Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Scott Adams, fully Scott Raymond Adams

American Creator of Dilbert Comic Strip and Author

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."

"It's a bust. Tuna's not cheap and salmon's too high."

"A company with a good product rarely needs a Mission Statement. Effective employees will suggest improvements without being on a Quality Team. Nobody will miss the Employee Recognition Committee if the managers are effective and routinely recognize good performance."

"If you become a nuisance ... they're not going to like you."

"A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don't sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it?s a system. If you're waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it's a goal. If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or set new goals and reenter the cycle of permanent pre-success failure. All I'm suggesting is that thinking of goals and systems as very different concepts has power. Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their system. That's a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction."

"A brain surgeon would tell you that a specific part of the brain controls the ability to love. If it?s damaged, people are incapable of love, incapable of caring about others."

"A culture of efficiency starts with the everyday things that you can directly control: clothes, meeting lengths, conversations with co-workers, and the like. The way you approach these everyday activities establishes the culture that will drive your fundamental activities."

"A fully-occupied cubicle is 70 percent air. Most of the unused airspace will be driven out of the design of future work areas. I see the workstation of the future looking like a high-tech hairdresser's chair. You'll have your computer built into the base of the chair and the keyboard swinging into your lap from the side."

"A God who knew the answer to that question would indeed know everything and have everything. For that reason he would be unmotivated to do anything or create anything. There would be no purpose to act in any way whatsoever. But a God who had one nagging question?what happens if I cease to exist??might be motivated to find the answer in order to complete his knowledge. ... The fact that we exist is proof that God is motivated to act in some way. And since only the challenge of self-destruction could interest an omnipotent God, it stands to reason that we... are God's debris."

"A good metaphor can make any bad idea sound good."

"A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. It?s what makes a person take on challenges that others write off as too risky."

"A woman needs to be told that you would sacrifice anything for her. A man needs to be told he is being useful. When the man or woman strays from that formula, the other loses trust. When trust is lost, communication falls apart."

"Adults are starved for a kind word. When you understand the power of honest praise (as opposed to bullshitting, flattery, and sucking up), you realize that withholding it borders on immoral. If you see something that impresses you, a decent respect to humanity insists you voice your praise."

"A lot of people ... tend to forget there is someone in the suit."

"Accept that some days you`re the pigeon, and some days you`re the statue."

"A rental car is basically an ashtray on wheels."

"According to this survey the compensation here is 'competitive'."

"All great ideas look like bad ideas to people who are losers. It's always good to test a new idea with known losers to make sure they don't like it."

"Advertising ? Good advertising can make people buy your product even if it sucks. That's important, because it takes the pressure off you to make good products. A dollar spent on brainwashing is more cost-effective than a dollar spent on product improvement. Obviously, there's a minimum quality that every product has to achieve. It should be able to withstand the shipping process without becoming unrecognizable... Males are predictable creatures. That makes it easy to craft a marketing message that appeals to them. All successful advertising campaigns that target men include one of these two messages: (1) This product will help you get dates with bikini models. (2) This product will save you time and money, which you'll need if you want to date bikini models. Compared to simpleminded, brutish men, women are more intricate and complex... Specifically, your message has to say this: (1) If you buy this product you'll be a bikini model."

"Alice, I care about you. But only enough to improve your morale, not enough to be illegal in any way. So, tell me about your health in the least specific way possible."

"All vendor demos are boring. It's the law, I think."

"Alpha Geek ? The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group."

"Always Postpone Meetings with Time-wasting Morons"

"Am I getting smart with you? How would you know?"

"Always remember that as long as other people are gullible, there's no limit to what you can achieve."

"And bring me a hard copy of the Internet so I can do some serious surfing."

"An insane person believes his world is consistent. If he believes the government is trying to kill him, he will see ample evidence of his belief in the so-called real world. He will be wrong, but his evidence is no better or worse than your evidence that it rained this morning. Both of you will be converting evidence of the present into impressions stored in your minds and you will both be certain your evidence is solid and irrefutable. Your mind will mold the facts and shape the clues until it all fits."

"And our product has a 30 Terabit RAM cache, just like your company needs. Tell him, Dilbert." "It has no RAM." "And it's capable of detecting Tachion field emissions." "You're confusing us with Star Trek again.""

