His past as an office worker, cartoonist, and writer made him a multimillionaire. But it wasn’t always like that. Scott Adams cataloged 36 different business failures he endured during a speech to Cal-Berkeley. Scott’s secret sauce for success may be unlike any you may have heard before. It's no surprise that fans want to know about Scott Adams' net worth.

Where Did Cartoonist Scott Adams Grow Up?

Scott Adams, age 64, was born in Windham, NY. A big fan of the Peanuts comic strip growing up, he started drawing his comics at age 6. By the time he was 11, Adams won a drawing competition, hinting at the success to come. Ryan Daniel Moran and Scott Adams recently had a chat. You can check it out here.

YouTube video

How Do You Fail At Everything?

Upon joining Crocker National Bank in San Francisco in 1979, Adams started as a bank teller. Having been held at gunpoint twice, the savvy Adams moved to a management trainee position. He stayed at Crocker until 1986, having worked in many different roles.

The idea for Dilbert came while he was there, but The New Yorker and Playboy rejected his submissions.

Because of this, he thought of quitting. But then as Adams says in Dilbert 2.0: 20 years of Dilbert, he received an inspirational letter from a fan that convinced him to keep going.

Then in 1986 Adams left Crocker and joined Pacific Bell. He stayed for 10 years. There, Adams met many who became the inspiration for his Dilbert characters. 

How Do You Win Bigly?

While still employed at Pac Bell in 1989, United Media first published Dilbert. Adams’ full-time job forced him to draw Dilbert’s cartoons at 4 am every morning. Later, Adams would say:

In my case, I couldn’t quit my day job right away because the comic started very slowly. Working full-time was just a necessity. But once Dilbert became a workplace comic, it turned out that I was getting so much material from my day job that having two jobs actually made both of them much easier. My day job didn’t bother me anymore because I didn’t worry about getting fired so much—I now had a backup plan. My cartooning job was almost ridiculously easy because I was just transcribing my experiences at work. The two of them worked together very effectively.

Though his first monthly royalty check for the comics was only $368.82, the effort paid off.

By 1991, 100 newspapers published Dilbert. By 1994, it was 400. Now, Dilbert appears online and in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries and 25 languages. 

Awards for Adams

As you’ll see below, Scott Adams believes he’s adequate at what he does. Others disagree. Here are the awards he received for his work on Dilbert:

  • National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award (Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, 1997)
  • Newspaper Comic Strip Award (1997)
  • NCTE George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language (1998) 
Courtesy of Scott Adams - https://www.gocomics.com/dilbert-classics

Building on Dilbert’s Success

Adams first tried to build on Dilbert’s success by becoming the CEO of Scott Adams Foods, Inc. That company made the Dilberito and Protein Chef. He said, "Diet is the number one cause of health-related problems in the world. I figured I could put a dent in that problem and make some money at the same time.” Unfortunately, the venture failed, but that didn’t stop Adams from moving forward. 

Is Dilbert Still Being Written?

Yes, it is. But smartly, Scott diversified out from writing the comic strip. Now, he’s not only one of the richest cartoonists who ever lived, but he’s also a bestselling author. Scott Adams’ books include:

  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life
  • Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
  • Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America.

They have all topped the bestseller lists. It seems Adams is as good a writer as he is a cartoonist.

He is also the co-founder and chief strategy officer of WhenHub. It's a company whose interface allows you to call a video advisor on any topic. This is one way Scott chose a problem to take ownership of and this is the solution he helped create - all in response to the sad loss of his step-son.

But Adams has another skill that came in very handy for the coming times: he is a trained hypnotist. 


The Big Business Risk for Scott Adams: Trump

Scott Adams had stuck to office politics throughout his cartooning career. That changed when the 2016 election campaign in the USA was in full swing. Against the wishes of his California friends, Adams endorsed Donald J. Trump.

Though he had refused to endorse anyone throughout 2015, Adams praised Trump’s skills. He called Trump a “Master Persuader." Adams also highlighted Trump's unusual “talent stack” or skills combination.

Then he retracted the Trump endorsement in favor of Hillary Clinton. He said, “Where I live, in California, it is not safe to be seen as supportive of anything Trump says or does. So I fixed that.” But in late September 2016, Adams switched back his endorsement to Trump in this excerpt from Win Bigly.

