A small bright spot during Winter, for me, is that short period from the end of Christmas (which is late in the day on December 26th in my wife’s family) until I go back to work after New Year’s Day.  I’m still off work, there isn’t anything to do, and I have a rare chance to just relax.  This time around, I managed to carve out some time to read one of the books on my list.  Admittedly, I’m not done reading it yet, but I’m far enough through it and familiar enough with the author’s writings to discuss it here.

It’s not like having incomplete comprehension of a subject ever stopped me from posting about it, right?

Shut up.

Anyway, the book I wanted to discuss in this week’s installment of the RVS literature thread is Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams.   The super-short synopsis of the book is that Donald Trump practices an extremely sophisticated form of psychology to craft his messaging and it’s because of this that we won the 2016 election.  Stop laughing, you liberal fucks.  It’s really about that.

I have been a fan of Adams for years.  He’s the cartoonist of Dilbert, but he has written several other books I enjoyed such as The Dilbert Principle, The Dilbert Future, and How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big.  He also has a weekly blog and a very active Twitter presence.  The one thing I didn’t read his writings for prior to 2016 was politics.  I didn’t know or care about his politics, being more interested in his perspectives on business and management along with some of the weirder esoteric stuff.

It wasn’t until around January 2016 that I started paying attention to what Adams had to say about Trump.  Adams predicted very early on that Trump would crush his GOP competitors in the primary and go on to defeat Clinton.  I don’t mind admitting that I didn’t believe either of those events to occur throughout 2015.  Like most anti-Trumpers think nowadays, I thought that Trump was a ridiculous showman who was simply reciting everything he heard from talk radio and Fox News to stoke up audiences.  I didn’t believe he really wanted to be president or even could win.  That is, I didn’t believe it until it was clear that he really was going to win the GOP primary.

That’s when I tuned into what Adams had to say and decided to put my doubts aside and examine his points without prejudice.  What happened is that I started to see the patterns that Adams was talking about with regard to Trump’s outlandish speeches and tweets for myself.  On Election Day, I still doubted that Trump would win, but after he did I was at least sufficiently convinced that he wasn’t really a maniac and had been working toward a long-term goal in a rational but unconventional way.  Since the election, Adams has continued to make predictions about Trump and his performance in office, pretty much all of which has been proven correct.

In Win Bigly, Adams has consolidated and expanded upon his explanation for what a “Master Persuader” is and why Trump is such a powerful one.  It isn’t simply a rehash of Adams’s blog posts, although he does quote some of them in places.  This book is much more in-depth and as Yoda would say unsarcastically, it’s quite a page-turner.

The book is framed sort of as a business/self-help book like Adams’s other works, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who wants to try to become a more effective salesman or anything like that.  Instead, I would recommend it to people who are still confused about why Trump does and says the things he does, particularly people who dislike Trump.

Win Bigly is not going to turn you into a Trump supporter. I wouldn’t expect you to walk away after reading it to become one if you think that Trump is a bigot who is horribly unqualified to be president and you absolutely cannot move past that.  I get that and can tell you that Adams doesn’t try to tell you that the hurtful things Trump says aren’t hurtful to many people.  But the book is extremely instructional in explaining why Trump’s enemies such as CNN and Establishment Republicans keep stomping on their own dicks every time they try to fight him on his own terms.  They clearly don’t understand what he’s doing but it is working for him.

You can think that Donald Trump is an evil Cheeto and still acknowledge that he’s a capable negotiator and intelligent persuader who knows how to wield those skills coupled with his mass media talents to get a huge portion of the American electorate to go along with what he wants to do.  Really, you’re allowed to hate Trump and understand why he’s the president.  I assure you it’s okay.

https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/915682761314324480

Sounds crazy, but it’s amazing to me that nobody in the opposition media has been studying what Adams has to say, beyond giving him the occasional interview to pitch the book.

The only real complaint I have about Win Bigly is that Adams constantly likes to throw it in your face that he predicted everything right about Trump when the pundit class mostly got him wrong.  But then again, Adams doing that is a Master Persuader technique so I can’t hate on it!

Read Win Bigly or prepare to spend the next 3+ years being frustrated and confused about what’s going on with the White House. That’s the bottom line.

What have you been reading?

4 comments

  1. Seems like a pretty stupid thing to be so sure as to write a book about, current investigation considering.

  2. Sorry, let me make a small edit to the review…

    Read Win Bigly or prepare to spend the next 3+ years being frustrated and confused about what’s going on with the White House; but only after you finally get around to accepting that your candidate lost and Trump won.

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