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Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter

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From the creator of Dilbert, an unflinching look at the strategies Donald Trump used to persuade voters to elect the most unconventional candidate in the history of the presidency, and how anyone can learn his methods for succeeding against long odds. Scott Adams--a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion--was one of the earliest public figures to predict T From the creator of Dilbert, an unflinching look at the strategies Donald Trump used to persuade voters to elect the most unconventional candidate in the history of the presidency, and how anyone can learn his methods for succeeding against long odds. Scott Adams--a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion--was one of the earliest public figures to predict Trump's win, doing so a week after Nate Silver put Trump's odds at 2 percent in his FiveThirtyEight.com blog. The mainstream media regarded Trump as a novelty and a sideshow. But Adams recognized in Trump a level of persuasion you only see once in a generation. Trump triggered massive cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias on both the left and the right. We're hardwired to respond to emotion, not reason. We might listen to 10 percent of a speech--a hand gesture here, a phrase there--and if the right buttons are pushed, we irrationally agree with the speaker and invent reasons to justify that decision after the fact. The point isn't whether Trump was right or wrong, good or bad. Win Bigly goes beyond politics to look at persuasion tools that can work in any setting--the same ones Adams saw in Steve Jobs when he invested in Apple decades ago. For instance: - If you need to convince people that something is important, make a claim that's directionally accurate but has a big exaggeration in it. Everyone will spend endless hours talking about how wrong it is while accidentally persuading themselves the issue is a high priority. - Stop wasting time on elaborate presentations. Inside, you'll learn which components of your messaging matter, and where you can wing it. - Creating "linguistic kill shots" with persuasion engineering (such as "Low-energy Jeb") can be more powerful than facts and policies. Adams offers nothing less than "access to the admin passwords to human beings." This is a must-read if you care about persuading others in any field--or if you just want to resist persuasion from others.


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From the creator of Dilbert, an unflinching look at the strategies Donald Trump used to persuade voters to elect the most unconventional candidate in the history of the presidency, and how anyone can learn his methods for succeeding against long odds. Scott Adams--a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion--was one of the earliest public figures to predict T From the creator of Dilbert, an unflinching look at the strategies Donald Trump used to persuade voters to elect the most unconventional candidate in the history of the presidency, and how anyone can learn his methods for succeeding against long odds. Scott Adams--a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion--was one of the earliest public figures to predict Trump's win, doing so a week after Nate Silver put Trump's odds at 2 percent in his FiveThirtyEight.com blog. The mainstream media regarded Trump as a novelty and a sideshow. But Adams recognized in Trump a level of persuasion you only see once in a generation. Trump triggered massive cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias on both the left and the right. We're hardwired to respond to emotion, not reason. We might listen to 10 percent of a speech--a hand gesture here, a phrase there--and if the right buttons are pushed, we irrationally agree with the speaker and invent reasons to justify that decision after the fact. The point isn't whether Trump was right or wrong, good or bad. Win Bigly goes beyond politics to look at persuasion tools that can work in any setting--the same ones Adams saw in Steve Jobs when he invested in Apple decades ago. For instance: - If you need to convince people that something is important, make a claim that's directionally accurate but has a big exaggeration in it. Everyone will spend endless hours talking about how wrong it is while accidentally persuading themselves the issue is a high priority. - Stop wasting time on elaborate presentations. Inside, you'll learn which components of your messaging matter, and where you can wing it. - Creating "linguistic kill shots" with persuasion engineering (such as "Low-energy Jeb") can be more powerful than facts and policies. Adams offers nothing less than "access to the admin passwords to human beings." This is a must-read if you care about persuading others in any field--or if you just want to resist persuasion from others.

30 review for Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    When Facts Don’t Matter are Ethics Important? WIN BIGLY by Scott Adams http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... Hey, if you are a Conservative Republican, voted for Trump or believe that President Obama isn’t a citizen, then you should run out and buy this book without even reading my review. And, actually, I don’t want to fight with anyone so I would prefer you did not. This is my opinion of this book. Thirty-five years ago, at 22, I received an MA in Rhetoric and Communication and I studied messa When Facts Don’t Matter are Ethics Important? WIN BIGLY by Scott Adams http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... Hey, if you are a Conservative Republican, voted for Trump or believe that President Obama isn’t a citizen, then you should run out and buy this book without even reading my review. And, actually, I don’t want to fight with anyone so I would prefer you did not. This is my opinion of this book. Thirty-five years ago, at 22, I received an MA in Rhetoric and Communication and I studied messaging with a ground-breaking professor. who developed an extremely precise methodology for designing messaging. Those years studying and working for my professor changed the way I look at media and communication. I bring it up only because Mr. Adams often reminds of of his education, expertise and brilliance. Like Mr. Adams, I am pointing at my creds. This is one method he uses and tells us about in his book, WIN BIGLY. A couple of years ago, I saw Trump’s use of media at the start of his campaign and told my friends I thought he could take the election. My friends thought I was wrong and over the course of the primaries and election they were able to convince me. As a liberal, a democrat, and Clinton supporter I wish I had been wrong. But even I didn’t see Trump’s methodology the way Adams does. He is insightful, and methodical and, in my opinion, applauds Trump as not only “a master persuader,” but as some kind of hero. He honors him for gaming the system. At first Adams tells us how liberal he himself is, and yet, he eventually jumped on Trump’s bandwagon. He also tells us he never votes and describes its futility. He tells us he believes Trump uses extreme views and message to appeal and win but that he has backed away from his most extreme views (has he?). Adams thinks highly of Trump, and even more highly of himself. Of course as someone who espouses himself a brilliant persuader and analyst, he has to be confident. And, he does offer a lot of methods one can use to be persuasive. But, when I was in school, we always discussed ethical responsibility of the persuader and Adams does not. As long as Trump was persuasive he was going to win and that’s what matters. Adams also self narrates. His voice is not unpleasant, although I found his message to be so. And, I thought he was extremely self-aggrandizing and loved the sound of his own voice. We do know a couple of things really well by the end: He’s an expert, he’s really rich, and he uses his persuasion techniques at work and in his personal relationships. To be fair, Scott Adams is well-educated and successful and through his cartoon, Dilbert, is the champion of the common man. The writing follows the tell them what you are going to tell them, and then tell them and then tell them what you told them. I was disappointed. I did not know of his attachment to the right, the red, the GOP. My fault; but I thought I was going to get an analysis not a paean to the deal maker. If you are in politics, marketing, or sales, then this book offers you a great way to learn about some sensible techniques. If you love Trump or Adams, or want to win at all costs, then you will find a comfortable read or listen. But, if you are expecting a balanced, academic, analysis of the last presidential election then you will be disappointed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Razinha

