Loserthink by Scott Adams [Book Summary]

Since the introduction of smartphone technology and social media, we’ve become overwhelmed with views and ideas that are regularly biased, manipulative, or completely absurd. Simultaneously, the skill we really require for operating this jungle, rational thinking, is not something a lot of us learned in school. Due to that, even those people who have extraordinary intelligence frequently fail to see past the biases and restrictions of our individual outlooks.

If you’ve ever allowed your ego to determine your choices, judged someone without knowing his view, or left an apparently overwhelming project, you might have experienced loserthink – a word the author has created to define different forms of unproductive thinking. Fortunately, with these book chapters, you’ll learn how to break free of it.

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Chapter 1 – See your ego as a tool instead of your identity.

Sometime in your life, you’ve most likely seen yourself in a room filled with apparently capable people and you felt intimidated. However, have you ever thought that, in these kinds of circumstances, everyone is putting on an act? Definitely, some people’s acts are related to their real selves. However, it’s still more than possible that they’re increasing egos just for public sake and expecting that other people in the room will fall for it.

Meaning, even though confidence doesn’t come naturally to you, you can learn to act it. All it needs is seeing your ego as a tool instead of an aspect of your identity.

In conditions where your ego will favor you, you need to dial your ego up a few notches; seeing yourself as more valuable than your accomplishments alone might show can enhance your romantic, professional, athletic, and social performance – and not just that. Confidence can assist you to get employed because you’ll probably test well under stress. That’s only one of numerous explanations why confident people have a tendency to be more successful, and vice versa.

One method to project a stronger ego is through your body language. If you possess a good posture, keep eye contact and take up huge space in a room, people will think of you as a confident person. When they see you like that, they’ll treat you better, stimulating your confidence more.

However, not all circumstances benefit from you increasing your ego; at times it might better to reduce it. If you allow your ego to go wild, you’ll most likely be seen as arrogant. As a matter of fact, allowing your ego to determine your choices is a kind of loserthink that could make you lose your career. 

In 1989 when the author of this book Scott Adams, began the Dilbert comic strip, he funneled funny concepts from every part of his life into the project. However, shortly, fans started writing to him and telling him that they loved his office comics more. Had he allowed his ego to hinder him, he would have disregarded his fans and kept on focusing the comic on what he personally see as humorous. Rather, he restructured Dilbert as a workplace comic strip. By letting go of his ego, he made the comic strip a national feeling, making the way for his rewarding career as a cartoonist and entrepreneur.

Chapter 2 – A definite indication of loserthink is the overreliance on the past.

We frequently check the past to look for patterns or meaning that might assist direct us in our lives. Still, a lot of us fall into the trap of depending a lot on the past. Nevertheless, in a lot of instances, history isn’t essentially trustworthy. 

You might be shocked to discover that a lot of the history you learned while in school isn’t correct. The reason is that there isn’t a single, unbiased interpretation of past incidences– historical interpretations usually differ from one another because of the person that was writing them. For instance, when the author was still in school, he got to learn that gracious European settlers had permitted Native Americans to stay on reservations free of charge since the Native Americans were too primitive to know the idea of private property.

Clearly, this clarification of history is a racist one. From the Native American perspective, a history book would probably say that European colonialists attacked and stole the land by means of mass genocide. Claiming that explanations of history are subjective is not, certainly, the same as stating that major historical incidences such as slavery in the United States or World War I and II didn’t occur. However, it’s essential to remember that most countries teach their citizens an account of history that depicts their nations in a positive light.

Even if textbook history is a distant memory to you, there’s a good possibility that you are allowing historical events to influence your choices. Consider the commonly held notion that history “repeats itself,” which started with the American philosopher George Santayana. Abiding by this belief too closely causes unproductive thinking. After all, what’s occurred in the past is only that – past!

Adams was wishing that Santayana’s claim would attest itself true after he published his first nonfiction book titled, The Dilbert Principle, which was a number-one bestseller. When his publisher recommended that he take advantage of the momentum and publish a second book fast, he enthusiastically agreed. Of course, he was dissatisfied when that book sold just half as many copies.

