your post do.
Jan 23, 2014
I don't think I can honestly say that you've changed my life for the better, but I find some of your insights useful. Also, don't discount the value of the "momentary entertainment of consuming it." That's a worthy goal in itself.
Jan 23, 2014
... except for the NSA.
Jan 22, 2014
I went back to the beginning of your blog in an attempt to objectively state an answer.

The first thing I noticed was that the forward/back a page buttons are in a bad place if you want to read everything in a chronological order. Then I saw a post about a secret underground party lair and I wondered if that was the special room you had added to your house (as a last minute addition or remodel). There's 960 posts, so this will take awhile.

So at the least, you are good at making me waste my time. If fellow blog readers need to kill some time, or avoid working, they can probably do the same thing.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 22, 2014

I find your characters everywhere in my office. Your comics save me a lot of time in trying to understand them.

We also have a person similar to Scott Adams. He behaves like your characters, one at a time, depending on the situation; and occassionally behaves like Scott Adams when he is hosting a meeting.

Scott and Dilbert's worlds are a living phenomenon. Too complex to measure, but relieves a lot of stress at work.

Thank you.

Jan 22, 2014
Scott, had you asked this question 2 years ago I would have answered very differently. I feel that having read The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook as an impressionable teen helped give me a deeply cynical skepticsm of everything related to business that may have made me hold back on some entrepreneurial/educational risks. However, your writing has gotten far more positive (not necessarily better, just more optimistic) over the years and I have made a system of applying for jobs near constantly and not quitting old ones until I have new ones... with good results so far.

Additionally, I tried reading God's Debris back when it came out and couldn't get through the first couple chapters before writing it off as bs. I just tried again last week and found it quite interesting and provocative and am now midway through the Religion War.

So keep at it, we will keep reading and encouraging you
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