The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century

The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century

by Scott Adams

ISBN: 9780887309106

Publisher HarperBusiness

Published in Comics & Graphic Novels/Comic Strips, Comics & Graphic Novels/Graphic Novels, Business & Investing/Business Culture

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Sample Chapter

Chapter One

How to Predict the Future

Some people try to predict the future by assuming current trends will continue. This is a bad method. For example, if you applied that forecasting method to a puppy, you'd predict that the puppy would continue growing larger and larger until one day-in a fit of uncontrolled happiness-its wagging tail would destroy a major metropolitan area. But that rarely happens, thanks to the National Guard.

The future never follows trends, because of three rules I have named after myself in order to puff up my importance.

Adam's Rule of the Unexpected

Something unexpected always happens to wreck any good trend. Here are some examples to prove my point:

Good Trend Unexpected Bad Thing

Computers allow us to work Computers generate 300
100 percent faster percent more work.

Women get more political power.Women are as dumb as men.

Popular music continues to get better.I get old.

Adam's Rule of Self-Defeating Prophecies

Whenever humans notice a bad trend, they try to change it. The prediction of doom causes people to do things differently and avoid the doom. Any doom that can be predicted won't happen.

Here are some examples of dooms that people predicted and how the indomitable human spirit rose to the challenge and thwarted the prediction:

Prediction of Doom Human Response

Population will grow faster than Scientists realize you can callfood supply.just about anything a "meat patty."

Petroleum reserves will be Scientists discover oil in their depleted in twenty years.own hair.

Communism will spread to the All Communists become
rest of the world.ballerinas and defect.

I might have some of the details wrong; I'm working from memory here. But the point is that none of those predictions came true once we started worrying about them. That's the way it always works.

Adam's Rule of Logical Limits

All trends have logical limits. For example, computers continue to shrink in size, but that trend will stop as soon as you hear this report on CNN:

This just in. A computer systems administrator sneezed, and his spray destroyed the entire military computing hardware of North America, leading to the conquest of the United States by Haitian bellhops. More on that later, but first our report on the healing powers of herbal tea.

At that point, we'll say, "Hey, maybe those computers were too small." That will be the end of the shrinking computer trend.

If all trends end, what can we look at to predict the future? There are some things in life so consistent that they are like immutable laws of human nature. You can predict most of the future by looking at these immutable laws and applying logic.

Immutable Laws of Human Nature

  • Stupidity

  • Selfishness

  • Horniness

Those are the things that will never change, no matter what else does. People don't change their basic nature, they just accumulate more stuff upon which they can apply their stupidity, selfishness, and horniness. From this perspective, the future isn't hard to predict.

I realize that by telling you my secrets I'm not only opening my kimono, but I'm also doing jumping jacks in front of your picture window, if you catch my visual gist. But I'm not worried about you learning my secrets, because I'll always be one step ahead of you.

Prediction Two

In the future, you will wish I had never put the image in your head of me doing jumping jacks in an open kimono.


Excerpted from "The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Business Stupidity in the 21st Century" by Scott Adams. Copyright © 1998 by Scott Adams. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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