Review: Scott Adams *Win Bigly*

Posted by jdg 8 months ago to Books
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This is not a book of Dilbert comics (though it has a few), but a serious work of merit. It is the best and most thorough textbook about the art of persuading people that I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't put it down.

Objectivists may have issues with the book because a lot of its talking points sound like pragmatism. But it gives great insight into how almost everybody actually thinks, including ourselves, and how you can convince them to buy whatever widget, policy, or candidate you want to sell.

He uses lots of examples from both sides of the 2016 presidential election. He goes through everything both major candidates (and some minor ones) did right and wrong, and how much of an effect each one likely had on the result.

11 out of 10. A must read.


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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Scott Adams' insights into the art of persuasion may be spot on, but his philosophy is anything but. Here are some interesting comparisons between “Win Bigly” and the writings of fictional character Floyd Ferris in “Atlas Shrugged”:

    “The main theme of this book is that humans are not rational. We bounce from one illusion to another, all the while thinking we are seeing something we call reality.” (Win Bigly)

    “What you think you think is an illusion created by your glands, your emotions and, in the last analysis, by the content of your stomach.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “The human brain is not capable of comprehending truth at a deep level.” (Win Bigly)

    “Thought is a primitive superstition. Reason is an irrational idea. The childish notion that we are able to think has been mankind’s costliest error.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “Humans think they are rational, and they think they understand their reality. But they are wrong on both counts.” (Win Bigly)

    “The more certain you feel of your rational conclusions, the more certain you are to be wrong. Your brain being an instrument of distortion, the more active the brain the great the distortion.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

    “Two of my favorite examples are quantum entanglement and the double-slit experiment. I’ll spare you the wonky science, but if you do some reading on these topics, you will quickly learn that the human brain doesn’t have the capacity to understand the nature of reality. (Win Bigly)

    “That gray matter you’re so proud of is like a mirror in an amusement park which transmits to you nothing but distorted signals from a reality forever beyond your grasp.” (Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      All four of those pairs of quotes appear to me to be saying the same thing. In effect the two books agree with each other, or have I got that wrong?
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      • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        In Atlas Shrugged, Floyd Ferris (whose quotes are shown above) was not a hero but rather a character whose philosophy Ayn Rand strongly opposed.
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        • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
          I don't see it as a difference of philosophy (Adams does not claim to have principles) but merely a lack of faith in humans' ability to correctly see the more subtle parts of reality. Her unwavering faith in that ability -- always and everywhere -- seems to me an unwarranted assumption by Rand.
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          • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 3 weeks ago
            The ability to see “the more subtle parts of reality” and the choice to use that ability are two different things. Scott Adams, in fact, is counting on that ability in his efforts to change our minds about how humans think and behave in the “real” world, while simultaneously denying that we are capable of understanding anything about that “real” world. This contradiction does not invalidate his often astute observations about how the human mind can be tricked (or trick itself), but it does invalidate the (implicit) philosophical conclusions he derives from these observations.
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            • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
              If he said we are incapable of understanding the real world, I agree with you that he's wrong. But most people, most of the time, just assume they know what's going on, rather than use their reason. Even a careful observer is sometimes going to miss observing things and draw wrong conclusions. I know I do, and I'm sure I don't catch myself at it every time. The important thing, I think, is Charles Fort's lesson: to pay better attention.
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  • Posted by BrettRocketSci 7 months, 4 weeks ago
    Thanks for the review! I had a serious interest in getting the book but you made it more urgent. Ditto to abaco, I do believe Adams is remarkably perceptive and insightful for what is going on in the world today. He has figured out why Trump is so effective His Periscope commentaries of current events are worth watching more than any cable TV IMO.
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  • Posted by Abaco 8 months ago
    He has been interviewed in two different podcasts I listen to in support of this book release. And, honestly, the guy is brilliant. I need to get this book.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 8 months ago
    Thanks! My local library has it on order and I am number 1 in line. (I got Adm. McCraven's Make Your Bed from the library, then bought three copies. Just to say...)
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