What To Know about “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams

Show Notes

Do you worry that the USA is just one crazy tweet away from nuclear war with Korea?  Relax and read “Win Bigly”

Scott Adams is an Everest of the mind.

He’s proven himself to be a prodigiously prescient political pundit, using persuasion based perceptions to predict presidential political outcomes.

“Win Bigly” is a public service, perhaps it’s peace prize worthy.


G’day!  Welcome my friend to WTK, the “What to Know” show about “Win Bigly” by Scott Adams.

I’m your host Peter Whelan

I’m grateful to Scott Adams for writing “Win Bigly”

What I’m about to share with you is unbelievable, but true, as far as I can tell.

Have you ever wished that you could predict the future?

Imagine that you could learn a more useful way to look at reality.

Imagine that it makes you happier and better able to predict the future.

Over 2 years ago, Scott Adams promised in his blog to do that.

He didn’t do it for the money, in fact, his speaking income went to zero.  As a public service, he said what he believed to be useful and true.

He succeeded in changing my view of reality and of humanity.

If you’ve been reading his blog for the last few years, then there isn’t much here that you haven’t already read.

In “Win Bigly” it’s his job to show you how he was right, so that the next time he makes a claim, you listen to him.

When I was 7, I thought I understood reality, but I didn’t.

It surprised me to learn that even though it looks like the sun moves across the sky, it’s the earth doing the moving.

It still doesn’t feel like it, but it’s true.

The more important lesson that I learned is, that I can’t believe everything I think.

I can be completely wrong about something and not even know it.

Even now, there’s probably something that I believe which I’m wrong about.

There’s something about “Win Bigly” that, if you’re like me, you are going to object to.

With your permission, let’s see if I can help get you past that, before I tell you about the book.

I’ve been programming computers for over 30 years. I like to classify data in binary, true or false terms.

That works great when I’m programming, but it doesn’t work with people.

If I like someone, I tend to see the good in the bad things that they do.

If I dislike someone, I tend to see the bad in the good things that they do.

But, there’s something about myself that I don’t like.

I have a tendency to judge people by their most extreme actions.  The best or the worst of what they do, whether they are naughty or nice.

To be fair, that’s an ugly thing to admit to, but I see so many other people doing it that I feel like I’m in the majority.

That doesn’t make it right.  I’m wrong to judge people like that, it’s even against my religion.

Scott Adams is helping me correct that.

Why do I share my flaw with you?

You may prejudge the lessons in Win Bigly as they are mostly related to your favourite president, Donald Trump.  Who says he’s your favourite president?  Well, he does.

Trump brags about things that I’d be ashamed to admit to.

Scott, I call him Scott because that’s his name, but he doesn’t know me from Adam, predicted candidate Trump would win the presidency when the experts put his odds at 2%.   At the time, most people’s reactions to Trump were something like this scene from Mr. Robot.

Scott’s opinion on what Trump was doing showed me that my understanding of humanity, of how we make decisions, was flawed.   That’s what makes the ideas in “Win Bigly” so valuable.  Even the people closest to Trump didn’t see what Scott was seeing.  I had a chance to ask George Ross, Trump’s long time lawyer, why he thought Trump ran for president, knowing that whomever is president is criticized and ridiculed by at least half the country.

George thought that Trump wasn’t serious, that he didn’t know what he was getting himself into or how to get out of it.  That’s a possibility.  But that doesn’t provide any predictions.  Scott’s persuasion filter does.

Any fool can come up with an explanation of what happened, after it happened, and many fools have.

“Win Bigly” is the story of how Scott predicted what would happen, every step of the way.

This is the first time that I’ve bought an audiobook.  I did that to honour the fact that Scott Adams overcame spasmodic dysphonia.  It’s a depressing condition that prevented him from speaking for three and half years.  The fact that he can say his own name is a tremendous personal and medical accomplishment.  He narrates “Win Bigly” himself and I like the sound of his new voice.

To be fair, he includes an entire chapter on Trumps mistakes.

Scott explains how childish name calling can be persuasive.  Labelling his opponents as “Crooked Hillary, Crazy Bernie or  low energy Jeb” are what Scott calls linguistic kill shots.  For many people, reducing a person to a one dimensional label is more persuasive than providing all the facts.

For example, If I were to call you a nice person, it would be a compliment.

When Trump kept calling his opponent, Ben Carson a nice guy, it was a kill shot.  Where do nice guys finish?

Scott explains how oversimplifications are more persuasive than giving a complete and accurate explanation.

With good persuasion, you can visualize the result.  That’s why Trump kept talking about “a big, beautiful wall” instead of “We will use a variety of means to improve border security”.  From the first day, Scott explained that it would not actually be a wall from coast to coast.

Scott posits that we don’t make decisions on complex topics based on the facts.  How can we when it’s not clear what the facts are?

If we don’t have first hand knowledge, then we are coming to decisions based on what others have said and who we find most credible.

It doesn’t mean that we’re right.

Trump has his supporters, but the people that hate him, hate him a lot.

Surprisingly, extreme anger that is beyond what the situation calls for, is a sign that you’re being persuaded.  People hate admitting they were wrong about something.   If you are persuasive then you better get use to people being angry with you.

The hatred may be a sign of how persuasive you are.  When Trump says something that persuades you to change your opinion,  you can change your mind or you can decide that there’s something wrong with him and reject everything about him.

What do you think most people do?

To be fair, no one is all good or all bad, there’s more to you than that.

A child looks at one variable to decide if you are good or bad.

When they play cops and robbers there is no nuance, you are either good, the cop, or bad, the robber.

An adult recognizes there can be many important variables to consider.

We’ve all done great things to be proud of and shameful things that we’d rather keep to ourselves.

People in the public eye come under greater scrutiny and we may feel that we know them.

It’s easy to look at Trump and say “Well, I never did anything as bad as him.” and I’d believe you.

It doesn’t mean that you’re right.

If you are ready to challenge your view of the world, I encourage you read “Win Bigly” if you want to.

If you do, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.  Come back and post in the comments.

My thanks to Gord who suggested today’s show.

Would you do me a favour?

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Every time you talk about it, the more you find yourself putting it to use in your own life.

Thank you for watching!

Be seeing you