"And when you get that confirmation, it would instantly become the past itself. So in effect, you would be using the past, which does not exist, to confirm something else from the past. And if you repeat the process a thousand times, with a thousand different pieces of evidence, together they would still be nothing but impressions of the past supporting other impressions of the past. [About finding evidence of the past]"

"And then something interesting happened. It?s a phenomenon that people in creative jobs experience often, but it might be unfamiliar to the rest of you. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two totally unrelated thoughts? separated by topic, time, and distance? came together in my head."

"Anonymous Email to Scott Adams ? Our company solicited ideas for cost cutting. Someone decided that we could save "X" amount of dollars by eliminating feminine hygiene products in the women's bathrooms. Our new gung-ho personnel director decided that this was really neat, and announced the new proclamation to the whole company via email. Needless to say, the women in the company flamed the guy to a well-done crisp. The amount of estimated savings was close to the total amount we pay the janitorial service, which provides these products for no extra cost. The email got hotter: "The idea is sexist," "We should get rid of the coffee machines," "Eliminate executive bonuses..." What finally shut everyone up and got the procedure reversed was an email from a manager who told about a female sales exec she knows. When she is involved in a deal with a prospective client, she always checks the feminine hygiene supplies in that company's bathrooms. if the supplies are missing, she knows the company is going down the tube."

"Anonymous Email to Scott Adams ? You know all about companies trying to get 'lean and mean'? A friend says her company has now transcended lean and mean. Now it's 'skinny and pissed'."

"Anonymous Email to Scott Adams ? A manager suggested a way to keep meetings on time. For every minute late to a meeting the tardy person has to contribute $1 for every person present and kept waiting ($ = persons x minutes). This did not last long as soon as the instigator of this policy arrived 40 minutes late to a meeting with 30 people."

"Announcements ? The purpose of a company announcement is to convey the message that something is happening ? something that you aren't important enough to be informed about in any meaningful detail. But if you're clever, you can sometimes read between the lines and understand the true meaning, as in this example:" "Tim will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Note the absence of key phrases such as 'we regret' or 'years of dedicated service'. And notice that his new opportunity is not called 'exciting'." "I think you're reading a little too much into that announcement." "No, I'm reading the footnote.""

"As a fan, I'm distraught, but as a cartoonist looking at new vacant spaces in 2,400 newspapers, well, behind me, my cats are dancing a conga line."

"As long as there are annoying people in the world, I won't run out of material."

"Appeal To Greed ? You can short-circuit the two or three neurons that people use for common sense by appealing their greed. Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating and religion."

"As a rule, anything in a binder has very little value, except as building material."

"As some of you may know, my main profession is cartooning. It's a challenge for a cartoonist to write a whole book. Cartoonists are trained to be brief."

"As a rule, I don't like to laugh at the misfortune of others. The exception to that rule is if it's really, really funny."

"As network administrator I can take down the network with one keystroke. It's just like being a doctor but without getting gooky stuff on my paws."

"As you know, the best way to solve a problem is to identify the core belief that causes the problem; then mock that belief until the people who hold it insist that you heard them wrong."

"Ask a deeply religious Christian if he?d rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don?t seem so bad lately."

"As you probably know, all the good product names have been trademarked by companies who are competent." "Competent? How are we going to compete with that?""

"Asok the Intern: "I have a question about this document marked "Proprietary". If I spent my whole life searching, do you think I would find anyone who would care about it?""

"At some point in your career you will be asked to train a new person to take over your job. It would be embarrassing if your co-workers found out that your job can be learned in two hours. That's why, as a weasel, you want to leave out vital information in the training. You need to instill in your trainee a feeling that he or she knew what to do while having no actual competence. Ideally you want your trainee to make an embarrassing and costly mistake right out of the gate so people will long for the good old days of you."

"Avoiding Criticism ? The best way to avoid criticism is to establish a reputation for being irrational and belligerent at the slightest excuse."

"Avoid career traps such as pursuing jobs that require you to sell your limited supply of time while preparing you for nothing better."

"Awareness does not come from receiving new information. It comes from rejecting old information."

"Awareness is about unlearning. It is the recognition that you don?t know as much as you thought you knew."