    I chose this book because I thought the title humorous and the subtitle true. I had no idea that Scott Adams was anything other than a sometimes funny cartoonist. I had no idea that he let himself be persuaded. I had no idea he was irrational until I read this. Of course, as a trained hypnotist, he wants the reader to believe that he has insights no one else had, and that he might have even influenced an election. Interesting... given that he's irrelevant, I still can't fathom his chutzpah in th I chose this book because I thought the title humorous and the subtitle true. I had no idea that Scott Adams was anything other than a sometimes funny cartoonist. I had no idea that he let himself be persuaded. I had no idea he was irrational until I read this. Of course, as a trained hypnotist, he wants the reader to believe that he has insights no one else had, and that he might have even influenced an election. Interesting... given that he's irrelevant, I still can't fathom his chutzpah in that claim (oh, he deprecates, but ...not really). I finished this last week and I just need to be done with this… There are too many problems here to enumerate: Form a hypothesis/thesis...find the evidence to support; near Dunning-Kruger Effect; Identity Fallacy (“you'd understand if you knew what I know”); snark; Argumentum ad Baculum (he uses a narrative that intimates discussion, but is really one-sided); endorsement of the Pars pro Toto Fallacy; a little Post Hoc Fallacy; Third Person Effect; touch of Hindsight Bias, touch of Egocentric Bias; not inconsiderable Bias blind spot; and the big one... Fundamental Attribution Error. Among others... He says near the end of his book that “I had become hard to ignore.” I was pretty aware of a lot of the subject things in 2016 and I ignored, in ignorance to be sure, but the only analyst/pundit claiming Adams had any influence is Adams. Adams presents an interesting fantasy: that T is a Master Persuader because of his persuasion skills (Adams’ assessment...which should be obvious). Adams then tries to persuade the reader he is right. What he did was determine a conclusion and then go find the evidence to support it, no matter how tenuous or…stretched. One thing Adams certainly excels at…he can sure laud himself. He’s got skills! He can see things no one else can! Did I mention he’s a trained hypnotist? He did. Adams drops that he is a "trained hypnotist" nine times, "hypnotist" another 40, and "hypnosis" six times. He can see things others don't! His skills insulate him, allowing him to see the powers of the Great Persuader. He's the smartest person in the room. He’s so smart that he self-deprecates right after a self trumpet to try to fool the reader into thinking he’s not smart. That he’s just an ordinary, everyday, trained hypnotist. He thinks he’s some kind of Jedi, waving his words around. Well, I'm a critical thinker...Adams’ “mind” tricks don't work on me. (Apologies to Watto.) And neither does hypnotism. Adams says “…an experienced hypnotist can hypnotize anyone, so long as the subject is willing.” No. Science disagrees – data support that and besides, any superior mind can reject the attempts - there are physical brain structures that inhibit hypnotism. Odd that someone touting his field doesn’t know that. I know for a fact that I cannot be hypnotized, likely due to my brain structure (which is just a statement, not a boast.) Adams says, “I saw a skilled persuader who knew what mattered and what didn’t.” I say that “knew” is the wrong word; “decided” is better…it connotes his choice irrespective of what really matters. But then, the only thing that matters to us are the things that matter to us…which we chose. Adams says that T “is the best persuader I have ever seen.” There’s his conclusion. Despite a few hundred pages and I have no idea how many blog posts, Adams simply doesn’t not understand persuasion. (BTW irrespective of whether or not T is a persuader, I’d submit that Bill Clinton is truly one and far better. LBJ…jeez, even Reagan.) He would have you believe that a populace has been persuaded by the Master Persuader. Well, he clearly can't see that he - along with a saddening large lower denominator - is highly susceptible to a particular form of bombastic behavior that is not persuasion at all; rather, simply bullying. It's not even good with respect to negotiation, but Adams has fallen in lust and blinded himself into rationalizing an unfathomable turn in voting lunacy. There's a certain religion which has as it sacred text a mishmash of stories millennia old and a curated selection of other stories that were chosen to align specifically with a particular theological view. It is internally inconsistent and also inconsistent with the natural world on many levels. On top of all that, it is vague in so many areas. As such those areas are open to wild interpretations (wildly different). For the last 2000 years there has been a cottage industry of people writing to make excuses for these inconsistencies and interpretation differences… Apologetics. Adams’ book is sometimes spot on with certain content, but so very off in other areas and it comes off clearly as an apologetic to me. Adams says, “As far as I can tell, T[…] is far smarter than the average citizen.” That, sadly, may actually be true. And that says volumes about how low our average has dropped. Chris Voss, former FBI and current private negotiator and author of the excellent book “Never Split the Difference” has a ton of data and experience that you shouldn’t be the first to offer numbers, yet the trained hypnotist says you should always be first. You decide. On mass delusions, Adams’ definition is too bizarre to repeat. He clearly doesn’t understand them as well as he claims. He continually makes liberal use of snark, which will likely pass right over the heads of his fans. He likes to say that in the 2D world, things are one way, but in the 3D world (of his creation), reality sets in and the truth is free. He says “President Obama was a Master Persuader (or was advised by one.)” – never a suggestion that T was “being advised.” He tries his own shots at persuasion when he says things like “Your illusion of being a rational person is supported by the fact that sometimes you do act rationally.”, disparaging his detractors, which unfortunately, too many of his or T’s fans will buy hook, line and sinker. Throughout this book, he gives far too much credit to T - not for winning, but for actually thinking (I kid you not) things through. Take the wall theme for example: make an outrageous statement, prime the opponents to settle on closer to his position than theirs (Adams correctly identifies that as high/low balling). But he then makes the ludicrous statement “Consider how much discipline it took for him to avoid continually clarifying that his ‘wall’ was really a patchwork of solutions that depend on the terrain. In order to pull off this type of weapon-grade persuasion, he had to be willing to endure brutal criticism about how dumb he was to think he could secure the border with a solid wall.” Ummm, discipline? has Adams not seen the complete lack of discipline on T’s part in every other aspect of his life? Adams uses that trained hypnotist shield to suggest that he is not susceptible to the persuasion he says everyone else is. Or maybe he does acknowledge that he is susceptible. To his trained hypnotist mind, he can see things others don't. Well, to my skeptical mind, I think he doesn’t. T is not a persuader. He may or may not be a good negotiator. There are many ways to negotiate, and one that works for many people is bombastic bullying. I think he's very good at that. But anyone with a healthy skeptical mind and the critical thinking skills to accompany that skepticism sees through the charlatan easily. Adams, doesn’t. He can be a supporter all he wants. Such is his prerogative. But he also needs to see that he's wrong. The fanboy crush is so bad that Adams litters his book with excuses for his demigod. Example: with respect to McCain and the offensive POW comment, Adams says, “I think some people didn’t even realize it was a joke.” (He was crowing about T’s masterful disarming.) Joke? It wasn’t and Adams embarrasses himself for saying so. Another excuse: “But [T]’s critics characterized him as being disrespectful to women…” Adams is clearly blind here. The preponderance of evidence indicating just that is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer when looking at the words and bleats of T. The excuses masquerading as support for Adams’ thesis get really tiring. Adams is an admitted atheist. I wonder if he’s heard of Duane Gish. Gish “debates” on the side of creation “science” and never deviates from his pattern; he throws out so much crap that his usual opponents can’t beat everything and lose time and position trying (Michael Shermer studied Gish before his debate), and Gish had never been able to answer a critical question about any of his points. T vomits a continuous stream of crap that no one can tackle, or should even bother trying. But Adams doesn’t see that. He thinks T is deliberate in his content. In virtually every unscripted talk/interview/presser, T betrays that he has little clue about whatever he says. There is slick writing here - a sign of intelligence - contradicting himself often (hedging a bet?) Example: says as a [trained…implied here] hypnotist he recognizes “tells”, his training allowed him to see a pattern of questionable health tells, yet when he blogged about it, he said “to my untrained eyes and ears.” (My italics.) See? Slick. There is one glaring omission in this book… Never does Adams talk about character (he only uses the word in the actor/player context). A sin of omission, in his world it seems to mean nothing. By all appearances, Adams is intelligent. He can be funny and intelligence is a requirement for humor. He’s educated. He claims early and throughout that people are 90% irrational. His irrationality allowed him, the trained hypnotist with a cache of skills, to be persuaded. His intelligence betrayed him. It is one thing to admire the skills of someone… T is clearly good at bully negotiation, good at authoritarian temper, good at attacking his sycophants, good at bouncing back from numerous bankruptcies that belie his businessman image, good at gaming the system, good at appealing to the lowest common denominator. BUT… an intelligent person acknowledges that someone can be good at bad things and intelligently evaluate and determine that regardless of how well someone fits one’s personal definition for Best in Show persuader, that someone would be a horrendous mistake over someone else who did not fit one’s definition. Adams went beyond admiration. The fanboy crush endorsed the heinous character, and that is deplorable. Here’s the truth: T doesn't persuade. He appealed to those predisposed to him. Those naturally drawn to or conditioned to accept (think that predominant religion...) an authoritarian were primed. There was no persuasion necessary. T’s approach likens to that of a cruel dog owner: treat that dog badly, instill fear, dole out an occasional “benevolent” pat and the dog feels for a brief moment, loved. He surrounds himself with scared dogs. He cultivates packs of scared dog followers. And that is Adams' flaw. That is his fundamental attribution error. He gives sole credit to his definition of persuasion. Not what really happened. Don't misunderstand me… Adams makes a lot of really good points in this book. Points that are applicable across many continua of critical thinking. Unfortunately, he neglects to apply them. I admit that we have an excellent point of agreement between us with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance. (One “by the way”…in the appendices, a citation to the serial liar O’Keefe’s company Project Veritas really undermined essentially any credibility Adams had.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jake Rems

    I suggest coming into this reading with an unemotional mindset; simply sit back and learn about the rules of persuasion and how they align with evolutionary programming. It is an easy, yet thought-provoking read which shares insight on human perspective and how it is easily skewered. All of this seasoned with bits of dry wit.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bird Lovegod