President Trump’s critics (and mine) asked me how I could call the president a Master Persuader when his public approval levels were in the cellar. The quick answer is that low approval didn’t stop him from winning the presidency. And according to his supporters, it didn’t stop him from getting things done on the job. His persuasion skills, combined with the power of the presidency, were all he needed. Keep in mind that disapproving of Trump’s style and personality is a social requirement for people who long for a more civil world. Effectiveness is a separate issue from persuasive skill.

But here’s the fun part: I also believed that Trump—the Master Persuader—was going to do far more than win the presidency. I expected Trump to rip a hole in the fabric of reality so we could look through it to a deeper truth about the human experience. And he did exactly that.

Adams was so strong at defending the president, he was even featured in a talk on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. And he wasn’t afraid to fight the Democrats on his YouTube channel. He won. Adams correctly predicted the Democrats would not remove the impeached Trump from office.

Scott Adams’ Twitter is “required reading” for both Trump’s supporters and detractors.

Yet, when The Left labeled him a “Trump apologist,” it ended his speaking career and reduced his income by 40%.

But as Scott Adams' net worth is estimated at $75 million by therichest, Adams handled it well.

Creator: Marcio Jose Sanchez Credit: Associated Press

How Did Scott Adams Become So Successful?

By Scott Adams’s own admission he is:

  • A mediocre artist
  • Never won a writing award
  • Not the funniest person in the room
  • Has average business skills

Layering these complementary skills allowed Adams to build his empire. He calls this the 25% Rule. Adams says that instead of trying to be the best at 1 thing, you should try and become very good at two or more things. Very good means that you’re in the top 25% in that field.

For him, it worked like this:

Good drawer (top 25%) + good humor (top 25%) = Great comic strip (top 90%)

This mirrors Capital Theory that entrepreneurs use. Simply, it means an entrepreneur can assemble a set of assets that are special to his or her firm. Then mix those assets in such a way that the combination is unique, or at least hard to copy.

What assets, attributes, or skills do you have? How can you uniquely mix them to create your winning formula? 

scott adams net worth
Credit: Popzara Podcast

Some More Excellent Adams Advice For Future Wealth Creators

Adams published Dilbert’s One Page Personal Finance List. Take advantage of it whether you're a business owner or make a salary working for someone else:

  • Make a will.
  • Pay off your credit card balance.
  • Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
  • Fund your company 401K to the maximum.
  • Fund your IRA to the maximum.
  • Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
  • Put six months’ expenses in a money market account.
  • Take what's left and invest it 70 percent in a stock index fund and 30 percent in a bond fund. Do this through any discount brokerage company and never touch your earnings until retirement.
  • If any of this confuses you, or have a retirement, college planning, or a tax issue, hire a fee-based financial planner. Don't hire one who charges you a percentage of your portfolio.

Another bit of advice from Adams is this: make use of affirmations. Adams writes down what he wants 15 times in a row, once a day.

Within weeks, "amazing coincidences started to happen," he says. "Within a few months, the goal was accomplished." He applied the same technique to get his MBA and become a syndicated cartoonist.

But while Adams uses affirmations, this is his most important wealth creation idea:

Systems are more important than goals.

Create a system for yourself. Create processes. Your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job. Always look for better options. Don’t stop until you’ve achieved whatever your goal is.  

Where Does Scott Adams Live?

He is not known for his extravagance, but Scott Adams’ house is gorgeous. It’s located in one of the most exclusive enclaves of the San Francisco Bay Area. He gives you a tour of it on Scott Adams’ YouTube channel.  

Who is Scott Adams Married To?

While divorced, he is doing quite well for himself. In December 2019, Adams announced his engagement to pianist and model Kristina Balsham. Here at Capitalism.com, we wish them all the best.

A Very Happy Scott and Kristina 

Does Scott Adams Still Draw Dilbert?

Thankfully, he still does. You can check out his comics here at Dilbert Classics. Not only that, but Scott Adams’ blog is also worth a follow. Coffee with Scott Adams, his podcast, is equally brilliant. 

The Takeaway

Scott Adams is a brilliant, yet realistic writer and entrepreneur. His work inspires and motivates without hype, and he isn’t afraid to court controversy. His WhenHub project connects people with problems to people with solutions. All in all, Scott Adams' net worth stems from the value he delivers to the world. He is a multimillionaire to look up to and emulate.

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