As it turns out, the majority of the authors that have back-to-back best sellers write fiction, capitalizing on a readership that will return to the same writing pattern over and over again. Whereas, readers of nonfiction, believe that as soon as they have completed a book, they’ve learned everything that the author has to say on the matter. Meaning, in the case of best-selling nonfiction books, history cannot be counted on to repeat itself. 

Adams discovered that if he desired to write a different bestseller, he would need to expand to various subjects; beyond that, he understood that he needed to be cautious about allowing the past to determine his choices.

Chapter 3 – Loserthink can make projects look impossible; however, micro-steps make them attainable.

As a skilled hypnotist, Adams understands one or two things about manipulating the human brain. Hypnotists go through a step-by-step process with their patients that start with little suggestions such as, “Your eyelids are becoming heavier.” These get the brain ready for more important suggestions, such as those that help defeat a phobia. 

However, you don’t need to trust hypnosis for a similar technique to be beneficial in fighting procrastination. When you’re thinking of a huge life transformation such as applying to grad school, changing your job, or relocating to a new city, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the size of the project altogether. However, psyching yourself out like this is another form of loserthink. In order to evade this, attempt thinking about productivity in terms of micro-steps.

These can entail even tiniest activities. Let’s say you wish to do something productive; however, demotivating factor- such as anxiety, the blues, or tiredness is stopping you from leaving your couch. In order to get yourself going, begin with a micro-step –  moving your pinky finger, maybe. As soon as you’ve attained that, you’ll see that you have a new sense of agency, but little. Riding the momentum of this feeling, you’ll see that it becomes very easy to begin moving other parts of your body and, eventually, to get up and start.

Even if your issue is very more difficult than leaving the couch, you can still use the same tactic to it – it works for almost any project. Begin by question yourself what the smallest step you can take toward attaining your aim is. Usually, you’ll realize that finishing that small step will set the remaining of the essential micro-steps in place. 

In 1988, that’s what occurred to Adams when he chose to become a cartoonist. He’d used his whole career in the corporate world, and he didn’t understand the first thing about what it would need to be a cartoonist. However, rather than being concerned about the whole image, he just drove to an art supply store one day and got some pens and paper.

Later on, during that same week, he tried his drawing materials. Then, he chose to begin waking up half an hour earlier daily to practice drawing before he went to work. Although what he achieved every day might have looked irrelevant, his work became successful a year after when his now critically praised comic strip Dilbert started to get featured in newspapers nationwide.

Chapter 4 – Ask for an explanation before condemning a person based on what you believe she intended.

Have you ever mentioned a thing that someone else misjudged? As a public figure with huge followers on Twitter, Adams goes through this daily. Among other things, he’s been tagged a racist, a liar, and a neo-Nazi supporter. Also, he has been condemned for his passionate support of President Trump.

However, before you blame social media for this, think of his viewpoint on the press, as well– as a person who’s gone through fame, he stays that he’s very-conversant with the fourth estate’s inclination to misjudge the truth usually. He mentions that less than 10% of his critics, both professional and otherwise, correctly interpret his personal views or opinions. The reason is that,  while a lot of people believe they’re good at deducing others’ views, no one is capable of mind reading.

Being certain that you can tell a stranger’s true motivations is yet another kind of loserthink. Tagging someone a socialist on Twitter due to the fact that they campaigned for publicly funded health insurance, for instance, isn’t only bad manners; it might also not show their real viewpoint.

In order to fight this kind of loserthink, the author recommends waiting 48 hours to see if an update, explanation, or apology follows a public statement that offends you. After the end of that 48 hours, you can now respond, and if the speaker or writer does explain her statement, you can admit her explanation and move on. Nevertheless, that’s the right thing to do.