    Before I start with this review, let me point out that Scott Adams is a man who believes that we can bend the will of the universe towards our personal goals by simply writing them down several times on a piece of paper, wrote a blog post which he claimed would give the reader "better orgasms", and spent an entire chapter of a book trying to disprove gravity. He also predicted that Trump was going to get 65% of the popular vote, and asked his readers to "hold him to it" once the election rolled Before I start with this review, let me point out that Scott Adams is a man who believes that we can bend the will of the universe towards our personal goals by simply writing them down several times on a piece of paper, wrote a blog post which he claimed would give the reader "better orgasms", and spent an entire chapter of a book trying to disprove gravity. He also predicted that Trump was going to get 65% of the popular vote, and asked his readers to "hold him to it" once the election rolled in (spoiler: they didn't). I mention this stuff not to ridicule the guy, but rather to give some sort of baseline as to where his mind is at. During the election, he tweeted something that raised a few eyebrows: "If experience is necessary for being president, name a political topic I can't master in one hour under the tutelage of top experts." I thought that tweet was very revealing - an extension of the Trumpian mindset, where knowing things and "passing the fact checker" are irrelevant, so long as you're good enough at BS'ing people. Instead, the secret to bending people to your will lies in the art of "persuasion", which is this sort of abstract concept that is presented as whatever Scott says it is, or rather whatever he needs it to be in order to justify Trump's actions. I wish I could say it goes deeper than that but it does not. What follows is a tour de force in post-facto reasoning and bad faith arguments, resulting in a worldview which presents Donald Trump as not merely a "clown genius" but virtually omnipotent. Adams, too, presents himself as someone who has basically ascended to a higher plane, the one guy in the universe who saw it coming all along. I'm serious about this by the way, he can hardly go an entire page without feeling the need to tout himself, which is funny until you start getting the sense that he's deadly serious. I get that he knows very little about politics, but even when it comes to subjects like psychology and hypnotism, his supposed topics of expertise, he stumbles around by misdefining common terms and making very basic logical errors. But then again, remember the "one hour" quote. So, I'll summarize. The only thing that matters in life is "persuasion", which I put in quotes because it is whatever Scott Adams tells you it is, usually dimestore pitchman junk re-framed as brilliant, life-changing techniques. Donald Trump is great at it, Hillary Clinton was very bad, although at some point she was actually good, but only because she hired some dude to help her out. Although Hillary did manage to persuade more people in the end, Trump won because he was brilliant enough to target his persuasion towards those who lived in swing states, or whatever. Funny enough no mention of this scenario (Trump winning the EC but losing the popular vote) was made by either Adams or Trump until after the election, after which they both claimed was the plan all along. But none of that really matters, because facts don't matter, so we should probably not pay attention to the dozens of predictions that Adams got wrong, and instead focus on how smart he was for getting one right, at least partially...the election was no landslide, but it kind of felt like one to him, so what the hell, call it a landslide. Red and blue make purple, so therefore banana. That is pretty much the level of insight you get here. Adams, much like Trump himself, seems to be stuck in a state of arrested development, making the sort of arguments that you would very much expect from a 10 year-old boy trying to weasel his way out of being grounded. He dismisses Trump's more distasteful moments as "jokes" and attempts to hide his obvious biases in the most transparent way possible ("I don't support Trump's policies! I'm actually left of Bernie!", says the man who would then brag that he, singlehandedly, may have gotten Trump elected). He effusively praises name-calling and sees a label like "Low Energy Jeb" as a legitimate turning point. He sidesteps the obvious question about Trump's abysmal popularity by claiming that he's actually persuading the people who hate him too, they just don't know it yet. Ditto for Adams, who creates this world in which you can never *quite* disagree with him, thanks to the volume of half-witted defenses he throws in your path. You get the sense that Adams is a man who never really had to engage with anyone on this topic - his response to criticism is always either a groanworthy zinger ("Hillbullies"), a claim that he was misunderstood, or a fully-fledged meltdown (for example, his embarrassing performance on the Sam Harris podcast). In the end, I'm reminded of another quote of Adams' - "When an idiot and a genius disagree, the idiot generally assumes the genius is wrong". In this case, keep in mind that one side believes that expertise only requires an hour's worth of information, and that the secrets of the universe lay in the same techniques you see in the Slap Chop commercial. I went into the book thinking that Adams might have some special sort of untapped insight into what really happened in 2016, but left thinking that perhaps the man has no insight at all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    CëRïSë

    I didn't know anything about this book other than that I had seen it in Lorin's feed,* it had Dogbert in a Trump rug on the cover, and it had a funny title. If I'd known more about the book or its loathsome author, I'd never have read it. Now that I have, however, I've learned some things: 1. Scott Adams is a "trained hypnotist," "trained persuader," and "good at describing things in words" (73), and his "brain has a filter to spot persuasion" (130). "Objectively speaking, [his] opinions will usu I didn't know anything about this book other than that I had seen it in Lorin's feed,* it had Dogbert in a Trump rug on the cover, and it had a funny title. If I'd known more about the book or its loathsome author, I'd never have read it. Now that I have, however, I've learned some things: 1. Scott Adams is a "trained hypnotist," "trained persuader," and "good at describing things in words" (73), and his "brain has a filter to spot persuasion" (130). "Objectively speaking, [his] opinions will usually be more persuasive than the opinions you see from people with less training." (245) He is rich, a famous cartoonist, and successful. Did he influence the results of the election? We can't know that, but he definitely seems to think so. Oh, and he's rich, famous, and successful. 2. As a "trained persuader," Adams has little respect for authority or science. He believes climate change "scientists could easily be wrong" (65) and are probably in a "mass delusion," and that "economics is not science," but "is more like astrology." (250) Indeed, Adams claims that "The facts were never important to me. I ignored the facts publicly and shamelessly because doing so provided me the best possible outcome: strategic ambiguity." (203) He's talking about Trump facts, but his entire premise is that humans generally are entirely irrational and that there's no single real reality. I guess that's why it somehow made sense to him, after reading about Clinton's "plans to use government force to rob me on my deathbed" to formally endorse Trump (after endorsing Clinton "for my safety"--but before Gary Johnson in the wake of the "Pussygate" scandal, and before finally settling on Trump after all because "I have a hot button that makes me irrational when I see or experience bullying" [232]). 3. Adams was generous and patriotic enough not to "gloat" about Trump winning, and by encouraging his followers not to do so either, apparently diffused a "dangerous situation... [with] a risk of riots, violence, and a breakdown of our entire system." (54) Now, Adams is "having a fun time watching President Trump flood the news cycle with so many stories and outrages that no one can keep up." (145) He repeatedly refers to Trump as "entertaining," and since all that Trump-is-Hitler/racist/predatory/dictatorial/in-league-with-Russia stuff is just made up, apparently has no problem with that. 4. In Adams' view, Trump "has a good sense of humor" (92)--later defined as a "New York sense of humor," which means that his "joke" about preferring war heroes who "weren't captured" was "a playful response and the type of thing he might say to his best friend" (171). Trump "got tricked into allegedly 'insulting' the Khans, the parents of a fallen hero" (237). He is actually "thick skinned" (96), and, in case you forgot, a Master Persuader. 5. Adams includes such scintillating persuasion tips as "It is easier to persuade a person who believes you are persuasive" (116) and, "If you are trying to get past a negative thought or memory, try distracting yourself with positive images and ideas." (152) "Kids, if you want to persuade your parents to do something nice for you, first show them a YouTube video of someone being nice to their pets. Then change the subject to whatever it is that you want." (118) Oh, and for good measure: "Red is the boss of all colors." (156) I wish there were a zero stars category ("I loathed it and wish I had that time and mental energy back") so that I could assign it to this book. *I thought he'd wanted to read it; I see now he'd only entered a giveaway. Reading Challenge Tags: #4, published this year; #19, based on a true story; #22, scared me; #31, bad review by a professional critic; #36, author I disagree with politically; #41, author I've never read

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    What a crock of crap. I was actually super excited in the intro because he kept promising that he's not a Trump fan, but he was just going to talk about his methods of persuasion. I was all in for that. But then I kept reading and I was confused and then I researched Scott Adams and he's a cheerleader pretending to be an observer and all his arguments fall apart with just a tiny bit of scrutiny. So, he's such a master persuader that everyone actually hates him? He's such a master persuader that What a crock of crap. I was actually super excited in the intro because he kept promising that he's not a Trump fan, but he was just going to talk about his methods of persuasion. I was all in for that. But then I kept reading and I was confused and then I researched Scott Adams and he's a cheerleader pretending to be an observer and all his arguments fall apart with just a tiny bit of scrutiny. So, he's such a master persuader that everyone actually hates him? He's such a master persuader that those of us who think he's a fraud are the ones with cognitive dissonance? Also, Scott Adams hates taxes and believes that he didn't get promoted in his previous jobs because he is a white man (that's from his other book). But anyway, he's a super neutral observer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole DiStasio

    I try to only review books once a month (so as to not annoy people with reviews), but I am making an exception here so as to help prevent anyone who has this on their list of "to reads" from saving themselves the frustration. This book is TERRIBLE. Scott Adams situates himself as some kind of expert, and after multiple times rattling off his credentials he closes by offering the caveat that he's not technically an expert so you should take everything he says with skepticism. I URGE you to follow I try to only review books once a month (so as to not annoy people with reviews), but I am making an exception here so as to help prevent anyone who has this on their list of "to reads" from saving themselves the frustration. This book is TERRIBLE. Scott Adams situates himself as some kind of expert, and after multiple times rattling off his credentials he closes by offering the caveat that he's not technically an expert so you should take everything he says with skepticism. I URGE you to follow the latter. He's definitely no expert. He is trying to make the argument that Trump is a "Master Persuader" and he lists a bunch of reasons why and how: like his ability to open with a big offer; his ability to match the tone and tenor of the population; and his ability to be "directional" correct on every step. But here's the thing, a "master persuader" would be able to do that when speaking to ANY group. The kind of person that fits into any crowd. The kind of person that rises to the top of every group. The kind of person with a tacit charisma that appeals to everyone. These people do exist, I have met some of them. Trump,l however, is definitely not that kind of person. If he were, you'd see SOME evidence of it. Trump's matching of his base was purely because Trump *is* that kind of person, not because he has some underlying intelligence that makes him know how to work with groups. Hence the reason, even after winning, Trump has only decreased his appeal, and cannot broaden it. Furthermore, Adams chalks everything that doesn't fit up to cognitive dissonance and/or confirmation bias. And surely, there is a lot of that in the world (one every side, we all do it). But Adams acts as if NO facts are real. As if science and math are also just some kind of subjective experience. I came to this text with an open mind. I figured if nothing else this would be a solid analysis (Adams is a self-proclaimed liberal who... follows Trump tho does not necessarily support him... it's weird). However, mostly this book is a bunch of hooey.

