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How "Dilbert" Practically Wrote Itself

https://hbr.org/2013/10/how-dilbert-practically-wrote-itself

hbr.org

How "Dilbert" Practically Wrote Itself
To mark his contribution to the hallowed halls of management comedy, we profiled Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, in the November 2013 issue of HBR. He was kind enough to lend us his 550-page tome Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert , where he reveals that more than a handful of the comics documented in his legendary workplace strip actually came straight - sometimes verbatim - from his readers' work-lives, and his own.

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Dilbert's Popularity

Dilbert's Popularity

As the comic begin to be admired and enjoyed by readers, the managers from Adams' job noticed how they were being mocked in his jokes. But instead of getting fired, Adams claimed that his bosses took a different management approach:

"We can't fire him because it would look bad. You must give him absurd assignments until he quits."

But this did not affect Adams - his jokes became even funnier.

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Readers suggestions

Readers suggestions

Sometimes, Scott Adams doesn't have to write the text himself: some are sent by his readers and some are directly quoted from his experiencesAnd Adams knows how to capture the readers' suggestions, even if he doesn't know their situations personally.

People may laugh and relate to all of his jokes, but the truth is: Management can be stranger – and funnier – than management fiction.

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The Creation of Dilbert

Scott Adams started cartooning while still working in a telephone company. After being repeatedly passed over for promotion, he realized that it doesn't matter even though he's not being promoted because he started having time for his hobbies, and one of those was to illustrate cartoons. 

The title "Dilbert" was actually suggested by one of his coworkers, and the jokes behind the comics were based on what he was experiencing at work.

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