Reading Scott Adams at length is like reading the output of a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters. Mostly garbage, with the occasional line of insight. So it goes with The Dilbert Future. There's good stuff in here, and it was the memory of that good stuff that lead me to re-read this book. I had forgotten the garbage.
Still, at least the garbage sections are peppered with Dilbert cartoons. This gives it a big advantage over the work of monkeys.
The concept of the confusopoly was the one thing I took away from this book last time. It's a delightfully expressed concept that is so very accurate. Any industry that essentially sells an identical service/ product falls into this state. It's for their own benefit. Obscuring the difference between identical products means that consumers can never make a rational choice, after that it's all down to who has the best marketing. Companies seem happy to compete on this level. Home loans, insurance, mobile phone plans, electricity for the home, these are all examples of confusopolies where the direct comparison of identical products is rendered impossible through obfuscation. Good call, Scott.
The Dilbert Future was written in 1998 (or at least published then, according to my copy) so reading it ten years on, some things are dead wrong, some things are kind of right, if you're generous, and some things are spot on. I say that's not bad. Sometimes it is simply chilling. "The incarceration of the entire planet will come about due to a chain of events beginning with an increase in terrorism." Did you have
to be right on that one?
Many of the 'predictions' are simply observation of trends that were well under way in 1998, such as the move to contracting and consulting work for skilled professionals. However I liked his prediction that no one will watch the news anymore as what is presented as 'news' is simply irrelevant. As someone who gave up watching the news years ago, I can only agree. I still watch The Daily Show, mainly because what is presented there is relevant - an interpretation of daily events. If
Scott had foreseen that the leading source of news for many would be a daily show presented by comedians, that would have been impressive.
I'm not going to talk too much about what I didn't like, which is everything else, because then I'll just go on and on and on until everyone rolls their eyes and wishes they were sitting at another table. Nobody wants that.
I would say that The Dilbert Future holds up more than other similar books that attempt to divine future social trends, but I don't waste my time reading any of those other books. They don't have Dilbert cartoons in them.
I can't recommend this book, due to the garbage, instead do a Google search on confusopoly.