  8. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    This book is for marketing and advertising types and anyone who didn't get enough of the 2016 election... Scott Adams writes a fun book about hypnosis, persuasion, and branding--imparting knowledge along the way about talent stacks and of course, his experience as a public prognosticator in the 2016 election. From joint-smoking alternate realities to all-too-real death threats, Adams covers a distinctive waterfront of issues, including the person he identifies as a branding, marketing, and persua This book is for marketing and advertising types and anyone who didn't get enough of the 2016 election... Scott Adams writes a fun book about hypnosis, persuasion, and branding--imparting knowledge along the way about talent stacks and of course, his experience as a public prognosticator in the 2016 election. From joint-smoking alternate realities to all-too-real death threats, Adams covers a distinctive waterfront of issues, including the person he identifies as a branding, marketing, and persuading Godzilla.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Anderson

    This book will not be tolerated in the liberal echo chamber...Too many truths and too little emotion. Let the triggering commence!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    I don't agree with everything he says, but I really like the way he makes me think differently. Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) was swept into controversial politics when he started blogging (early in the 2016 US Presidential race) that Trump was using professional persuasion techniques and would win because of it. He was not a Trump supporter, in terms of policies. Just someone who saw technique that would work. This book is about those persuasion techniques. Yes, there are many interesting exampl I don't agree with everything he says, but I really like the way he makes me think differently. Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) was swept into controversial politics when he started blogging (early in the 2016 US Presidential race) that Trump was using professional persuasion techniques and would win because of it. He was not a Trump supporter, in terms of policies. Just someone who saw technique that would work. This book is about those persuasion techniques. Yes, there are many interesting examples from the Presidential race. But it's truly a book on persuasion, not on Trump. Again, I don't endorse all his conclusions. But I highly recommend this as a book to stretch your thinking.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Serwach

    Must Read: How to Win Campaigns, Lose Friends and Change America Scott Adams, best known as "the Dilbert guy" became the one pundit who got nearly everything right in 2015-16-17 when he saw the "Master Persuader" forever change the rules of politics (and media influence) in August 2015. Megan Kelly dropped a barrage of political nuclear bombs on Donald Trump with a question guaranteed to destroy his political career when Trump interrupted her, provoked laughter and took over the national agenda ( Must Read: How to Win Campaigns, Lose Friends and Change America Scott Adams, best known as "the Dilbert guy" became the one pundit who got nearly everything right in 2015-16-17 when he saw the "Master Persuader" forever change the rules of politics (and media influence) in August 2015. Megan Kelly dropped a barrage of political nuclear bombs on Donald Trump with a question guaranteed to destroy his political career when Trump interrupted her, provoked laughter and took over the national agenda (and rewrote the rules of the way things are seen nationally) with three magic words that vaulted him to the White House: "Only Rosie O'Donnell." Adams immediately saw what happened. Millions of voters did too. But the ruling Establishment of know-it-all politicians/pundits/journalists totally missed it, and kept missing it. True writers are the ones who see what everyone else fails to see, who explain those things to the rest of us, Adams did so in his blogs and social media through the campaign and puts it all together in this beautiful book. He explains how Trump is a Master Persuader on the level of Steve Jobs, Peggy Noonan and Madonna (people who disrupted the way things were and rewrote the rules). For example: We often see Trump portrayed as a bully (and he can be one) but Adams notes Trump tending to focus his nastiest words on people who provoked in some way. In contrast, Adams explains how the arrogance of the Clinton team literally encouraged their followers to bully Trump supporters for simply posting a pro-Trump idea or article online branding them with conversation-ending words like racist and Hitler. That attitude culminated in Clinton calling Trump backers "Deplorable" and in Trump using one of the most powerful persuasion arguments against Clinton, that her arrogance showed "contempt" for the voters she sought to lead. Similarly, Trump the Master Persuader (who wrote a bestseller on winning deals) went on "Saturday Night Live" and helped people "see" him as President by doing a skit where he literally was POTUS while Hillary Clinton (in her own SNL skit) agreed to play a bartender in a bar with a drunken, battered Hillary (not a good image for a potential leader of the free world). Adams shows how Trump mastered the branding process and how the Clinton team repeatedly failed miserably. He shows the tricks, we too, can learn to win our own personal and organizational campaigns.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I try to finish the books I start and really try to learn from people of different perspectives. I couldn't finish Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter, Scott Adams' book on President Trump's persuasion skills. Cut to the chase: Adams describes Trump's persuasion skills as "weapons-grade" and a Master Persuader. I get annoyed by an author's tone. Adams describes himself as a commercial-grade persuader: "I don’t normally turn up my persuasion powers to weapons grade. But I can I try to finish the books I start and really try to learn from people of different perspectives. I couldn't finish Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter, Scott Adams' book on President Trump's persuasion skills. Cut to the chase: Adams describes Trump's persuasion skills as "weapons-grade" and a Master Persuader. I get annoyed by an author's tone. Adams describes himself as a commercial-grade persuader: "I don’t normally turn up my persuasion powers to weapons grade. But I can" (p. 55). Adams sees himself as being less skillful than cognitive scientists, who are themselves below Master Persuaders such as Trump. This tone continues throughout. I get annoyed by careless use of psychological terminology. His definitions of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance aren't terrible, but they aren't good either. Recognize and stay within your skill set – or strengthen your understanding. Adams, while accusing others of confirmation bias, fit Trump's behavior to his own perspectives on Trump's behavior. Anything Trump did, Adams labeled as skillful. His critics probably felt relieved because his opening offer (mass deportation) was so aggressive that his current policy seems more reasonable than it might have without the opening offer for contrast. That is classic deal making. You start with a big first demand and negotiate back to your side of the middle. ... [I]t was clear he didn’t have a detailed understanding of the more complicated issues. Most observers saw this as a fatal flaw that would keep him out of the White House. I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as Trump recognizing that people don’t use facts and reason to make decisions. A skilled persuader can blatantly ignore facts and policy details so long as the persuasion is skillful. Candidate Trump matched the emotional state of his base, and matched their priorities too. (pp. 8-9) Adams ignored counterevidence to his hypothesis. For example, "Trump lost the popular vote, but that was a case of losing a game he wasn’t playing" (p. 51). Although Russian hackers seem to have influenced the election, Adams focused instead on the fact that there was no evidence of collusion (Bigly was published in 2017). Did Trump persuade voters or did voters mistrust Clinton? Adams chose not to look at these, apparently, as this would undermine his premise that Trump was a master persuader. Don't read Bigly, regardless of your political bent. Read Robert Cialdini or Nate Silver instead – even though Silver did not accurately predict the electoral college outcome (he did predict the popular vote).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Russ

    You probably won't read this book. Sad! By associating with Donald J. Trump, Adams has alienated half of his potential audience. That's a shame because he has written one of the best books of 2017 as well as the best post-mortem on the 2016 election. The book provides two ways to win and no way to lose. The reader will learn about persuasion as well as a reasonable and rational explanation of Trump's victory. Spoilers: 1) I believe the explanation of persuasion is more valuable than the political You probably won't read this book. Sad! By associating with Donald J. Trump, Adams has alienated half of his potential audience. That's a shame because he has written one of the best books of 2017 as well as the best post-mortem on the 2016 election. The book provides two ways to win and no way to lose. The reader will learn about persuasion as well as a reasonable and rational explanation of Trump's victory. Spoilers: 1) I believe the explanation of persuasion is more valuable than the political discussion, and 2) it wasn't the Russians, racists, homophobes, islamophobes or Nazis that helped Trump win. Adams lays out his political biases upfront and spoilers, he's NOT a Republican, conservative, Nazi or fascist. The reader knows straight off how Adams' mind filters political thought. I wish all writers would do that - sort of like trigger warnings but not as book burning-ish. Regardless of his bat-crap crazy political ideas, Adams use of viewing Trump and the election through the filter of persuasion provides valuable life lessons. Persuasion is used every day to get us to spend money we don't have on things we don't need to impress people we don't like. Set aside for the moment that persuasion gets us to vote for morally reprehensible people. Wouldn't we all like to be more rational and make better informed choices? Robert Cialdini is the pre-eminent writer in the field of persuasion with "Persuasion" and "Pre-suasion." Adams gives him a meaningful cameo in this book. I found Adams interpretation of persuasion more practical than Cialdini's. Adams helps you build mental models to quickly realize when you're being persuaded. You'll be able to make more rational decisions. Isn't that a worthwhile goal?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Abugosh

