Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dilbert Principle: Third Time Not So Charming

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dilbert Principle: Third Time Not So Charming

Article excerpt

For comic strip "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams, three is home free.

He has recently released his third book to hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Even more remarkably, the books all have been published in just a little over one year.

Such a hefty production schedule is not without a price, however.

While Adams' first book, "The Dilbert Principle," was as insightful and thought-provoking about the business world as it was acerbic and humorous, his third book lacks significantly in each area.

Yet, this week's bestseller list still includes the book "The Dilbert Future: Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century," (Harper Business, $25, 258 pages).

Part of the problem with this book is that Adams strays from his area of expertise - the office.

For those still unfamiliar with Adams' story, he started the "Dilbert" comic strip while working in a cubicle at Pacific Bell. The cubicle and office environments in general are the central theme of the strip, now syndicated in 1,550 newspapers worldwide.

The workplace also was the central theme of Adams' first book, which took a realistic and very funny look at virtually every management program ever invented from Total Quality Management to ISO 9000.

The book was quite a surprise, even to a regular "Dilbert" reader, as it offered not just a string of more Dilbert cartoons, but a very thoughtful take on why most of these programs work only at the theoretical level espoused by the experts who create them.

Adams even offered up his own solution of how to run a company at the end of the book that sounded more rational and compassionate toward its employees than anything so-called management gurus could conjur up.

Such insight can't be found in "The Dilbert Future," however.

In this book, Adams strays from his usual territory to tackle such subjects as the aging population, the future of democracy and capitalism and social issues such as crime and poverty.

I didn't find many of his predictions either insightful or particularly funny. …

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