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AuthorI’m Scott Adams - here to talk about President Trump's persuasion skills and my new book, Win Bigly. AMA!

Oct 31st 2017 by ScottAdamsSays • 58 Questions • 72 Points

I'm the creator of Dilbert and co-founder of WhenHub. My newest book is Win Bigly - Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter.

Win Bigly

Twitter and Periscope: @ScottAdamsSays

WhenHub: WhenHub.com Dilbert comics: Dilbert.com

Proof: https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/925120234104741893

Q:

Why hasn't my Win Bigly Book been delivered yet? Amazon says it is still on the truck!

A:

I'll call Bezos. This is unacceptable!


Q:

How hard is it to shift the perception of a person who's watching a different movie than you? Is it possible to persuade someone who's dead set on a certain viewpoint?

A:

Short term, almost impossible. Long term, 4% GDP for two years in a row would do it. A good healthcare plan would do it too, but not holding my breath on that.


Q:

have you noticed symptoms similar or possibly related to your speech paralysis popping up or returning, and what are your strategies to ward them off?

A:

I have not. All clear so far.


Q:

You rather infamously predicted that Trump was going to get 65% of the popular vote. Why do you think you were so off on this?

A:

By summer of 2016, Clinton's persuasion game went from zero to weapons-grade. A top persuader clearly joined the team, probably after helping Sanders perform better than expectations. That narrowed the gap. Remember "dark." That was the work of a pro.


Q:

Do you worry that surrounding yourself with Trump supporters leads to confirmation bias in your own thinking?

A:

That's a known risk, yes. But I intentionally sample all sides to help diminish the bias.


Q:

How do you reconcile your continued view of Trump as "master persuader" with his now 33% approval rating, especially given that we're not in a war and the economy's been stable?

A:

Trump's approval rating is about his "inappropriate" personality. It is more like a vote for civility than a vote of no-confidence in his administration. Even his supporters prefer more civility sometimes.

For the confidence vote, see stock markets and consumer confidence. Performance is unlinked from "approval" with this one president.


Q:

Did you believe Trump would lose after the "grab her by the pussy" scandal hit?

A:

Yes, briefly. But my confidence returned before election day.


Q:

Scott, should I be practical or should I buy the luxury vehicle to increase my persuasiveness?

A:

If you are single, buy the "persuasion" car. If married, I can't advise. I was not successful in that realm.


Q:

Persuasion-wise, what would you say is the most impactful persuasion move Trump has done in his presidency thus far?

A:

He sold the country on "fake news" being the normal, not the exception.


Q:

What's the most interesting persuasion skill you've observed that Trump uses?

A:

His Linguistic Kill Shots are amazing.

Lyin' Crying Crooked Goofy Wacky Little Rocket Man


Q:

Do you think that the techniques and methods you attribute to Trump will be a staple of future candidates/campaigns or is Trump more of a unique case that will be hard to replicate?

A:

Trump's personality, brand, and risk-management is unique. I doubt it will ever be equalled. But others will borrow technique.


Q:

What are the biggest persuasion errors you see people make most frequently?

A:

People complain about sad events until you start to see the sadness and the person as connected.


Q:

Was there ever a time in your career where you became discouraged and thought about doing something else?

What kept you going?

A:

Yes, I had hand spasms that forced me to draw left-handed for a time. (Slowly) But I got that under control.


Q:

Hi Scott! White House saying "This has nothing to do with the President." is not really good persuasion, is it? What would be better?

A:

Actually, it's pretty good. That's all anyone cares about.


Q:

You make no secret of your support for BLM, Kaepernick, and repatriations for Blacks in America. I believe this approach has failed for the past 50 years. Why persist? No doubt this is a problem that needs fixing.

A:

1) They have legitimate concerns.

2) I like a challenge.


Q:

If you could put anything on a gigantic billboard anywhere, what would it say and why?

A:

It would say, "I never heard of the Internet." Because that's the only reason for a billboard.


Q:

Scott,

Have you improved your affirmations tactics? Back in Dilbert Future you mentioned writing them down 15 times per day. Any more advanced tips out there?

A:

See my last book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big for an extended discussion and updated thoughts on that.


Q:

is humor considered a persuasion skill?

A:

Yes, if you pick the audience right. Not everyone responds to humor. Those who do will bond to the source.


Q:

What persuasion technique would you suggest for job-seekers in an interview setting?

A:

That's a whole book. One tip: Say you'll do whatever it takes to get the job done. No boss wants a "not my job" employee.


Q:

What is your opinion on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals as far as being persuasive? Are they useful/ relevant in today's society?

A:

Persuasive, yes. Useful depend which side you are on.


Q:

How would Dilbert deal with Trump as his boss?

A:

He would make his company great again.


Q:

How do you manage to persuade people, when people know that are out to persuade them?

I.e. how do you sell when people know you are a salesperson?