    As a big fan of Scott Adams (I love God's Debris & How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big), I was super excited to read this book, and as I heard him promote it online, I guess I was "pre-suaded" to buy it as soon as it came out. This book has a monumental goal: Trying to de-brainwash or "red pill" people that are still in shock as to how Trump won (which admittedly I still am). If you are new to Adam's thoughts, you would probably learn a lot and might even start seeing "the other m As a big fan of Scott Adams (I love God's Debris & How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big), I was super excited to read this book, and as I heard him promote it online, I guess I was "pre-suaded" to buy it as soon as it came out. This book has a monumental goal: Trying to de-brainwash or "red pill" people that are still in shock as to how Trump won (which admittedly I still am). If you are new to Adam's thoughts, you would probably learn a lot and might even start seeing "the other movie" of the Trump phenomenon. If you're someone that's familiar with his work, you'll get a condensed summary of everything he talks about on his blog and Twitter, and some interesting anecdotes you probably never heard before. This book claims that it doesn't have an opinion on policies, and just focuses on Trump's persuasion techniques, but the way he explains the rationale behind a lot of his decisions does justify a number of them, and in the back of my mind I still keep thinking "yeah, but his policies still suck!". In a way, this book is a wake up call to how I (and many liberals) think humanity should behave (with kindness and empathy to all people), to how it actually behaves in the US (with cautious egocentric individualism), and as the author says: human beings are just "moist robots" that are very susceptible to persuasion.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill Powers

    Win Bigly by Scott Adams is one of the best non-fiction books I have read in years. Politics aside, if you are interested in the art and science of persuasion, you must read this book. If you are interested in a political analysis of the 2016 presidential election cycle that is light years ahead of the usual chattering nabob talking heads of the mainstream media, Win Bigly is a must read. Whether you were on Team Hillary or Team Trump – this is one damn good book!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Beal

    Fascinating read and great tips in here for personal branding. Persuasion isn't a hard science, so there are some moments of the book that seem more like magical thinking, but overall I loved his observations of Trump's rise to the presidency. Fascinating read and great tips in here for personal branding. Persuasion isn't a hard science, so there are some moments of the book that seem more like magical thinking, but overall I loved his observations of Trump's rise to the presidency.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charles Haywood

    Would you like to read a book about Scott Adams? Then this is your book, especially if you want to hear Scott Adams talk about how awesome he is. Would you like to read a book about persuasion techniques? This book may shed a little light, maybe two pages’ worth. Would you like to read a book about how Donald Trump got elected, which is what this book is supposed to be? You are mostly out of luck—unless you want to be told that Donald Trump got elected primarily because of Scott Adams, in which Would you like to read a book about Scott Adams? Then this is your book, especially if you want to hear Scott Adams talk about how awesome he is. Would you like to read a book about persuasion techniques? This book may shed a little light, maybe two pages’ worth. Would you like to read a book about how Donald Trump got elected, which is what this book is supposed to be? You are mostly out of luck—unless you want to be told that Donald Trump got elected primarily because of Scott Adams, in which case you are again at the right place. I came to this book expecting it to be notably insightful, which may be part of the problem—disappointment breeds resentment. I like “Dilbert,” Adams’s cartoon creation—who doesn’t? “Dilbert,” of course, is anti-political correctness without being conservative (Adams is very emphatically not a conservative). Then, during the 2016 campaign, I often saw references by sensible conservatives to Adams’s prediction that Trump was going to win. I was predicting the same thing, so I assumed Adams was a genius, and thus I developed a vague feeling of goodwill toward Adams. More recently this feeling was reinforced by coming across his term “linguistic kill shots” for dishonest behavior in framing political issues (though he ignores that the impact of this depends on the media’s cooperation, so it almost always only benefits the Left). My indefinite conclusion was that Adams likely had a lot to offer. He may, but not in this book. Stick to Dilbert. "Win Bigly" is very padded; much is repetitive, and much is reprints of blog posts from 2016. There is a basic structure of five parts, but they’re pretty much indistinguishable from each other. You can boil the whole book down to a few sentences: Facts don’t matter if the speaker is adequately persuasive. The author can see this because he is a “trained persuader”; as such he recognizes the techniques Trump used. In any given happening, whether Trump’s election or anything else, there is no way to tell what really caused it, because any answer depends on the filter one places on one’s view of the world, and no filter can be shown correct (though some can be shown incorrect), because of confirmation bias and other forms of intellectual defect, including the effects of persuasion Hypnotism is cool and Scott Adams is an excellent hypnotist. (No, I don’t know why this is relevant either.) Trump has a great “talent stack,” in that he is not the best at any one thing, but excellent at very many things, from understanding publicity to public speaking to high energy to being tall. And Scott Adams made Trump the President, and you should therefore recognize his genius. The end. So yes, Donald Trump gets mentioned a lot. I just don’t think that this book tells the reader anything relevant about how Donald Trump won. Adams’s basic claim about Trump is that he is a “master” or “weapons-grade” persuader, a deliberate or instinctual user of a range of persuasion techniques that Adams (or his sensei, one Robert Cialdini) tells us can be used to manipulate others. Adams only cites a few other “master persuaders” by name. Four, to be exact. Two seem unexceptional—Steve Jobs and Tony Robbins, though I am not sure about the latter, not having spent my days watching him (but he was hilarious in Shallow Hal). The other two are just bizarre—Madonna, and . . . Peggy Noonan? Huh? I can assure you that I’ve never felt myself being magically pulled to believe what Noonan has to say; she’s merely a reasonably competent columnist. And Madonna may be good at surfing the cultural Zeitgeist, although now she’s mostly just pathetic, but I can’t fathom what exactly Adams thinks she’s persuasive about. (It seems to me that a much better example would be Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos.) Probably these other famous people are mentioned to support the main point of this book, that Adams himself is an incredible persuader, responsible for Trump’s election. Giving as examples people obviously not master persuaders makes Adams look better. (Adams refers to himself as only a “commercial-grade persuader”—but that is false modesty, since he very clearly doesn’t think he’s anything but world-class.) As far as the what the book has to say, it’s pretty rambling. Adams outlines various persuasion techniques, such as “pacing and leading” (i.e., suckering your audience by agreeing with them on something unimportant so they trust you before you lead them in a fresh direction). Most of those techniques are basic variations of redirection and lying, which Adams tries to spin up into more than they are. He intermittently relates them all to Trump’s actions during the campaign, though he’s unable to tell us if Trump is deliberately or instinctively using them. To hold the casual reader’s attention, throughout are inset boxes with “Persuasion Tips,” most of which are egregiously obvious, such as “When you identify as part of a group, you opinions tend to be biased toward the group consensus”; “Display confidence to improve your persuasiveness”; and “Persuasion is strongest when the messenger is credible.” Like most self-help books, I suppose Adams offers something of value for some people, but as an explanation for Trump’s success, it’s all pretty weak. Still, here and there are some modestly interesting thoughts. For example, Adams advises strongly against associating your brand with bad images, especially actual visual images, regardless of the reasoning behind it, because your actual message gets lost. Carly Fiorina erred by describing an aborted baby during a debate; it associated her with dead children (though Adams is eager to repeatedly assure us what a big abortion supporter he is). Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi erred by supporting Obamacare by appearing next to a giant sign, “Make America Sick Again.” And Adams points out that excessive, or in some cases any, apologizing is bad, especially groveling—your message gets lost, and you look weak, so if you apologize, you should be vague while changing the context, and thus the topic, to something to your benefit (Steve Jobs was very good at this). But it’s pretty clear Adams has nothing original to say; his thoughts are derivative and second-hand. For example, his breathlessly announced insight that we “make our decisions first and then create elaborate rationalizations for them after the fact” is merely cut-rate Jonathan Haidt (not that he mentions or cites Haidt). So I suspect Adams does not deserve any credit for what he presents as fresh insight. And in any case those interesting thoughts are more than counterbalanced by errors and tedious detours into what Scott Adams thinks about irrelevant matters. Adams says, while spinning why he was repeatedly and totally wrong about who Trump’s pick for vice president would be, that “Quayle didn’t even stay on the ticket when Bush ran for reelection.” That’s wrong; Quayle was Bush’s running mate in both 1988 and 1992. We are repeatedly treated to slyly placed self-congratulation about Adams’s success with women (he’s sixty-one, not that we’re told that, but we are to be clear that he is still virile). We hear Adams preen himself multiple times that he, and other men, should not be permitted to have an opinion about abortion (presumably neither now nor earlier, when their mothers were whether deciding whether to kill them). We hear Adams tell us that he, and everyone else, “never has enough data to form competent opinions” about “complicated issues about economics and foreign affairs.” I doubt very much if he really thinks that, and as a blanket principle, it’s ludicrous. (He is on stronger ground on a sub-claim, which is that we can’t trust what we are told about global warming because of the financial and other benefits those pushing it as a problem receive, while anybody who opposes the so-called consensus faces “a high degree of career and reputation risk,” and thus climate “science” is most likely a mass delusion, a set of points I’ve made as well.) Another annoying element of the book is Adams’s repeated insistence that he would have killed Hitler or any “top Nazi.” This is the context of bleating about how unsafe he felt because people were mean to him on Twitter, such that for a time he endorsed Hillary Clinton, explicitly because he felt endangered. He had to do it, don’t you see, because he lacked Secret Service protection, though a Very Important Man like Scott Adams certainly needed it. He’s a “top-ten assassination target,” you know, because he was perceived as Trump’s Goebbels. Not only is this silly self-aggrandizement, it’s not even true that he would have opposed Hitler. As Jordan Peterson notes (because it’s been a fascination of his as a professor for decades), the reality is the vast majority of people in totalitarian regimes resist not at all—Peterson’s point to his students is that they would almost certainly have eagerly participated with Hitler or Stalin or Mao, and to think otherwise is failure to think clearly and a distorting way of thinking. Adams, though, overtly thinks he would be a hero. He probably keeps a cape in his closet. Satin, with gold trim. The last chapter is wholly devoted to showing how Scott Adams was the key to Trump’s election. Knowing he would be laughed at if he simply made the claim, Adams uses some of his own persuasion techniques to convince the reader, though all of them boil down to cherry picking anecdotes that suggest his desired conclusion and doing hand waving around them, along with enough demurrals that he can retreat to plausible deniability if directly challenged. “Moments ago I was doing a live stream on Periscope and asked my longtime readers if they thought I was the first person to bluntly say in 2015 that facts don’t matter when it comes to picking a president. My audience on Periscope unanimously agreed they heard it from me first.” Look at that! An audience consisting exclusively of Scott Adams fans tells him what he wants to hear! Surprise, surprise. “I asked on Twitter [where he keeps telling us how big his following is] how many people decided to vote for Trump because of something I said. Thousands of respondents claimed I was the reason they voted the way they did. The Twitter poll only reached a tiny fraction of the people who were exposed to my Trump persuasion [Adams maintains that the entire media followed his lead by adopting all his terms and concepts]. That means I might have moved tens of thousands of votes. Maybe hundreds of thousands. There’s no way to know.” But we all know that we’re supposed to conclude that there is a way to know. Now, perhaps the joke is on us. One of the persuasion techniques Adams pushes is lying to associate oneself with someone famous, as in his own trying to associate his predictions with the pollster Nate Silver, though there was no actual connection. So maybe all his talk about how he elected Trump is just that, an attempt to hitch his wagon to Trump’s star. Adams makes his money largely from speaking engagements, as we know from his complaining that his intermittent support for Trump harmed his livelihood, so maybe this is all just a sales technique, to convince buyers that even if Adams is responsible for the monster Trump, his power is so great that it’s worth paying to hear what he has to say. I doubt if this will be successful, since I suspect the derangement that Trump incites is much more powerful than Adams’s persuasion techniques. Either way, though, spending your money on this padded-out pamphlet is unlikely to give you a return on your money.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    Scott Adams writes: "One of the ways I make myself more persuasive is by telling people I'm a trained hypnotist and that I am familiar with all of the tools of influence." In this book he does just that. Over and over and over he tells us that he is a trained hypnotist. Whether that makes him more persuasive is less clear. I found it annoying. Studying hypnosis helped him to learn some things, but it isn't a magic bullet and others arrive at the same point through other means. There is plenty of g Scott Adams writes: "One of the ways I make myself more persuasive is by telling people I'm a trained hypnotist and that I am familiar with all of the tools of influence." In this book he does just that. Over and over and over he tells us that he is a trained hypnotist. Whether that makes him more persuasive is less clear. I found it annoying. Studying hypnosis helped him to learn some things, but it isn't a magic bullet and others arrive at the same point through other means. There is plenty of good information in here about techniques of persuasion; the ones that are used on you and that you can use on others. Ethically, I hope! Adams is a polarizing figure. If you have a bias against him for any reason, perhaps you should skip this and go to directly to Influence by Robert Cialdini. Adams praises that book several times, and I fully agree. It is a classic of the field and an eye-opener to the techniques that advertisers and politicians (at least the ones who win) use on you. His other suggestions for further reading are also mostly good. When Adams early-on predicted that he-who-shall-not-be-named would win the presidency because he is a "master persuader", most considered him nuts. While I disagreed with his prediction, I saw a lot of truth in the claim that the orange guy [or someone on his team] knew what works in persuasion, and also knew that it doesn't matter if you make some people hate you because to win an election you only have to influence a small subset of the people. (Most will be voting with their tribe. You just need to bring in the "swing" votes.) I'm still on the fence about whether the weird-hair-guy knew what he was doing or was being steered by someone else. Adams believes the former. Some evidence comes from the fact that he was mentored by Roy Cohn [not mentioned in this book] and preached to by Norman Vincent Peale [which I learned here]. But, he also had shrewd manipulators on his team. More evidence for Adams view is that Mr. T used some master-level moves in off-the-cuff remarks. Many of which looked like mistakes to most people, but which a master 3-D chess player like Adams can decipher for us mere 2-D mortals. Overall this book was entertaining and gave me things to think about. On the other hand, I was turned off by Adams frequent self-aggrandizement. He seems to think that because of his training as a hypnotist and because he has studied persuasion techniques and critical-thinking skills that he has a super-human-like ability to see the 3-D world that is inaccessible to the rest of us. I disagree. Learning those things is very useful, but it doesn't make you superman, doesn't stop you from being wrong, and doesn't stop you from being an ass. By the way, the author of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality seems to take the same view that learning about cognitive biases will make you immune to them. It doesn't. But that is still a fun work of fiction. To summarize this book is an odd mixture of "Ha Ha! I told you I was right!" with solid explanations of techniques of persuasion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ajay Sambhriya

