Scott Adams, June 2007
Born Scott Raymond Adams
June 8, 1957
Windham, New York
Nationality American Area(s) Cartoonist, writer Notable works Dilbert
His Dilbert series came to national prominence through the downsizing period in 1990s America, and then was distributed worldwide. A former worker in various roles at big businesses, he became a full-time cartoonist in 1995. Adams writes in a satirical, often sarcastic way about the social and mental landscape of white-collar workers in modern corporations and other large enterprises.
Scott Adams was born in Windham, New York in 1957. He grew up a big fan of the Peanuts comics, and started drawing his own comics at the age of six. He also became a fan of Mad magazine, and began spending long hours practicing his drawing talent, winning a competition at the age of eleven. In 1968 he was rejected for an arts school and instead focused on a career in law. Adams graduated valedictorian at Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School in 1975, with a class size of 39. He remained in the area and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Hartwick College in 1979. In his senior year, a vehicle breakdown forced him to almost spend a night in the snow, causing him to vow never to see a snowflake again. He took a one way trip to California a few months after his graduation.
Adams worked closely with telecommunications engineers at Crocker National Bank in San Francisco between 1979 and 1986. Upon joining the organization he quickly entered a management training program after being held at gunpoint twice in four months as a teller. Over the years his positions included: management trainee, computer programmer, budget analyst, commercial lender, product manager, and supervisor. During presentations to upper management he often turned to his comic creations to add humor. He earned an MBA in economics and management from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.
Adams created Dilbert the character during this period; the name came from ex-boss Mike Goodwin. Dogbert, originally named Dildog, was loosely based on his family's deceased pet beagle Lucy. Periodic attempts to win publication with Dilbert and non-Dilbert comic panels alike failed, including with The New Yorker and Playboy (not necessarily with the same comics). However an inspirational letter from Jack Casady persuaded Adams to keep trying.
He worked at Pacific Bell between 1986 and June 1995, and the personalities he encountered became the inspiration for many of his Dilbert characters. Adams first published Dilbert with United Media in 1989, while still employed at Pacific Bell. He had to draw his cartoons at 4am in order to work a full day at the company. His first pay-check for Dilbert was a monthly royalty check of $368.62. Gradually Dilbert became more popular, and was published by 100 newspapers in 1991, and 400 by 1994. Adams attributes his success to his idea of including his e-mail address in the panels, thus facilitating feedback from readers.
In 1997, at the invitation of Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta, Adams, wearing a wig and false mustache, successfully impersonated a management consultant and tricked Logitech managers into adopting a mission statement that Adams described as "so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever." That year he won the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, and Best Newspaper Comic Strip of 1997 - the most prestigious awards in the field.
In 1998 Dilbert made it as a TV series, but was cancelled in 2000. By 2000 the comic was in 2000 newspapers in 57 countries and 19 languages.
Finally, I got the call. “You’re number one.”...I still haven’t popped the champagne. I just raise the bar for what would be the right moment, and tell myself how tasty it will be if I ever accomplish something special in my work. Apparently the thing inside me that makes me work so hard is the same thing that keeps me unsatisfied.
— Scott Adams, The Dilbert Blog
An avid fan of the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, he appeared in the season 4 episode "Moments of Transition" as a character named "Mr. Adams," who hires former head of security Michael Garibaldi to locate his megalomaniacal dog and cat. He also had a cameo in "Review", a third-season episode of the TV series NewsRadio, in which the character Matthew Brock (Andy Dick) becomes an obsessed Dilbert fan. Adams is credited as "Guy in line behind Dave and Joe in first scene". Later in the episode, the character Dave Nelson (Dave Foley) hires an actor to play Scott Adams in a trick to bring Matthew back to work at the station.
Adams is the CEO of Scott Adams Foods, Inc., makers of the Dilberito and Protein Chef, and a co-owner of Stacey's Café in Pleasanton, California. Much of his interest in the food business comes from the fact that he is a vegetarian.
He is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Adams is a former member of Mensa.
In recent years, Adams has had a series of debilitating health problems. Since late 2004, he has suffered from a reemergence of his focal dystonia which has affected his drawing, though he can work around the problem by drawing using a graphics tablet. He also suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a condition that causes the vocal cords to behave in an abnormal manner. He recovered from this condition temporarily but in July 2008 underwent surgery to rewire the nerve connections to his vocal cord. In October 2008 Adams reported that he had regained the ability to speak, though not yet to shout. His condition is expected to continue improving over time as the nerve pathways regenerate.
Adams is a vegetarian and trained as a hypnotist. He credits his own success to affirmations, including Dilbert's success and a ninety-four on a difficult qualification exam for business school, among other unlikely events. He states that the affirmations give him focus.
He married Shelly Miles in 2006 and currently resides in Pleasanton, California.
