Adams in June 2007
June 8, 1957 |
Windham, New York, U.S.
His Dilbert series came to national prominence through the downsizing period in 1990s America and was then distributed worldwide. Adams worked in various roles at big businesses before he became a full-time cartoonist in 1995. He writes in a satirical, often sarcastic, way about the social and mental landscape of white-collar workers in modern business corporations.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Publications
- 5 Awards
- 6 Coined phrases
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Scott Raymond Adams was born in 1957 in Windham, New York, the son of Virginia (née Vining) and Paul Adams. Adams is of half German descent. He also has English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch and "a small amount" of Native American ancestry.
He grew up a big fan of the Peanuts comics, and started drawing his own comics at the age of six. He also became a fan of Mad magazine, and began spending long hours honing his drawing talent, winning a competition at the age of eleven.
In 1968, he was rejected for an arts school and decided to pursue a career in law. Adams graduated valedictorian at Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School in 1975, with a class size of 39. He remained in the area and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Hartwick College in 1979. In his senior year, a vehicle breakdown almost forced him to spend a night in the snow, causing him to vow never to see a snowflake again. He took a one-way trip to California a few months after his graduation.
Adams worked closely with telecommunications engineers at Crocker National Bank in San Francisco between 1979 and 1986. Upon joining the organization, he entered a management training program after being held at gunpoint twice in four months as a teller. Over the years, his positions included management trainee, computer programmer, budget analyst, commercial lender, product manager, and supervisor. He earned an MBA in economics and management from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.
Adams created "Dilbert" during this period; the name came from ex-boss Mike Goodwin. Dogbert, originally named Dildog, was loosely based on his family's deceased pet beagle Lucy. Submissions to various publications of both Dilbert and non-Dilbert comic panels failed to win publication. These included The New Yorker and Playboy. However, an inspirational letter from a fan persuaded Adams to keep trying.
He worked at Pacific Bell between 1986 and June 1995; the personalities he encountered there became the inspiration for many of his Dilbert characters. Adams first published Dilbert with United Media in 1989, while still employed at Pacific Bell. He had to draw his cartoons at 4 a.m. in order to work a full day at the company. His first paycheck for Dilbert was a monthly royalty cheque of $368.62. Gradually, Dilbert became more popular, and was published by 100 newspapers in 1991 and 400 by 1994. Adams attributes his success to his idea of including his e-mail address in the panels, thus facilitating feedback from readers.
Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta invited Adams to impersonate a management consultant, which he did wearing a wig and false mustache. He tricked Logitech managers into adopting a mission statement that Adams described as "so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever". That year, he won the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year and Best Newspaper Comic Strip of 1997, the most prestigious awards in the field.
In 1998, Dilbert began as a TV series, but was canceled in 2000. By 2000, the comic was in 2,000 newspapers in 57 countries and 19 languages.
Finally, I got the call. "You're number one." I still haven't popped the champagne. I just raise the bar for what would be the right moment, and tell myself how tasty it will be if I ever accomplish something special in my work. Apparently the thing inside me that makes me work so hard is the same thing that keeps me unsatisfied.
Adams was a fan of the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, and he appeared in the season 4 episode "Moments of Transition" as a character named "Mr. Adams" who hires former head of security Michael Garibaldi to locate his megalomaniacal dog and cat. He also had a cameo in "Review", a third-season episode of the TV series NewsRadio, in which Matthew Brock (played by Andy Dick) becomes an obsessed Dilbert fan. Adams is credited as "Guy in line behind Dave and Joe in first scene". Later in the episode, the character Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) hires an actor to play Scott Adams in a trick to bring Matthew back to work at the station.
In April 2011, he used sockpuppet accounts to comment on Metafilter and Reddit threads, defending himself under an anonymous alias and attacking his critics. In March 2011, Adams posted a blog post in which he wrote, "The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently.", following with "I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I'm not saying women are similar to either group. I'm saying that a man's best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar".
On April 6, 2017, Adams posted an article on his website claiming that the fatal Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria on April 4 was likely to be a "manufactured event" designed to provoke a response.
Adams is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and a former member of Mensa.
In recent years, Adams has had two notable health problems. Since late 2004, he has suffered from a reemergence of his focal dystonia which has affected his ability to draw for lengthy periods on paper, though it causes no real problem now that he draws the comic on a graphics tablet. He also suffered from spasmodic dysphonia, a condition that causes the vocal cords to behave in an abnormal manner. He recovered from this condition temporarily but in July 2008 underwent surgery to rewire the nerve connections to his vocal cord. The operation was successful, and Adams's voice is now completely functional.
