Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review - Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies by Scott Adams

Short review: Dogbert gives advice on how to survive the modern office environment.

Dogbert is evil
A management consultant
Steal to gain success

Full review: The second book to be made out of Dilbert comic strips, Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies is based upon the premise that Dogbert, Dilbert's evil sidekick and sometime management consultant, has written it as a guide to being successful at the workplace. To keep the illusion alive, Adams is merely listed as the "illustrator" rather than the author. Of course, Dogbert gives advice applicable to the classic Dilbert workplace, filled with clueless bosses, lazy or incompetent workers, and wildly out of touch consultants. Dogbert offers advice on how to navigate the jungle of office politics, clarifies why one's budget never makes any sense, why management really doesn't care about employees despite pretending to do so, and offers advice on a myriad of other topics. Although the scenarios in the strips are exaggerated somewhat for comic effect, the truly scary thing about the book is that the exaggeration is generally fairly minor. In typical Dilbert fashion, the humor in the strip stems from the bitter reality being satirized.

The only drawback to the book is that the panel size of the cartoon strips has been expanded, and as a result, the book contains fewer comic sequences than it could have. The truly cynical might think that was done so that Adams could squeeze an entire book out of half a book's worth of content. On the other hand, the guidance provided by Dogbert in this book is probably more valuable and useful than the guidance found in most serious books on management or MBA programs, so that seems like a fairly minor quibble. As usual, Adams' insights into the workings of the modern office come in the form of bitterly satirical humor, made all the more painfully funny as a result of the fact that they are, for the most part, so close to being true.

Previous book in the series: Always Postpone Meetings With Time-Wasting Morons
Subsequent book in the series: Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless

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