A:

Persuasion works even when the technique is obvious. Case in point, Kevin Spacey's "coming out as a gay man" was obvious persuasion to redirect attention from allegations. And it still worked. Not 100%, but it was the best available play, well-executed.


Q:

Hi Scott, big fan and looking forward to picking up your new book from my mailbox later. I discovered your blog around in 2015 and thought man, this guy is just nailing it. I thought your insights and style of delivery was the best I'd read in years. I was laughed at when I told people I thought Trump was going to win the presidency. When he did win, I felt like I had been living in reality all along, despite being told the contrary, while everyone else had been dreaming and just woke up.

My question is, do you think there will ever be a cure for Trump Derangment Syndrome?

A:

I'm working on the cure, but 4% GDP and some international successes would probably do it.


Q:

He expanded the "Crooked" branding from Hillary to the "crooked dems" in a morning tweet. Is he A/B testing a new kill-shot? I think this could be a great one if the Podesta tree of the investigation goes anywhere.

A:

Yes, A/B testing always.


Q:

Both Trump and you appear to require only 3-4 hours of sleep per night. Have you always slept so little each night, or did it decrease with age? Anyone else in your family possess that ability?

A:

We both exaggerate. But 5-6 is my normal. Everyone is different. I have read that men need less. I've been this way most of my life.


Q:

Why are your "Coffee with Scott Adams" periscopes so damn comfy? It's one of the best parts of my day.

Thanks for everything you do Scott, can't wait to pick up the book!

A:

That's because I'm comfortable. You pick up the vibe. I love every Periscope. It's often my highlight of the day.


Q:

What does your Pope hat say about the eventual ultimate outcome of the Mueller investigation? Love your work, ordered the book today - keep it up!

A:

Someone smart said that if Trump were in trouble so far it would have leaked. Sounds right.

I expect Mueller to get himself fired for something, sooner or later. For example, if Trump's finances leak, that's automatic firing. (And they probably will.)


Q:

Scott Adams, who currently has the persuasion momentum? Trump, the Democrats, or anti-Trump Republicans and how do they maintain it?

A:

Trump has the upper hand with 3% GDP and ISIS on the run. Results are persuasive.


Q:

Are those college hypnotist shows real, or are they staged?

A:

I explain that in Win Bigly. Briefly: a little bit of hypnosis and a little bit of "magic show." The secret sauce is that every large crowd has some people who are easy to hypnotize and don't mind public embarrassment on stage.


Q:

In your systems vs goals approach to life, how do you stay motivated with a system?

I find myself much more able to follow short term goals with quantifiable outcomes, even though I respect the systems approach?

A:

The best systems are the ones you can stick to. Rewarding yourself helps. Not picking a system too hard to keep helps a lot.


Q:

Hi Scott, What's the deal with he who must not be named? I discovered him out of curiosity after seeing you block people. Was that intentional?

A:

I was literally bored with people asking me what I think of him. No other reason. I just couldn't see that question again.


Q:

Hi Scott!

Any other tells for hallucination beside "so" and absolutes? What are other ways to spot when someone is hallucinating?

A:

Look for the trigger. That means some new information that broke the person's prior worldview. Example: Everyone who thought Trump could not win.


Q:

Would you ever get back into the restaurant industry, or try another line of supermarket products? What lessons did you learn from those ventures?

A:

1) Restaurants, maybe, but only if I had a killer concept, such as Dilbert Cafes.

2) Never again for groceries. The industry is crooked.


Q:

Does it concern you that Reddit actively censors and shadowbans users?

A:

I'm not informed on that topic with Reddit.


Q:

Long time listener, first time caller.

How has your election/trump analysis affected your ability to make a living? Do you see an impact on other parts of your professional life such as Dilbert and other gigs?

A:

I lost 75% of my friends and a third of my income (meaning 100% of my speaking income).

But Win Bigly just hit #11 on Amazon, so maybe not all bad.

Dilbert is unchanged, income-wise, except I can never get another license deal.


Q:

Star Wars or Star Trek and why?

A:

I love both, but Star Wars went off the rails on the last one.


Q:

Does it concern you that Twitter, You Tube, et al arbitrarily censor or dump people with huge followings, because of political positions or non PC news?

A:

It should concern everyone.


Q:

was the hillary / loretta lynch / eric holder "resistance" campaign created by the mole? first thing that comes to mind when i hear "resist" is "arrest"

A:

Ha! I don't think so.


Q:

What has been your personal favorite "linguistic killshot" of the Trump Era thus far? Which, in your eyes, has been the most effective? Thanks in advance and I loved your book.

A:

"Low Energy Jeb" ended the Bush dynasty.

"Sloppy Michael Moore" was the most entertaining.


Q:

Does a traditional politician or another outsider pose a bigger threat to Trump in 2020?

A:

Only the economy or Mueller can stop Trump from a second term if he decides to run. (I'm not sure he will. I think he might want to go out on top if things are great after four.)


Q:

Hi Scott - thanks for all the free eye-opening lessons on persuasion.