Adams is a vegetarian and trained as a hypnotist. He credits his own success to affirmations, including Dilbert's success and achieving a ninety-fourth percentile on a difficult qualification exam for business school, among other unlikely events. He states that the affirmations give him focus. He has described a method which he has used that he says gave him success. He pictured in his mind what he wanted, and wrote it down 15 times a day on a piece of paper. In addition to his cartoon work, he has written two books on religion, God's Debris (2001), and The Religion War (2004). God's Debris lays out a theory of Pandeism, in which God blows itself up to see what will happen, which becomes the cause of our universe.
Adams married Shelly Miles in 2006. She has two children named Savannah and Justin Miles. In a February 2014 blog posting he revealed that he is no longer married. Kristina Basham, a model and baker, is Adams girlfriend who he lives with. She has two daughters, and is vice president of WhenHub.
Adams has often commented on political matters. Despite this, in 2016 he wrote on his blog "I don't vote and I am not a member of a political party." In 2007, he suggested that Michael Bloomberg would make a good presidential candidate.
Before the 2008 presidential election he said, "On social issues, I lean Libertarian, minus the crazy stuff", but said in December 2011 that, if he were president, he would do whatever Bill Clinton advised him to do because that "would lead to policies that are a sensible middle ground". In a blog post from September 2017, Adams considers himself to be "left of Bernie [Sanders], but with a preference for plans that can work."
2016 United States presidential election
In 2015, although Adams stated that he would not endorse a candidate for the 2016 elections, he repeatedly praised Donald Trump's persuasion skills, especially on his blog, extensively detailing what he called Trump's "talent stack". Adams correctly predicted that Trump would win the Republican nomination. He also predicted that Trump would win the general election in a huge landslide,; in the 2016 election campaign's final weeks, except for a temporary reversal in early October, Adams repeatedly said that Trump would win. Adams wrongly predicted the result for the Iowa caucus voting.
Adams has shared on his blog and elsewhere that men may feel emasculated by the nomination of a female candidate for president. Of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, he said the following: "...If you’re an undecided voter, and male, you’re seeing something different. You’re seeing a celebration that your role in society is permanently diminished. And it’s happening in an impressive venue that was, in all likelihood, designed and built mostly by men."
However, Adams officially announced his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in June 2016, stating that Clinton had paired "the idea of President Trump with nuclear disaster, racism, Hitler, the Holocaust, and whatever else makes you tremble in fear" and that he (Adams) would be "a top-ten assassination target" because he "wrote about his (Donald Trump's) persuasion skills in positive terms."
Adams later said that his endorsement of Hillary Clinton was purely out of fear for his own life, stating he had received direct and indirect death threats. Adams goes on to say that writing about Donald Trump ended his speaking career and reduced his income by about 40%.
By July 2016, he routinely placed variants of a disclaimer at the bottom of his blog posts:
"Note: I endorsed Hillary Clinton – for my personal safety – because I live in California. It isn’t safe to be viewed as a Trump supporter where I live. My politics don’t align with either candidate, but backing Clinton reduces my odds of dying at the hands of my fellow citizens. (And yes, I am 100% serious. It just happens to be funny by coincidence.)"
However, in late September, Adams officially switched his endorsement from Clinton to Trump. Among his primary reasons for the switch were his respect for Trump's persuasion skills over Clinton's, Clinton's proposal to raise the Estate Tax to 65%, and his concerns over Clinton's health. In mid-October, Adams switched his endorsement again, with a post titled "Why I Endorse Gary Johnson (this week)", and ending with the promotional line, "You might enjoy my book because you're not sure if I'm really endorsing Gary Johnson or just saying so to protect my brand." In late October, Adams switched his endorsement to Trump once again, citing the Clinton campaign's bullying tactics that had "[turned] Americans against each other".
