Book Review: The Dilbert Future by Scott Adams (1997)

I don’t know if it was inappropriate or not, but I read The Dilbert Future at work. Unlike most Dilbert books, which lament the workplace environment and the world’s dysfunctional state, this book laments the current state and the state the world was going to be in. So it represents a forward looking bad employee attitude.

Scott Adams took his cartooning insight into trends that were nascent in 1997 (or 1996, which is when I assume he wrote the book) and projected them out into the future. With some wryness, of course, but with some sincerity, too. His futurism is hit or miss, but he did pick up on some interesting things which came true. Some don’t, however. We don’t all have ISDN, but we do have cable modems and DSL, which are gradually supplanting the dial-up lines used in 1997. And this Internet thing has gotten a whole lot bigger. Not as big as the hype which would peak within a couple years of this book’s publication, but bigger. Adams also picked up the trend of blogging:

    Prediction 52: In the future, everyone will be a news reporter.

Jeff Jarvis is so behind Scott Adams.

So Adams takes his best stabs at the future, and the book’s amusing enough with that. However, with the ultimate chapter, “A New View of the Future”, Adams goes careers off into a I’m Not Really Here-style weird Buddhist musing. He talks about how future paradigm shifts will indicate our current perception of the experience of time is inaccurate, and the near past, near future, and present are all the same, or similar, or something. He’s sincere. Hey, I am all for keeping an open mind, but this bit lacks a big enough dose of skepticism for me.

Still, it’s only a chapter, and it’s not the whole book, so I can overlook it and say the book’s amusing enough to read.