I'd imagine you've seen countless people on social media who almost willfully miss your lessons about confirmation bias, and instead double-down on everything from Trump-is-Hitler to Pizzagate conspiracy theories.

From a technique standpoint, is it even possible to persuade someone that deeply invested in their own hallucinations to actually see through them?

A:

Rarely, but yes. And it is mostly a function of time and sustained effort with lots of evidence that violates their beliefs.


Q:

Why do you think the simple solution is preferable to the optimal solution?

A:

Clarification: You want to be no more complicated than needed.

Humans can't handle complexity. And it introduces variables that can be unpredictable. Simple and imperfect is often the best risk management decision. But no two situations are alike.


Q:

Are there any democratic politicians/celebrities that come to mind who could put up a good fight against Trump in 2020?

A:

Honestly, no, assuming a good economy by then. The incumbent is hard to dislodge with a growing economy.


Q:

Hi Scott, you've spoken often and consistently about your predictions that Trump would win, but I'm unaware if you've ever taken a stance on if you think he should have won. Do you agree with his politics or think he's good for the country/world?

A:

Politically, I'm left of Bernie, except I prefer plans that can work. On the hard stuff, such as international affairs and trade agreements, etc., I believe I don't know what would work best. Neither does anyone else.


Q:

Trump's Twitter is often unhinged, or he seems like he's completely insane. Do you believe he's impulsive, lacks any kind of filter, and is simply irrational most of the time?

A:

None of that is even slightly true. Win Bigly explains in detail. The quick answer is that a little bit of "wrongness" is why we can't look away. He controls attention. Notice his wrongness is always in a narrow band of wrongness that is not too far.


Q:

With regards to your Sam Harris interview, why do you think it is unreasonable to place any moral judgment on Trump at all? The president is the moral backbone of the country and that is most of his job. Do you not think it hurts your credibility to bend over backwards to avoid giving a moral opinion of the country's moral leader? I can see the counter argument, but sometimes you avoid it to such an extent that it makes people lose faith in your common sense. Disagree?

A:

I don't think that. You got triggered into cognitive dissonance because I persuaded you that Trump is competent. My moral preferences are likely identical to your own. But I don't think this particular president got elected for his role model abilities. He told us he was "no angel" and never made moral leadership a selling point. People get their moral leadership from their religion, family, etc. Presidents are more like plumbers -- just fix the leak and don't tell me how to pray, etc.


Q:

I’m a Christian but I find your view that we live in a simulated world very interesting. Anything to recommend to read more about this worldview?

A:

I don't have a book recommendation. But Google will find lots of articles on it.


Q:

Funniest cognitive dissonance moment?

A:

I'm not sure I would call any funny, just bizarre.


Q:

Do you pick the socks you wear by colour or texture?

A:

Both.


Q:

your underground housing / terraforming - how does the cost compare to the chinese island building approach?

A:

Good question. Need to A/B test to know.


Q:

Hey Scott, I really enjoyed your first book. It had some excellent and useful advice. Thanks! I’ve been following your political commentary on Twitter, and although I usually do not agree with your conclusion, you often make good points that cause me to re-think my own logic. Do you feel that you are open to having your mind changed as to whether Donald Trump is actually good for this country?

A:

Of course. I change my mind often.


Q:

If you run for President in 2024, who would you want to be your running mate?

A:

Hawk Newsome. He might be the most underrated Master Persuader, now that I think about it.


Q:

Hi Scott, listening to your audio book now, very pleased (congrats on your voice btw).

Who would you say is the most underrated master persuader out there right now? And have you ever seen a master persuader abuse their power in a big way? Thanks again!

A:

1) Me (but I like it that way)

2) Dictators such as Hitler. Persuasion is a tool that can be used for good or evil.


Q:

Hey Scott I enjoyed your episode of the Joe Rogan podcast any plans for another episode?

A:

None scheduled, but I did message Joe that I have a book and would do it in a heartbeat. I really enjoyed the last one.


Q:

Do you think the country is objectively a better place in the reality where Trump became President than it would have been in the one where Hillary became president? What about the world?

A:

We tend to evaluate presidents against an imagine president who didn't get elected. The "what if" is unknowable.


Q:

I love your book, how to fail at everything and still win big. I look forward to reading Win Bigly.

My question for you is, What is something worth winning for? and why?

A:

Happiness and the greater good are the only things worth achieving.


Q:

What is your confidence level that Americans who have been heavily persuaded (hypnotized?) by the mainstream media, will at some point arrive at a world view more in line with reality?

A:

Never. Reality might be beyond our grasp. Humans didn't evolve to understand reality. If we did, there would be one religion and presidents would always win in landslides.


Q:

Scott, you mentioned that it will be a while until we see another Master Persuader like Trump.

Why his children cannot inherit or learn the same skills from his father?

They have similar talent stacks. Unless we are not seeing it via media.

A:

They would need his risk profile as well. That's the hard part. Rare.