- Always Postpone Meetings with Time-Wasting Morons (1992)
- Shave the Whales (1994)
- Bring Me the Head of Willy the Mailboy! (1995)
- It's Obvious You Won't Survive by Your Wits Alone (1995)
- Still Pumped from Using the Mouse (1996)
- Fugitive From the Cubicle Police (1996)
- Casual Day Has Gone Too Far (1997)
- I'm Not Anti-Business, I'm Anti-Idiot (1998)
- Journey to Cubeville (1998)
- Don't Step in the Leadership (1999)
- Random Acts of Management (2000)
- Excuse Me While I Wag (2001)
- When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View? (2001)
- Another Day in Cubicle Paradise (2002)
- All Dressed Down And Nowhere To Go (2002) (Still Pumped from Using the Mouse, Casual Day Has Gone Too Far, and I'm Not Anti-Business, I'm Anti-Idiot combined)
- When Body Language Goes Bad (2003)
- Words You Don't Want to Hear During Your Annual Performance Review (2003)
- Don't Stand Where the Comet is Assumed to Strike Oil (2004)
- The Fluorescent Light Glistens Off Your Head (2005)
- Thriving on Vague Objectives (2005)
- Try Rebooting Yourself (2006)
- Positive Attitude (2007)
- This is the Part Where You Pretend to Add Value (2008)
- Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert (2008)
- Freedom's Just Another Word for People Finding Out You're Useless (2009)
- 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box (2009)
- I'm Tempted to Stop Acting Randomly (2010)
- How's That Underling Thing Working Out for You? (2011)
- Teamwork Means You Can't Pick the Side that's Right (2012)
- Your New Job Title Is "Accomplice" (2013)
- I Sense a Coldness to Your Mentoring (2013)
- Go Add Value Someplace Else (2014)
- Optimism Sounds Exhausting (2015)
- I'm No Scientist, But I Think Feng Shui Is Part of the Answer (2016)
- Dilbert Gets Re-accommodated (2017)
Special compilations (annotated, favorites, etc.)
- Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies: Dogbert's Big Book of Business (1991)
- Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless (1993)
- Seven Years of Highly Defective People (1997)
- Dilbert Gives You the Business (1999)
- A Treasury of Sunday Strips: Version 00 (2000)
- What Do You Call a Sociopath in a Cubicle? Answer: A Coworker (2002)
- It's Not Funny If I Have to Explain It (2004)
- What Would Wally Do? (2006)
- Cubes and Punishment (2007)
- Problem Identified: And You're Probably Not Part of the Solution (2010)
- Your Accomplishments Are Suspiciously Hard to Verify (2011)
- I Can't Remember If We're Cheap or Smart (2012)
Other Dilbert books
- Telling It Like It Isn't (1996)
- You Don't Need Experience If You've Got Attitude (1996)
- Access Denied: Dilbert's Quest for Love in the Nineties (1996)
- Conversations With Dogbert (1996)
- Work is a Contact Sport (1997)
- The Boss: Nameless, Blameless and Shameless (1997)
- The Dilbert Bunch (1997)
- No You'd Better Watch Out (1997)
- Please Don't Feed The Egos (1997)
- Random Acts of Catness (1998)
- You Can't Schedule Stupidity (1998)
- Dilbert Meeting Book Exceeding Tech Limits (1998)
- Trapped In A Dilbert World: Book Of Days (1998)
- Work—The Wally Way (1999)
- Alice in Blunderland (1999)
- Dilbert Sudoku Comic Digest: 200 Puzzles Plus 50 Classic Dilbert Cartoons (2008)
- Dilbert Newsletter (since 1994)
- The Dilbert Principle (1996)
- Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook (1996)
- The Dilbert Future (1997)
- The Joy of Work (1998)
- Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel (2002)
- Slapped Together: The Dilbert Business Anthology (2002) (The Dilbert Principle, The Dilbert Future, and The Joy of Work, published together in one book)
- Dilbert's Guide to the Rest of Your Life: Dispatches from Cubicleland (2007)
- God's Debris (2001)
- The Religion War (2004)
- Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Ignores Helpful Advice (2007)
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life (2013)
- Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter (2017)
Adams has received recognition for his work, including the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and Newspaper Comic Strip Award for 1997 for his work on Dilbert. He had also been climbing the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) rankings of the 50 most influential management thinkers placing 31st in 2001, 27th in 2003, and 12th in 2005, but fell to 21st in 2007. He did not place in 2009.
He received the NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language for his participation in "Mission Impertinent" (San Jose Mercury News West Magazine, November 16, 1997).
Adams has coined or popularized several words and phrases over the years, such as:
- BOCTAOE (But Of Course There Are Obvious Exceptions)
- DMDD Dance monkey! Dance! Dance!
- The Dilbert principle
- PHB (Pointy-Haired Boss)
- Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters
"Cow-orker" was a preexisting word from Usenet that Adams popularized through his newsletter. Similarly, "Induhvidual" gained popularity through the newsletter, though it was coined by a reader.
- "Virginia Adams obituary". Ancestry. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
- Adams, Scott (1999). El Futuro de Dilbert: Como Prosperar en el Siglo XXI Gracias a la Esupidez [Dilbert's future: how to prosper in the XXI Century thanks to stupidity] (in Spanish). Ediciones Granica. p. 5. ISBN 978-84-7577615-6. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
- Adams, Scott. "Let's Talk About Hitler". Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- Adams, Scott. "Immigration". Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Adams, Scott. "I'm part Native American". Twitter. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
- Adams, Scott. "Joe Rogan Experience No. 874". You tube. Google. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- Adams, Scott (2008). Dilbert 2.0: 20 years of Dilbert. Jamaica City: Andrews McMeel. ISBN 0-7407-7735-1.
