Scott Adams Quotes

Most popular Scott Adams Quotes

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
— Scott Adams

art creativity

The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.
— Scott Adams

funny management office

Losers have goals. Winners have systems.
— Scott Adams


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


Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don't believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you've already helped yourself). Reduce daily decisions to routine.

happiness success

In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.


PERSUASION TIP 9 Display confidence (either real or faked) to improve your persuasiveness. You have to believe yourself, or at least appear as if you do, in order to get anyone else to believe.

confidence persuasion

If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power.


It is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation. When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.
— Scott Adams

beliefs God

Life is half delicious yogurt, half crap, and your job is to keep the plastic spoon in the yogurt.
— Scott Adams

funny life

Humans think they are rational, and they think they understand their reality. But they are wrong on both counts.

rational thinking reality

If you want to make a good first impression, don't jokingly complain about the traffic on the way over. Try to work into the initial conversation some positive thoughts and images. Any positivity works. If your positivity has some visual imagery, that is even better. As the old saying goes, people won't always remember what you said, but they almost always remember how you made them feel.


"First-hand knowledge is critical" is the sort of advice that would have prevented Steve Jobs from creating Apple, prevented me from creating Dilbert, and prevented Musk from creating any of his businesses. Better: "First-hand knowledge can be a mental prison."

entrepreneurship knowledge startup

Step one in your search for happiness is to continually work toward having control of your schedule.

time management

Your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job.


If you're going to create, create a lot. Creativity is not like playing the slot machines, where failure to win means you go home broke. With creativity, if you don't win, you're usually no worse off than if you hadn't played.
— Scott Adams


A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories. Success can be habit-forming.

self-improvement success

If you spend all your time arguing with people who are nuts, you'll be exhausted and the nuts will still be nuts.

arguments changing people

People are more influenced by the direction of things than the current state.


Persuasion is effective even when the subject recognizes the technique. Everyone knows that stores list prices at $9.99 because $10.00 sounds like too much. It still works.

persuasion sales

Everybody is somebody's else's weirdo.
— Scott Adams


The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth.


On all the important stuff, we are emotional creatures who make decisions first and rationalize them after the fact.

decision-making rationalization

Happiness is the natural state for most people whenever they feel healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good.


An intentional "error" in the details of your message will attract criticism. The attention will make your message rise in importance—at least in people's minds—simply because everyone is talking about it.

Donald Trump persuasion

The way I approach the problem of multiple priorities is by focusing on just one main metric: my energy. I make choices that maximize my personal energy because that makes it easier to manage all of the other priorities.


When you identify as part of a group, your opinions tend to be biased toward the group consensus.

human nature opinions

Humans are hardwired to reciprocate favors. If you want someone's cooperation in the future, do something for that person today.


Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you're a consultant.
— Scott Adams

consultants funny

You can change only what people know, not what they do.

changing people

There's nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot.

idiot stupidity witty

Priorities are the things you need to get right so the things you love can thrive.


I'm here to tell you that the primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet, and exercise.

depression happiness sadness

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.

business ideas ideas

I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination.
— Scott Adams
The ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to those who know exactly what they want.
— Scott Adams

ambition goals success

On August 13, 2015, I predicted in my blog that Donald Trump had a 98 percent chance of winning the presidency based on his persuasion skills. A week earlier, the most respected political forecaster in the United States—Nate Silver—had put Trump's odds of winning the Republican nomination at 2 percent in his blog.

experts prescient

If you don't understand confirmation bias, you might think new information can change people's opinions. As a trained persuader, I know that isn't the case, at least when emotions are involved. People don't change opinions about emotional topics just because some information proved their opinion to be nonsense. Humans aren't wired that way.

opinions persuasion rational thinking

People are more influenced by visual persuasion, emotion, repetition, and simplicity than they are by details and facts.


If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?
— Scott Adams


You don't have to be a person of influence to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they've taught me.
— Scott Adams


You're thinking I'm one of those wise-ass California vegetarians who is going to tell you that eating a few strips of bacon is bad for your health. I'm not. I say it's a free country and you should be able to kill yourself at any rate you choose, as long as your cold dead body is not blocking my driveway.
— Scott Adams

food funny vegetarian

Men live in a fantasy world. I know this because I am one, and I actually receive my mail there.
— Scott Adams


When I'm a has-been, I'll still be better than a never-been.
— Scott Adams
On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.


If you want to kill an idea without being identified as the assassin, suggest that the legal department take a look at it.
— Scott Adams

bureaucracy office

Sometimes an inability or unwillingness to consider more than one variable at a time triggers what I call the mind-reader hallucination, in which you imagine you know the secret intentions of strangers.


In most groups the craziest person is in control. It starts because no one wants the problems that come from pissing off a crazy person. It's just smarter and easier sometimes to let the crazy person have his or her way.
— Scott Adams


There's no idea so good that's so good you can't ruin it with a few well-placed idiots.
— Scott Adams

business ideas ideas idiot

Awareness is about unlearning. It is the recognition that you don't know as much as you thought you knew.
— Scott Adams


We humans like to think we are creatures of reason. We aren't. The reality is that we make our decisions first and rationalize them later....Your illusion of being a rational person is supported by the fact that sometimes you do act rationally.

rationalization reason

The things that you think about the most will irrationally rise in importance in your mind.


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.
— Scott Adams

human nature religion

Smart CEOs try to create visible victories within days of taking the job, to set the tone. It's all about the psychology.

business CEO

I have no reason to believe humans evolved with the capability to understand their reality. That capability was not important to survival. When it comes to evolution, any illusion that keeps us alive long enough to procreate is good enough.


No matter how smart you are, you spend much of your day being an idiot.


Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.
— Scott Adams
I get mail; therefore I am.
— Scott Adams

funny Internet

When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?
— Scott Adams


Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.
— Scott Adams


You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.
— Scott Adams

cynical the public

Reality is always controlled by the people who are the most insane.
— Scott Adams

insanity reality

Happiness has more to do with where you are heading than where you are.
— Scott Adams


The job isn't done until you've blamed someone for the parts that went wrong.
— Scott Adams

funny office

Intelligence is a measure of how well you function within your level of awareness.


The best any human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day.
— Scott Adams
Hard work is rewarding. Taking credit for other people's hard work is rewarding and faster.
— Scott Adams

funny hard work office

I have infinite capacity to do more work as long as you don't mind that my quality approaches zero.
— Scott Adams


Remind people that profit is the difference between revenue and expense. This makes you look smart.
— Scott Adams


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


The main difference between marketing and fraud is that criminals have to pay for their own alcohol.
— Scott Adams


Quality is not an independent force in the universe; it depends on what you choose as your frame of reference.


Informed decision-making comes from a long tradition of guessing and then blaming others for inadequate results.
— Scott Adams

business cynical

There is no idea so bad that it cannot be made to look brilliant with the proper application of fonts and color.
— Scott Adams


Your inability to see other possibilities and your lack of vocabulary are your brain's limits, not the universe's.
— Scott Adams


The creator of the universe works in mysterious ways. But he uses a base ten counting system and likes round numbers.
— Scott Adams
Your best work involves timing. If someone wrote the best hip hop song of all time in the Middle Ages, he had bad timing.
— Scott Adams


The formula for happiness is as simple as daydreaming, controlling your schedule, napping, eating right, and being active every day.


The first time you see something that you have never seen before, you almost always know right away if you should eat it or run away from it.
— Scott Adams


The source of all unhappiness is other people. As soon as you learn to think of other people as noisy furniture, the sooner you will be happy.

other people

The Cheesecake Factory is a great business model, but if you take your wife there for your 25th wedding anniversary, you might not reach your 26th.
— Scott Adams

wedding anniversary

The most important form of selfishness involves spending time on your fitness, eating right, pursuing your career, and still spending quality time with your family and friends.
— Scott Adams

how to live life

You already know that when your energy is right you perform better at everything you do, including school, work, sports, and even your personal life. Energy is good. Passion is bullshit.


Caring about the quality of your work causes stress. Stress can kill you. Maintain good health by remembering that the stockholders are complete strangers who have never done anything for you.

funny office

I'm noticing a trend in which conservatives judge people by their actions whereas liberals judge people by their presumed secret thoughts. Am I imagining that trend? Could be confirmation bias.
— Scott Adams

conservatives Democrats and Republicans liberal

Pundits are asking why President Trump is starting trade disputes when the economy is doing well. Answer: That's the best time to do them. Lowest short term cost (pain) and substantial long term upside potential.

Donald Trump the economy

Free yourself from the shackles of an oppressive reality. What's real to you is what you imagine and what you feel. If you manage your illusions wisely, you might get what you want, but you won't necessarily understand why it worked.
— Scott Adams


Have you ever noticed that things that don't kill you make you weaker? And great minds don't think alike. If they did, the patent office would only have about fifty inventions. I started getting suspicious when I cried over spilt milk and the cashier took it off my bill.
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.
— Scott Adams

atheist prejudice

Trump's unexpected win created a persuasion bomb that no one knew how to defuse. The anti-Trumpers were locked into their Hitler movie, and confirmation bias would keep them there. It was a terrible situation for a country. And it was an enormous challenge for Trump, the Master Persuader.

Donald Trump

The worst thing your brain could do is reinterpret your reality into a whole new movie with each new bit of information. That would be exhausting and without benefit. Instead, your brain takes the path of least resistance and instantly interprets your observations to fit your existing worldview. It's just easier.

opinions psychology

Unfortunately, most people believe that analogies are one of the best ways to persuade. That fact goes far in explaining why it seems that every debate on the Internet ends with a Hitler analogy. The phenomenon is so common it has its own name: Godwin's law. But I doubt many people have changed an opinion just because a stranger on the Internet compared them to Hitler. A direct attack usually just hardens people into their current opinions.


The grand illusion of life is that our minds have the capacity to understand reality. But human minds didn't evolve to understand reality. We didn't need that capability. A clear view of reality wasn't necessary for our survival. Evolution cares only that you survive long enough to procreate. And that's a low bar. The result is that each of us is, in effect, living in our own little movie that our brain has cooked up for us to explain our experiences

perception reality

Both my friend and I follow politics. We're both smart. (He's smarter.) Neither of us lied about our reaction to Trump's speech. But we saw entirely different movies playing on the same screen at the same time. If you think this different-movies situation is rare, you're living in what I call the second dimension. In the third dimension, where persuasion rules, it is entirely normal and routine for different movies to play on the same screen at the same time.


"What does it mean to be yourself?" he asked. "If it means to do what you think you ought to do, then you're doing that already. If it means to act like you're exempt from society's influence, that's the worst advice in the world; you would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes. The advice to 'be yourself' is obviously nonsense. But our brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe we have no idea how to behave."
— Scott Adams

be yourself

The common worldview, shared by most humans, is that there is one objective reality, and we humans can understand that reality through a rigorous application of facts and reason. This view of the world imagines that some people have already achieved a fact-based type of enlightenment that is compatible with science and logic, and they are trying to help the rest of us see the world the "right" way. As far as I can tell, most people share that interpretation of the world. The only wrinkle with that worldview is that we all think we are the enlightened ones. And we assume the people who disagree with us just need better facts, and perhaps better brains, in order to agree with us. That filter on life makes most of us happy.