    An observer sees patterns everywhere he looks in society, Scott Adams is one such guy who also happens to be a trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist..... Like 50 times. Right from start when Donald Trump ( Or a master persuader, master persuader, master persuader....... Like 1000 times) announced his candidature for presidency elections it did fit right into not one but many patterns Scott has been witnessing in past. With all patterns hinting Trump's victory An observer sees patterns everywhere he looks in society, Scott Adams is one such guy who also happens to be a trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist, trained hypnotist..... Like 50 times. Right from start when Donald Trump ( Or a master persuader, master persuader, master persuader....... Like 1000 times) announced his candidature for presidency elections it did fit right into not one but many patterns Scott has been witnessing in past. With all patterns hinting Trump's victory one pattern where Trump is a master persuader fit best with all that was going on with Trumps election campaign, mainstream media and people, well at least according to him. Scott takes us through a long conversation narrating his experience of seeing the pattern unfolding over time, putting it on his blog that went off the charts during elections campaign and after results , how it changed his own life in the process and giving persuasion tips in between, most of which helped Trump to add to his popularity. Scott writes that people perceive reality as a specific movie that's going on in their mind, the book is the narrative of one such movie that was going on with Scott's mind lately. He is so much obsessed with Trump's persuasion skills that he tries to make you believe that Trump is the best persuader you'll ever see. But at the end of the day you can't deny the fact that Donald Trump did a great job about reaching into people's head even so mostly with his outright lies and outrageous remarks. The books explains you that side of story and how Trump ended up becoming president Trump with all his so called skills.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Akshith Rao

    I give this one Star not because it talks about how Trump is a master persuader who took calculated steps to win the presidency. The arguments presented were not convincing enough and the book felt a tad more like a (Trump is God) religious book sprinkled with some scientific terms here and there.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amber Lea