- "About Scott Adams". Dilbert. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "Scott Adams MBA 86". Haas School of Business. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
- O'Brien, Tia (November 16, 1997). "Mission: Impertinent". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
- "The Dilbert Blog". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
- Moments of Transition on IMDb
- Review on IMDb
- "I'm a What?". Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Teeman, Tim (April 2, 2011). "Dilbert drawn into row over fightback by men's lib". The Times.
- ""Dilbert" Creator's Blog Makes Women Furious". Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- "About Us". eatatstaceys.com. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- "Trump's Far-Right Supporters Turn on Him Over Syria Strike". The New York Times. April 7, 2017.
- Adams, Scott (April 6, 2017). "The Syrian Gas Attack Persuasion".
- Adams, Scott (September 29, 2008). "Famous People Lists". Dilbert Blog. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
- Sordyl, Samantha (May 10, 2005). "Scott Adams, Drawing the Line". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
- Zachary Kanin (October 29, 2008). "An Interview with the "Dilbert" Cartoonist Scott Adams". The New Yorker. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
- "'Dilbert' creator recovers from rare disorder". MSNBC. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Mentioned in Dilbert: A Treasury of Sunday Strips
- Mentioned in The Dilbert Future
- Robert Frank. "Can You Get Rich by Visualizing Yourself Rich?". The Wall Street Journal.
- Knujon Mapson, "A Brief History of Pandeism," Pandeism: An Anthology (2017), p. 31-32.
- Scott Adams (February 18, 2014). "What's the Goal with Robots Read News?". The Scott Adams Blog. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Winter, Caroline (March 22, 2017). "How Donald Trump Hypnotized Scott Adams". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on March 26, 2017.
- Scott Adams (March 24, 2016). "Who's Afraid of Donald Trump?". Scott Adams' Blog. Retrieved March 26, 2016.
- Scott Adams (May 16, 2007). "Bloomberg for President?". The Dilbert Blog. Archived from the original on May 19, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Commentary: Dilbert guy's economic poll on McCain, Obama - CNN". CNN. September 16, 2008. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- Scott Adams (December 5, 2011). "The Persuasive Candidate". The Dilbert Blog. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "How a Silicon Valley Investor Does Leadership". Scott Adams' Blog. September 21, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
- Scott Adams (October 17, 2012). "Firing Offense". The Dilbert Blog. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
- "The Trump Master Persuader Index and Reading List".
- "Dilbert Creator Scott Adams on Donald Trump's "Linguistic Kill Shots"".
- "The Trump Talent Stack". blog.dilbert.com.
- Suebsaeng, Asawin (September 14, 2015). "'Dilbert' Creator on How Trump Is Like The Founding Fathers & Jesus". The Daily Beast.
- "The era of women". Scott Adams' Blog. October 13, 2016.
- "The bully party". Scott Adams' Blog. October 25, 2016.
Today I put Trump's odds of winning in a landslide back to 98%.
- "The persuasion scorecard". Scott Adams' Blog. November 2, 2016.
I predict Trump wins in a landslide
- "I don't want a government job". Scott Adams' Blog. November 6, 2016.
On election day, should Trump win as I predict, I ask for Trump supporters to stay cool when the predictable riots erupt.
- "News Flash: Cartoonist Gets One Wrong!".
- "Selling Past the Close - Scott Adams' Blog". Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- "My Endorsement for President of the United States".
- "When Persuasion Turns Deadly".
- "When Persuasion Turns Deadly".
- "The Crook Versus the Racist".
- "Why I Switched My Endorsement from Clinton to Trump". Scott Adams' Blog. September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
- "Why I Endorse Gary Johnson (this week)". Scott Adams' Blog. October 9, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- "The Bully Party". Scott Adams' Blog. October 25, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- Ernst, Douglas (February 6, 2017). "'Dilbert' creator: 'I'm ending my support of UC Berkeley'". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
- "2001 Results". The Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "2003 Results". The Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "2005 Results". The Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "2007Results". The Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "2009 Results". The Thinkers 50. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- Philosotainment, The Dilbert Blog, February 2007.
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featuring Scott Adams
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- Adams, Scott (February 2006). "Answers to Your Questions". Dilbert blog. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006.
- PR efforts for the October 2013 release of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big