How to Fail at Almost Everything… (Book Review #0002)

One of the first pictures that shows up when you google “failure”. (photo credit:

It’s been a long time since I posted a book review. A couple months ago I finished reading How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. It was a pretty easy read and it helped identify patterns I noticed with people I admire. In Scott Adams case, he went through plenty of hardships but continued to push through. Here’s a shortlist of his hardships:

  • failed ventures in restaurants and food
  • vocal incapacity
  • not being able to draw well

Key takeaway from the book: create a system for yourself. There’s no magic pill to get yourself successful however creating a system helps elevate your luck in getting there. A clear example is if you want to be healthy, it’s disheartening to think how far away you are from that goal but if you lay out your workout clothes and plan your meals, there’s a higher chance you can build a habit that can lead to getting to your goals.

If you’re interested in looking into the mind of a quirky cartoonist and see how he went from getting a job in an office to creating one of the most well known pop culture icons that represented a generation of programmers, I highly recommend reading the book. It’s always interesting to read what was going through someone’s head when he/she is met with a challenge.

Do you have any book recommendations? I’d love to hear them, especially since the new year is coming soon. Feel free to holler @ me so we can talk story.

Fine Tuning

An example of the handouts at the monthly Spreadsheets n’ Brews meetup. Photo By D. Ramos

The last couple of months I’ve been hosting an informal meetup of Excel users at a local pub (the good folks at Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room) called Spreadsheets n’ Brews. It’s interesting to see it grow from the handful of folks starting in October to two handfuls. What I really like about tending to only around ten people at each event is that we can have some really good talks about pain points with daily tasks using Excel or any kind of spreadsheet software.

However, growing the amount of people who attend, I realized I need to approach things differently andĀ  improve how this event goes. One thing that was pointed out to me was some attendees were actually prepared for a class, bringing a notebook. That was really great to see but at the same time brought attention to my ill preparation. So that’s where the fine tuning comes into play. Luckily the group wasn’t so big that I can spend some one on one time answering questions vs. providing a lecture.

I’m definitely going to continue tuning this event because overallĀ  the response has been positive. Even though there was a bit of a challenge to cater to everyone’s needs, the changes I’ll be making will address the concerns brought up to me. For example, based on the feedback I got during the meetup, I’ve identified some topics that should be covered in future meetups. One small tweak I would do, though, is to try to introduce the topic after we have the majority of attendees present.

This meetup started from a group of administrators with complaints but has grown organically and I’m excited to apply some of the ideas that was put on the table. What would you like to learn that you can’t from a traditional class? Maybe I can help you out over drinks. Let’s talk story. Feel free to holler @ me.