    Well, that was something. I found out about this book through a conversation that went something like, “Hey, you know Scott Adams, the guy who does Dilbert?” “Yeah, of course.” “Well, he has this blog where he talks about how he’s a trained hypnotist and he thinks Trump knows hypnosis too.” It was something to that effect, that isn’t a direct quote, but I was like hmm, interesting. That sounds INSANE, and I love insane so...here I am. Let me say, right off the bat, this book barely has any content. Well, that was something. I found out about this book through a conversation that went something like, “Hey, you know Scott Adams, the guy who does Dilbert?” “Yeah, of course.” “Well, he has this blog where he talks about how he’s a trained hypnotist and he thinks Trump knows hypnosis too.” It was something to that effect, that isn’t a direct quote, but I was like hmm, interesting. That sounds INSANE, and I love insane so...here I am. Let me say, right off the bat, this book barely has any content. Literally the first 70 pages is just Scott expressing the same four or so points about a 1000 different ways with little or no evidence or additional information. He’s basically like, “I’m about to BLOW YOUR MIND...any second now…welcome to the 3rd dimension of reality...I’m gonna tell you about it but hold on a second because MIND BLOWING WILL HAPPEN...get your towels and prepare to wipe your brain off the wall...” Spoiler alert: If you’ve heard of the concept of cognitive dissonance or confirmation bias this book is not going to blow your mind. This book was written for idiots. Also, my biggest take away from this is that Adam Scott has megalomania. Seriously, who doesn’t know that Trump uses persuasion techniques like crazy? I feel like Scott’s training in persuasion/hypnosis has blinded him to the fact that this is obvious about Trump. He thinks he has some kind of special understanding that the rest of us don’t. I didn’t exactly predict that Trump would win, but I wasn’t shocked. Because I was listening to Trump supporters. Liberals in general were shocked because they live in a bubble where they don’t listen to people who don’t agree with them. MY theory for why Trump won isn’t that he’s a master persuader, though I think that’s definitely a component. Obviously, his techniques works on plenty of people, including Scott. BUT you also had Hilary shooting herself in the foot over and over again, and I personally think the thing that turned the election to Trump was how awful liberals were being and how much they hate Trump. Trump won the troll vote. And this book supports my theory. Even Scott admits to supporting Trump because he hates “Hilbullies.” THAT IS WHY HE WON. That is it right there. You’re welcome I didn’t make you read 300 pages for that insight. But Scott clearly wants us to give him credit for getting Trump elected because he was so persuasive and insightful. He also says he probably had nothing to do with it, but then makes the case that he was influencing the media and he uses social proof to try to show you that lots of other people think he influenced the election. But again, he says over and over again, “But it probably wasn’t me, I don’t know.” Leaving you to believe whatever you want to believe. If I say Scott is crazy, you can say, “But he didn’t say that!” He’s using Trump’s signature move. But all throughout this book Scott tries to tie himself to Robert Cialdini. Robert Cialdini actually writes good stuff and if you’re interested in understanding persuasion, definitely check him out. This book you can skip. It’s literally just 300 pages of Scott Adam’s trying to convince you Trump is brilliant and Scott himself is a genius for seeing it. Listening to Scott brag about how he had it all figured out and no one else did for a whole book is grating. People weren’t shocked because this was hard to see, they were shocked because the country is extremely polarized and it’s currently socially acceptable to live in a bubble where you only talk to people who agree with you. Someone says you’re wrong? Block ‘em, they’re just trolls. All criticism and information you don’t want to hear has been labeled “trolling” and you are free to ignore it. People weren’t blindsided because Trump is a genius. They were blindsided because they weren’t paying attention. Here’s another great piece of information this book doesn’t give you: how you think of yourself makes you extremely easy to manipulate. If you think of yourself as a democrat, you will feel pressured to think and act the way other democrats think and act, regardless of whether or not you agree. Same goes for all the other political parties. And if you think of yourself as reasonable, you will feel pressured to be reasonable. But if your party affiliation is the stronger identity, you will do things you think are unreasonable when those two identities conflict. Then you will act a little nutty trying to get your two identities to realign. People have something called a “consistency drive” and it can be used to get you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Avoid self-identifying in ways that lets other people think for you. Be careful what you tell yourself about who you are, and be aware of how other people are using that to try to get you to do what they want. For example, I personally don’t think of myself as a “woman” and instead prefer the label of “person” because I don’t like how people use the fact that I’m a woman to try to get me to behave in a certain way. That doesn’t mean I’m not a woman, I just think of myself as a person first, and that shields me from a lot of manipulation. If someone tells me I’m supposed to have babies, or like pink, or vote for Hillary Clinton because that’s what a “woman” should do I’m like...nope. No thank you. I still have to buy tampons and deal with the nightmare that is tiny pockets, but that’s not who I am. I don’t have to think and act like everyone else who buys tampons and deals with tiny pockets. I feel totally free to not have kids, wear grey, and think that Hillary Clinton is dumb and not feel like there’s some conflict going on inside me because that’s what I want to do. My behavior is consistent with that of a person. But as far as this book goes, it really doesn’t give you any advice about avoiding manipulation despite the fact that it tells you it’s going to. It’s like Scott forgot that part. Or he never intended to cover it in the first place because the whole purpose was to tell you he’s a genius. Or he thought he was doing that by telling you about “the third dimension.” Which is like his version of the Red Pill, I guess. (For those of you who don’t know, being “Red Pilled” is when liberals go down a conservative rabbit hole and come out feeling unsure about their world views.) So yeah, I don’t know. This book was dumb. Scott said some legitimately crazy things. Like he repeatedly mentioned the whole idea that we’re actually living inside a computer simulation, and while I haven’t done extensive homework on the subject, it basically sounds like the flat earth theory to me. He also talks about his persuasion abilities like a super power he can unleash at any time to bend the world to his will. And not to get his neighbor to turn down his stereo at 3am, like...to change the outcome of presidential elections or change what governments do. He basically thinks he’s the most powerful person in the world when he wants to be. Maybe. Or not. But this book gets two stars instead of one for making me think and for having some legitimate points. Note: I just feel the need to say I think Dilbert is a brilliant comic and this book totally doesn't change that. Dogbert is my spirit animal.

