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on 6 October 2001
..This is not another book of cartoons. If all you want is a comic book, or if you simply have a limited attention span, then look elsewhere.
The 'Dilbert' strip has satirised management stupidity for many years, and has done so very accurately. Most of the ideas come from the e-mails sent to author Scott Adams by readers relating real life stories of office life.
What Adams has done here is to distil the wisdom that comes from observing these absurdities. This book doesn't just poke fun, it offers commonsense advice about how to run an office more efficiently and more humanely. Humour is a very effective vehicle for teaching these lessons, and the result here is arguably the best book ever written about management.
Most management books are rubbish. They are humourless and, as often as not, merely promote some passing fad in management theory. You always see them at airport bookstalls ("20 ways to do this" or "10 magic formulas for that"). If you are a manager in an office, do yourself a favour and buy this instead. Also read the sequels, "Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook" and "The Dilbert Future". You'll have a good laugh (sometimes, painfully, at your own expense) and, who knows, you might even become a better manager.
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The reason for the remarkable success of Scott Adams' Dilbert cartoon strip is obvious; he has captured the flavor of modern business and held it up to the light of truth, revealing all of its quirks, crazy strategies, and downright insanity for all to see. Dilbert is the working man's hero; while we toil away in our little cubicles, waiting for quitting time and weekends, Dilbert and his pals are fighting back – well, not fighting, but they are doing all kinds of complaining, the same complaining most office workers do, albeit not so forthrightly. The Dilbert Principle is the book that made a cult comic strip a treasury of American humor; taken outside the frames of his heralded daily comic strip, Scott Adams is even funnier and more insightful than even many a Dilbert fan would have thought possible. He's been there, and he knows what he is talking about.
In this bestselling book, Adams basically defines corporate culture; telling us many things we already know yet doing so in a fashion that is brilliantly funny. His explanation for the craziness of business today is a simple one: People are idiots, which is something I've been saying that for years. Adams includes himself among the idiot population. We all do stupid things from time to time, and those who do more stupid things than others wind up in corner offices with windows and a secretary while the majority of folks toil away in their sensory deprivation chambers (or cubicles). Adams explains the nature of this beast we call the workplace, illustrating his points with the help of over 400 Dilbert cartoons and reinforcing even the most seemingly inane assumptions he makes with actual case reports of real people who have written to him of their own experiences.
The Dilbert Principle covers almost every aspect of the workplace: management, performance reviews, marketing, business plans, budgets, sales, those awful meetings, projects, etc. He shows you how to get ahead at the expense of your co-workers, delineates the lies of management so that you can be on the lookout for them when they come, defines modern terms such as downsizing in the simple, more direct meanings of days gone by. He describes the process by which one becomes a leader, exposes team-building exercises and group projects as the useless vehicles they almost always are, and provides advice on keeping afloat in the business world by means of hoarding information, avoiding doomed projects, and surviving those you can't avoid; from there, he goes on to offer his knowledge on topics such as: how to participate in a meeting based on the things you want to get out of it, and (as if most of us even need a refresher on this) how to avoid actually working while at work.
The whole book is just brilliant, hysterical satire built on things millions of us know all too well, and one finds oneself nodding or agreeing with far too many of the silliest notions and business practices Adams rakes over the coals. The book is a fountain of knowledge, with each page containing terrific quotes along the lines of three of my favorites: 1) The best thing about the future is that it isn't here yet, 2) The great thing about the truth is that there are so many ways to avoid it without being a "liar," and 3) The only constructive criticism is the kind you do behind people's backs. If you are a Dilbert-type worker (and odds are pretty good that you are), you will find comedy and a sense of comradeship with Dilbert and his cohorts. If you really want to get ahead and assume the increased lack of intelligence needed to become a manager, though, you should pick this book up for one chapter alone: Machiavellian Methods penned by Dogbert himself.
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Books like this really shouldn't be allowed. They impart dangerous information to receptive minds and reveal things about management that a whole industry has been labouring for years to keep hidden.
The chapter on writing your own appraisal, for example, is very, very dangerous. I have never allowed any of my staff to see it, although I did make use of it when preparing my own appraisal for my boss's signature.
