Are facts no longer relevant? How can you twist the truth and outright lie, yet still win? Scott Adams sets out to explore just that but ends up convincing himself instead in Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter.
Win Bigly, Fail Bigly
Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, very publicly backed Donald Trump to win in the 2016 US presidential election (after flipping and flopping in his position). In Win Bigly, he explores the tools used by Trump to win, even when so many bet against him.
Adams has a theory that Trump is a “master persuader”, someone capable to winning no matter how disadvantaged they look and to whom facts simply don’t matter. He believes Trump has a super-human ability to persuade people, and he’s so into this idea of a “master persuader” that the term used nearly every other page it would seem, to the point that it becomes meaningless.
How does he know Trump has such abilities? Well, the author claims he has a special ability as a “trained identifier”, thanks to his hypnosis training. He believes this training lets him see through the alternate realities hypnotists convince their subjects of. While all others have fallen for this, Adams is the one with the ability not to be fooled. Sure.
The term “trained identifier” is overused almost as much as “master persuader” throughout the book.
A Book Of Confirmation Bias
It quickly becomes clear that Adams is suffering from one of the most extreme cases of confirmation bias ever seen. Each assumption becomes concrete fact and perfectly calculated choice once it comes true. Those that failed are explained away with little regard, written off as unimportant, or ignored. Any piece of his predictions that have come true were due to his special abilities to identify “master persuaders” and anything he failed to get right doesn’t matter.
Attribution bias plays a huge part in further disillusions Adams has about his own abilities. Where he set out to prove that Trump and himself have magical abilities to persuade and identify persuasion, he seems to have done little but completely convince himself of his powers.
Master Of Nothing
In the end, this book offers little. Even if we did buy into the authors self-allusion, it’s still simply a book about how great he thinks he is at having a power others lack. The entire book is Adams giving himself a pat on the back and saying “Good boy.”
The reality is that both Trump and Adams have no special powers and any the author thinks he sees are the result of his own personal biases.
If you’d still like to spend your time seeing how totally someone can convince themselves they’ve got the ability to predict the future when many failed to do so, grab a copy of Win Bigly: Persuasion In A World Where Facts Don’t Matter from Amazon now. It’ll be anything but convincing.