The author acquired the notion for this forty-eight-hour rule in 2018 when Roseanne Barr, the American actress, and comedian tweeted that Valerie Jarrett, the former advisor to President Obama, resembled the children of a Planet of the Apes character and the Muslim Brotherhood. Jarrett is an African-American and was born in Iran, and to a lot of people, Barr’s use of detailed racial stereotypes looked clear and deliberate. Barr pushed back, stating that she didn’t know of Jarret’s background. However, she was instantly tagged as a racist, which destroyed her career.

If critics had used the forty-eight-hour rule and question Barr for more explanation, it’s likely that they would have given credibility to Barr’s claims of ignorance – claims Adams himself trusts. In his opinion, Barr certainly wouldn’t have been so dumb to compare an African-American to an ape even if she were a racist.

Even if you aren’t a public figure, you might concur with Adams that what matters most about a person is what they state that they mean instead of what you assume they mean. In Adam’s opinion, even if a person is a racist at heart, her deeds are what count eventually. Therefore, when next you are not sure about an offensive statement, ask for an explanation before you react.

Chapter 5 – The future isn’t as bad as you probably consider it to be.

If you’re just like the majority of the people, never-ending gloom-and-doom forecasts about the future have left you, at the very least, bothered. Between climate change, unemployment, and healthcare issues, our present media climate has formed a regular state of worry.

But, the author trusts that things are frequently better than what news outlets would like us to reason. Let’s look at unemployment. Although a lot of futurists have guessed that robots will progressively replace low-skilled workers, new economic and technological advancements propose that we might be getting close to the end of unemployment.

One method this might happen is in lesser costs of living. Immediately an energy substitute like fusion energy or Gen IV nuclear power becomes present, the costs of energy could extremely reduce. Self-driving cars and developments in ride-sharing apps will cause lower costs for both transportation and insurance. Also, the increase of online learning will reduce the cost of educating workers, allowing it easier to train those that are unemployed.

However, technology won’t end there; also, there are technologies in the pipeline that might assist ease the consequences of climate change. Consider air conditioning – a technology that will be progressively critical as the planet warms. Richard Branson has the British business mogul teamed up with the Indian government to give $3 million to anybody who can develop an effective form of air-conditioning that everybody will be able to pay for. If an appealing idea arises, this initiative will mean that fewer people will suffer as temperatures increase in the long term.

CO₂ scrubbing is another technology that could alleviate climate change. Carbon Engineering, which is a Canadian company, partly funded by Bill Gates, is presently making a technology that transforms CO₂ from the atmosphere into jet fuel for planes. The company stated that the tests have been successful and the process is already very cheap to be economically feasible. 

Lastly, when we talk of health care, innovations like smartphone health tests and telemedicine – virtual doctors’ appointments using email or video calling – will enable healthcare to be more affordable for people who can’t pay for insurance.

Bearing these optimistic technologies in mind, know that that there are two aspects to this story of a dark future – and that that’s correct of every story. When next you check social media, bear it in mind that the things you see there are created to make people annoyed and maximize clicks. Therefore, before you click a link and begin to put your own view, evade loserthink by performing research of your own.

Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America by Scott Adams Book Review

Loserthink is a trap where anybody can fall into, regardless of what its form – from being enticed by deceitful stories to relying on unproven clichés. However, by being mindful of the usual traps of loserthink, we can begin to improve our reasoning and enhance our relationships, careers, and over-all view on life and the future. When you change your view about the media or learn how to utilize your ego as a tool, you’ll start to free yourself of your individual reality bubble and lay the stage for more rational choices in all areas of your life.

Create a list of your priorities. 

A popular loserthink trap is poor decisions concerning personal priorities. Adams considers your number one priority needs to be yourself – he states that, when you prioritize yourself, you’re more fortified to put your energy into assisting your family, friends, workers, and every other person that surrounds you. An effective method to do this is by keeping good health and evading stress. If you’re stuck in a stressful condition –maybe, a work that you detest– then put yourself first and leave the job ASAP. You’ll be in a very better position to treat people well as soon as you do. 

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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