Simple tricks like the 'big picture manouvre' are just too good and useful to be dished out in paperback format.
Scott Adams takes 'the Peter Principle' into an entirely new space. Instead of writing about managers who have been promoted to their level of incompetence, he takes on whole corporate cultures which have grown to their level of incompetence. Everybody who has ever recommended 'concentrating our assets across the board' or, indeed, 'zooming in on the big picture', ought to read this book. Everybody who has ever considered punishing staff for having poor morale should read it. And every pointy haired manager who believes that anything he doesn't understand can't be very difficult should read it.
But workers? They should not be allowed to read it. It should be removed from their bookshelves and libraries. People buying this book online should have to prove that they are management grades before they complete their purchases.
Books like this are just too dangerous.
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on 11 January 2003
Most people who work in an office can identify with Dilbert, the pointy-haired boss and all the other characters in the cartoon strip. You won't be disappointed with this collection.
In addition, you get Scott Adams observations on all the usual aspects of life in the workplace (just as funny as the cartoons) and, often the funniest bits, excerpts of e-mails from readers about real-life cubicle idiocy.
Get some relief from the tedium and the madness of working in an office, buy this book.
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on 7 October 2004
Non-stop laughs await the reader of this brilliant work. Scott Adams has an incredible ability to detect the absurd in the world of corporations and management and turn it into entertainment for the masses of cube dwellers who must endure it day after day. I especially enjoyed his analysis of "downsizing" (now called 'rightsizing' in management BS terms) and the way management will package it in the future.
The most surprising part of the book was Scott Adams' description of the principles he would use to run a company starting by getting rid of the HR department! All his ideas actually make a lot of sense and would probably help to make a company more successful.
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on 29 January 1999
A great book ! If you believe that only in your company people without a brain achieve the top management positions, reading this book you'll discover that you share a common problem. This book will let you know about management, human resources, conventions, quality programs: basically it'll teach you about stupidity and things that produce nothing. The most hilarious things are true e-mails from real people. After this book you'll know that "...you're not the only one in the Dilbert Principle...".
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on 26 May 2016
This book is very funny but will also be challenging for anyone working in today's typical company. It has added value in that in gives (and helps teach) a critical perspective that is fundamental to good strategy formulation.

I appreciate that what I have just written sounds .... well, a bit mad but in many years of formulating, communicating and training strategy (see OGSM training on y#utube) I have recommended and distributed this book. I reckon I must have bought and presented 20 or so copies at this stage.
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on 23 August 2016
Awesome book. SO poignant and funny. A great read to lift yourself up after having to deal with all the crappy politics at work (at least if you work in a corporate environment). And comes with some wise and amusing tips on how to handle certain types of people (or at least not get dragged down by them). A real joy
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on 28 January 1999
My work involves helping company leaders identify the causes of "stalled" thinking in the organization. What impresses me about this book is how many of the causes Scott Adams has identified. The man is clearly a great observer of organizations. His crusade against "stalled" thinking (especially by the leaders) also means that others with keen insights send him their observations, as well. Future historians of the American corporation would do better to start with Scott Adams than most of the organizational theory and practice business books that have been written. His humor is excellent, because he is unerring in picking the right balloon to prick. As a management consultant, I regularly reread his chapter on management consultants to be sure that I am not behaving like the ones he describes. Keep these wonderful books and comic strips coming! Be sure to post the strips where they will get the most attention. Maybe you will help someone wake up in your leadership!
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VINE VOICEon 7 July 2005
This book is so real that it is scary. You can tell that Scott Adams has spent time. His description of cube life is still relevant today.
I have been trying to justify the Peter Principle and could not make it fit but after reading this book all things became clear. It is impossible to keep a straight face in meetings with out seeing the different types of personalities doing their thing. I can even anticipate what they are going to say and the reactions.
Usually as most books and movies you recognize everyone but yourself. The most obnoxious person will laugh at his stereotype or just not get the point when it comes to movies and books. However this book is scary in the fact that I could see myself when Scott was describing engineers. And it took a little while to realize what he was talking about the ringing device that knows when to break your concentration.
I am going to leave a copy on QA's desk.
MY next must read is "Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook"
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