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Martindale

    Though I knew of Dilbert, I haven't previously read Adams' comics, and I didn't know about his blog or entrance to political reflections before coming across this audiobook in my library. He is pretty sure of his ability to observe persuasion, and seemed to make a decent case for it, but over and again he announced how he could be wrong and would mention different possible interpretations, that is part of what was so unique, he was very self-reflective, the tone was 'I might be wrong and here i Though I knew of Dilbert, I haven't previously read Adams' comics, and I didn't know about his blog or entrance to political reflections before coming across this audiobook in my library. He is pretty sure of his ability to observe persuasion, and seemed to make a decent case for it, but over and again he announced how he could be wrong and would mention different possible interpretations, that is part of what was so unique, he was very self-reflective, the tone was 'I might be wrong and here is why and yet here is my reasons to think I may be right.' I found it It a very interesting look at persuasion, confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, delusions and mental filters. I especially enjoyed his reflecting on things in light of his own story. For example, discussed how his blog activity on Trump and Hillary's persuasion skills and the predictions he made in light of it during the election season could be interpreted through the 'Adams was lucky/coincidence filter', the 'Adams is influencing/causing events' filter, the 'Adams is a prophet filter' and the 'Adam being a keen observer filter', and how there is no way to solidly prove which filter best explains the actual reality, each can make sense of the facts within its framework. Here are the reasons I think he possibly makes some uneasy. He considered himself unqualified to have much of an opinion concerning most political matters that others are fired up over, and voting for Jimmy Carter back in the day was enough evidence for him to conclude it is too hard to predict what the politicians will actually do, and the effects of their actions. So for many of the hot button issues in the last election he was indifferent to. Though he considers himself a liberal, he didn't have the outrage his fellows liberals had over Trumps proposed policies. The other thing he is pretty confident that people in general are highly irrational, instead of thinking of the mind like the chef executive, it is more like the press secretary; confabulating and rationalizing, creating post hoc justifications for what we do and and deluding ourselves into thinking we're in control and that we have good reasons for what we believe. Because people are fundamentally irrational creatures, good argumentation and doing ones utmost to avoid logical fallacies will actually cripple us if we want to be persuasive. He demonstrates a pragmatism, that if we want to be persuasive, we must skillful pull emotional strings and influence people subconsciously, sometimes in an amoral Machiavellian way. As the subtitle says "Persuasion in a world where facts doesn't matter", It appears he'd think evolution has made people the way they are, it is so ingrained into human nature, that a high ideals, commitment to truth and the facts, will not get us anywhere in the political realm. Trump is thus a pragmatist who capitalized on this. He admires persuasion as a skill, and likes to point them out, even when these persuasion skills deceived and manipulated. People could admire Alexander the Great or Napoleon who were incredibly skillful in their brutal wars of conquest, but some want comments of disapproval of their aims at world-domination. The deal is some individuals are just so repulsive, such a Hitler, that to praise their persuasion skills just feels repugnant, and to simply analyze and discuss his masterful persuasion skills, without constantly condemning the ends for which they were used, would be oft putting. Now due to the Trump is Hitler filer, I think that is what most have against Adams, for how could he admire and praise Trump's persuasion skills, without at the same time pouring out condemnation and contempt for the ends Trump was using them? One final thing, he is convinced that most of us, likely even himself is delusional in massive ways. How else to make sense of widely held religious views which contradict other widely held religious views, or widely held ideologies which contradict other widely held ideologies. These systems of viewing the world are incredibly convincing to those within them. He thus, didn't take to serious the filter through which his fellow Californian liberals viewed trump, recognizing it as a filter that was likely resulting in a delusional view of reality. He saw the widely held Trump is like Hitler filter, as simply another filter and not necessarily reality, which was upsetting to plenty of folks who saw Trump as the embodiment of all evil.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Two conclusions I came to after reading this book: 1) Scott Adams has a very accurate perspective about Trump's "weapons-grade" persuasive powers and political rise. 2) Scott Adams has a very high opinion of Scott Adams. Until about two years ago I knew Scott Adams only as the Dilbert guy. But once he started accurately predicting Trump's political path using the lenses of persuasion and hypnotism, gaining critics along the way but scoring on predictions over and over when most everyone else was ag Two conclusions I came to after reading this book: 1) Scott Adams has a very accurate perspective about Trump's "weapons-grade" persuasive powers and political rise. 2) Scott Adams has a very high opinion of Scott Adams. Until about two years ago I knew Scott Adams only as the Dilbert guy. But once he started accurately predicting Trump's political path using the lenses of persuasion and hypnotism, gaining critics along the way but scoring on predictions over and over when most everyone else was aghast at Trump's successes, I figured this book was worth the read. Turns out it was worth it, if only for an understanding of some of the concepts undergirding the chaos that Trump inspires. Whether it's his constant Twitter attacks ("It tells people that being his friend is better than being his critic.") or his bombastic hyperbole about The Wall (being intentionally inaccurate but "directionally" true will win supporters and fluster opponents), Adams detects and explains the (possible) method to the madness. He repeatedly claims his interest in this subject stems not from politics (he's a self-described "ultraliberal" on certain topics) but from his lifelong interest in persuasion techniques. The book itself is a bit scattershot, more like a collection of Adams' blog posts. It's also repetitive and rife with some strangely revealing statements like "I don't feel shame or embarrassment like normal people. I wasn't always this way. It's a learned skill." and "Fairness is an argument for idiots and children." But as a sort of Rosetta Stone for a less examined aspect of The Trumpening, it's very illuminating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Loved this book! Appreciated the discussion about persuasion in reference to Donald Trump becoming President. I was not familiar with Scott Adams’ influence during the election so I was able to listen to this book without preconceived bias. A great read for anyone with an interest in politics (especially the most recent election) and who has an open mind.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Filters (what lens you see the world through) are a major theme of this book. You have to read this book through the Persuasion filter. Adams sold me on the Persuasion filter - I look at his book as study in persuasion and the 2016 election as a case study of persuasion. Put aside all the policy, ideology and everything else - different filters. Adams writes if you like a filter and it helps forecast the future then use it. Persuasion works; facts, logic, reason - don't. 24/7 news doesn't either. Filters (what lens you see the world through) are a major theme of this book. You have to read this book through the Persuasion filter. Adams sold me on the Persuasion filter - I look at his book as study in persuasion and the 2016 election as a case study of persuasion. Put aside all the policy, ideology and everything else - different filters. Adams writes if you like a filter and it helps forecast the future then use it. Persuasion works; facts, logic, reason - don't. 24/7 news doesn't either. Nor does cynicism or nihilism. No one else looked at the election through Adam's filter. Saying Trump won because he was the most persuasive is a like saying the Eagles won because they scored more points than the Pats - a tautology. That's not Win Bigly Win Bigly tells you how and why Trump was more persuasive. Why his slogan and put downs killed and Hilliary's were DOA. . Adams draws heavily on Robert Cialdini - whom he calls the Godzilla of Persuasion. Cialdini is Godzilla. Influence should be required reading for high school students. Here's my review of Cialdini's followup to Influence - Pre-Suasion https://medium.com/@Dave.Nash.33/yell... Influnce and Pre-Suasion have more case studies and semi-scientific proof. Cialdini is a professor and has written academic stuff in between 1984 (Influnce) and 2017 (Pre-Suasion), but when he writes to a mass audience he's more lower common denominator, like McDonalds. Adams gave us Dilbert. His writing is funny and more interesting. He only has one case study, and that can lend itself to being a fanboy of the subject. He also pads his work by recycling his best blog posts, but that does lend credibility because he wrote those things during and not after the 2016 campaign. And lot of people don't like him because he supported Trump. But Adams does enough Trump bashing to make him seem objective. It comes back to filters. I mostly ignored the media coverage of the election, especially the Republican primary. The 24/7 cable news filter is a bad filter. No credible pundit predicted Trump's win. Silver giving him a 2% chance doesn't count for much. This filter is also often wrong on the stock market and predicting the NCAA tournament bracket, college football games, etc. So why do people follow this? As bad as the 24/7 news filter is making his first year, Trump's still the favorite in 2020. That 24/7 filter is just reinforcing the problem - it's the confirmation bias (another big point from Adams) every time Trump does something stupid it confirms the perception that he's stupid, every bad news piece confirms the perception that he has no chance in 2020, if that's the Dems perception they are going to lose again. Adams writes that 1 out 3 bad headlines is bad, 25 out of 25 bad headlines is good. The accumulation of stories just numbs and suppresses turn out. His base is happy with the things he's done. They don't want him to ban guns and don't care if he's had affairs with porn stars, that probably helps him more than it hurts. Cognitive dissonance is another of Adam's big topics - reality doesn't match your expectations so you make wild excuses. Such as Trump won but he cheated because of Russia, Facebook, Voter Suppression, and the electoral college. Guess what? Life isn't fair, as Adams says. Those are still going to be factors in 2020 so cognitive dissonance isn't helping. Read this book, win bigly or big league.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ione

    If you read this book be ready for the ride! First, I must say my biggest struggle with this book was the authors ego. He makes a point that to set the stage to be persuasive you should,"Broadcast your credentials in a way that appears natural and not braggy. People admire talent but they hate bragging." I would encourage Mr. Adams to take his own advice. Second, no matter which side of the political field you lean towards, there is something in this book for you. The author frequently repeats th If you read this book be ready for the ride! First, I must say my biggest struggle with this book was the authors ego. He makes a point that to set the stage to be persuasive you should,"Broadcast your credentials in a way that appears natural and not braggy. People admire talent but they hate bragging." I would encourage Mr. Adams to take his own advice. Second, no matter which side of the political field you lean towards, there is something in this book for you. The author frequently repeats this is not about politics but rather the skill of persuasion. It is difficult to stay in that realm of objectivity at times but you must do so if you really want expand your view of the world. Otherwise, you will simply use this book to validate your current view of the political realm. If you are a die hard Clinton supporter this book will probably just give you more ammunition to hate Trump and all his minions. SUGGESTION: Swallow a Xanax with a glass of wine before reading. If you are a hard core Trump fan this book will probably make you swoon with pride for your new cutting edge President. SUGGESTION: As you read about the Master Persuader (the authors description of The Don), each time you see the word 'persuader' replace it with the synonym 'manipulator'. Doing so may, just may, give you a whole new perspective on your role in Trump's world. The difference between these two words....INTENT. Was Trump's intention to sway your opinion to benefit you... or himself? Things that make you go hmmmm!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This book does a great job of identifying and analyzing the persuasive techniques used, consciously or unconsciously, by President Trump in the 2016 election. Independent of how one feels about Trump as a politician, or any intellectual analysis of his positions on issues, Adams shows how he used language and presence to convince millions of people to vote for him. It is a persuasive case (heh) and implies this kind of candidacy will be the default in the future. The book does kind of fall apart This book does a great job of identifying and analyzing the persuasive techniques used, consciously or unconsciously, by President Trump in the 2016 election. Independent of how one feels about Trump as a politician, or any intellectual analysis of his positions on issues, Adams shows how he used language and presence to convince millions of people to vote for him. It is a persuasive case (heh) and implies this kind of candidacy will be the default in the future. The book does kind of fall apart toward the end (when it turns into “why Scott Adams endorsed HRC, then Trump, then Johnson, then Trump again” — I didn’t realize the estate tax was such a big deal to him. But overall, a worthwhile book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Martijn Reintjes

    WOW, Scott Adams (the writer) is so full of himself that it makes it almost impossible to work yourself through the book. He does give an interesting take on why Trump won the elections. But instead of Trump, he made the book all about himself and how he saw what was coming (and maybe even caused it). I was hoping to learn a bit about persuasion from the book, but all the "lessons" are so huff-puff branded and self-encompassing (for the author) that you really have to dig hard to distill them. If y WOW, Scott Adams (the writer) is so full of himself that it makes it almost impossible to work yourself through the book. He does give an interesting take on why Trump won the elections. But instead of Trump, he made the book all about himself and how he saw what was coming (and maybe even caused it). I was hoping to learn a bit about persuasion from the book, but all the "lessons" are so huff-puff branded and self-encompassing (for the author) that you really have to dig hard to distill them. If you like to sit next to your self-absorbed teenage cousin during family dinners and hear her go on and on about herself, then this is the book for you!

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    There's an awesome 200-page book spread throughout this acceptable 300-page book. (3.5 stars) There's an awesome 200-page book spread throughout this acceptable 300-page book. (3.5 stars)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicky Billou

    This is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of persuasion. I am a professional persuader, and as such am keen on honing my edge. Scott's book helped me do just that. If you sell for a living, read this book. If you litigate for a living, read this book. If you write for a living, read this book. If you need to win elections for a living, read this book. This is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of persuasion. I am a professional persuader, and as such am keen on honing my edge. Scott's book helped me do just that. If you sell for a living, read this book. If you litigate for a living, read this book. If you write for a living, read this book. If you need to win elections for a living, read this book.

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