Dilbert Comic and Scott Adams

Scott Adams and Dilbert

Adams was interested in cartooning as a child, entering several contests – which he didn’t win. He kept his day job at Pacific Bell for eight years even after he started the strip in 1989 to continue to get good material – and for income security. White-collared workers embraced Dilbert, the sarcastic software engineer dealing with evil consultants (Catbert), annoying co-workers and incredibly stupid managers from his office cubicle.

The Comedy of Scott Adams: Comic Strip

Scott Adams, the successful author of the Dilbert comic strip and several comic compilation books (and he also owns a food company), actually was Dilbert at one time. In working with telecommunications engineers as a software developer in the eighties and nineties, he had plenty of inspiration for his hapless character, who is at the mercy of corporate American policies and politics as well as management dunderheads.


Dilbert Books

Now, his strip is syndicated in more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide in 65 countries and 25 languages; has Dilbert immortalized on t-shirts, calendars, office supplies, dolls and more; and has a string of Dilbert books, in which his satiric attitude toward business is obvious in titles such as: When Did Ignorance Become a Point of View?, Random Acts of Management, Fugitive from the Cubicle Police and Seven Years of Highly Defective People.

Below is a Dilbert comic strip. In it you can get a sense and feel for what Dilbert is all about.

Dilbert Fans Relate to Their Place of Work

In an interview with The Celebrity Café.com, Adams said he gets asked for his opinion on serious subjects such as the economy and technology. “It’s funny that anybody would listen to anything I have to say,” he commented. “Afterwards I often laugh and say, ‘Why the hell am I answering that question?’” His theory is it’s because he wears glasses, but we know the guy behind Dilbert must know something!

People continually find a connection with Dilbert and Scott Adams through their own experiences at their workplace. Adams points out in one of his books that the comment that he hears most often is, “That’s just like my company.” Scott Adams points out that no matter how absurd he may try to make the comic strip, that he can not seem to stay ahead of what people are experiencing in their own workplaces.


Scott Adams Dilbert Poll

Which of the following is your favorite Scott Adams Quote?

  • Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.
  • Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.
  • There's nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot.
  • You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public.
  • Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.
  • I had several different bosses during the early years of 'Dilbert.' They were all pretty sure I was mocking someone else.
  • The only risk of failure is promotion.
See results without voting

Dilbert The Boss Montage

Scott Adams Words of Wisdom

Of course, Adams isn't afraid of getting something wrong. “Creativity,” he says, “is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” He uses his razor-sharp observations to ensure we all see the inanities in corporate-speak and management B.S. Some examples:

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you're a consultant.

Dance like it hurts, Love like you need money, Work when people are watching.

No matter how smart you are, you spend most of your day being an idiot.

Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

Consultants have credibility because they are not dumb enough to work at your company.

I get mail; therefore I am.

Remind people that profit is the difference between revenue and expense. This makes you look smart.

We must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings.

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Your Comments on Dilbert and Scott Adams Here 3 comments

cperuzzi profile image

cperuzzi 3 years ago from Freehold, NJ

I'm so happy that someone has finally done an article on Scott Adams. Coming from an IT support background, his experience and stories of his time at PacBell ring true every time.

More so than any of his comic strip humor, a MUST READ are his books, "The Dilbert Principle", "Dogbert's Management Handbook", "The Dilbert Future", and "The Joy of Work". As each of these books is hilarious in its own right, always read the last chapter with Adam's serious conclusion to his point. That part is brilliant. His theory of management practice OA5 is revolutionary... much so that no corporate head would even think of implementing it - especially since step #1 is to eliminate all of the assholes.

I think as a follow up to this article you may wish to plumb his more serious work.

EJ Lambert profile image

EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

I've only had the chance to read the comic a few time but there is no doubt that for all its popularity, Dilbert is still somehow underrated by a lot of people, and that speaks to the greatness of Scott Adams.

tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

Love Dilbert. The cartoon is so true to life.

Scott Adams is a real person. He helped start one of my favorite diners. He lives not far from me.

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