In March 2011, Adams wrote a blog post on the topic of men's rights after men's rights advocates responded in large numbers to his request for readers of his blog to choose his next topic. In the post Adams says that men treat women differently for the same reason that men treat children or the mentally handicapped differently—because it is an effective strategy. The post generated a significant backlash from men's rights advocates as well as feminists and following his own advice from the post—for men to take the path of least resistance when dealing with women—Adams deleted the post from his blog. Several weeks later the post continued to generate controversy. Scott Adams responded to the continuing controversy by reposting the original text preceded by an explanation. Adams argued that like virtually all other posts to his blog he had made extensive use of satire and sarcasm but that it seemed to have been lost on some readers. He wrote that the furor that erupted on both sides of the issue only served to illustrate the point he was making: "You can't expect to have a rational discussion on any topic that has an emotional charge."
- Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless (1993)
- Dilbert Newsletter (since 1994)
- Build A Better Life By Stealing Office Supplies (1994)
- The Dilbert Principle (1996)
- Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook (1996)
- Seven Years of Highly Defective People (1997)
- The Dilbert Future (1997)
- The Joy of Work (1998)
- God's Debris (2001)
- Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel (2002)
- The Religion War (2004)
- Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!: Cartoonist Ignores Helpful Advice (2007)
Adams has received recognition for his work, including the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award and Newspaper Comic Strip Award for 1997 for his work on Dilbert. He had also been climbing the Suntop Media & European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) rankings of the 50 most influential management thinkers placing 31st in 2001, 27th in 2003, and 12th in 2005, but fell to 21st in 2007. He did not place in 2009.
He received the NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language for his participation in "Mission Impertinent" (San Jose Mercury News West Magazine, November 16, 1997).
Adams has coined or popularized several words and phrases over the years, such as:
- BOCTAOE (But Of Course There Are Obvious Exceptions)
- The Dilbert Principle
- PHB (Pointy-Haired Boss)
"Cow-orker" was a pre-existing word from Usenet that Adams popularized through his newsletter. Similarly, "Induhvidual" gained popularity through the newsletter, though it was coined by a reader.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Adams, Scott (2008). Dilbert 2.0: 20 years of Dilbert. Jamaica City: Andrews McMeel. ISBN 0740777351.
- ^ "About Scott Adams". dilbert.com. http://www.dilbert.com/about/. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
- ^ O'Brien, Tia (1997-11-16). "Mission: Impertinent". San Jose Mercury News. http://web.archive.org/web/20000815100041/http://www.mercurycenter.com/archives/dilbert/. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
- ^ http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/06/champagne-momen.html
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0517671/
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0660220/
- ^ Adams, Scott (2008-09-29). "Famous People Lists". Dilbert Blog. http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/famous_people_lists/. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
- ^ Sordyl, Samantha (2005-05-10). "Scott Adams, Drawing the Line". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/09/AR2005050901066.html. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- ^ Zachary Kanin (2008-10-29). "An Interview with the "Dilbert" Cartoonist Scott Adams". New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/cartoonlounge/2008/10/scott-adams-dilbert.html. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- ^ Mentioned in Dilbert: A Treasury of Sunday Strips
- ^ Mentioned in The Dilbert Future
- ^ "Commentary: Dilbert guy's economic poll on McCain, Obama - CNN.com". CNN. 2008-09-16. http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/16/dilbert.economy/index.html. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
- ^ Scott Adams (May 16, 2007). "Bloomberg for President?". The Dilbert Blog. http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/05/bloomberg_for_p.html. Retrieved 2011-02-14.
- ^ a b c d http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/im_a_what/
- ^ http://tinysprout.tumblr.com/post/3713649989/scott-adams-dilbert-deleted-post
- ^ http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/03/24/scott-adams-to-mens-rights-activists-dont-bother-arguing-with-women-theyre-like-children/
- ^ http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Dilbert-Creators-Blog-Makes-Women-Furious-118678874.html
- ^ http://gawker.com/#!5792583/dilbert-creator-pretends-to-be-his-own-biggest-fan-on-message-boards
- ^ http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2011/04/spatwatch/36793/
- ^ http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/feature/2011/04/19/scott_adams_sock_puppetry_scandal/index.html
- ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20110419/ts_yblog_thecutline/the-demotion-of-dilbert-continues-no-comic-relief-for-creator
- ^ http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/04/22/03
- ^ "2001 Results". The Thinkers 50. http://www.thinkers50.com/results-2001. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- ^ "2003 Results". The Thinkers 50. http://www.thinkers50.com/results-2003. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- ^ "2005 Results". The Thinkers 50. http://www.thinkers50.com/results-2005. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- ^ "2007 Results". The Thinkers 50. http://www.thinkers50.com/results-2007. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- ^ "2007 Results". The Thinkers 50. http://www.thinkers50.com/results-2009. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- ^ http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/02/philosotainment.html
- Scott Adams' Blog
- Scott Adams on Charlie Rose
- Newsradio episode "Review", featuring Scott Adams
- Works by or about Scott Adams in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Answers to Your Questions, a 2007 Adams blog post addressing multiple questions and subjects about his daily life
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