Episode 502 Scott Adams: A Linguistic Kill Shot for Religious Extremism. A Persuasion Lesson


  • Whiteboard: A persuasion lesson, explaining the concepts in play
    • Example: A linguistic kill shot for religious extremism

Please donate to support my Periscopes and Podcasts:

I also fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer these methods over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.
See all of my Periscope videos here.
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Episode 490 Scott Adams: Sanctuary City Persuasion, Climate Change Solutions


  • White House considers shipping illegals to sanctuary cities
    • Phase 2: Why won’t sanctuary cities accept them?
    • Phase 3 Kill Shot: “How many illegal immigrants will you take”
  • Our government is so broken it can’t act on things both sides agree on
  • Nobody “shakes the box” better than President Trump
    • Side Note: AOC also “shakes the box” effectively
  • Small floating cities are essentially aircraft carriers
    • Aircraft carriers are nuclear powered, Gen IV applicable
  • Green Peace supports Gen IV SAFE nuclear power
  • Why aren’t FOX or CNN discussing, covering SAFE Gen IV nuclear?
    • BOTH sides of congress support SAFE Gen IV nuclear power
  • Dems want to say GOP isn’t doing anything about climate change
    • SAFE Gen IV solves climate change, it’s being developed
  • 5G isn’t just faster internet
    • 5G is civilization changing
    • Education, VR, healthcare, everything major will be transformed
  • Lets get to free education the smart way…through technology
    • Schools today: bullying, drugs, sex
    • With technology, we CAN do better for our children

Please donate to support my Periscopes and Podcasts:

I also fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer these methods over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.
See all of my Periscope videos here.
Find my WhenHub Interface app here.
below is a demonstration of the personal DONATE button you can add to any blog or web page. All you need is a free account on the Interface by WhenHub app.

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Episode 438 Scott Adams: Persuasion Scorecard For Politics so Far This Year. Who is Winning?


  • Debate and persuasion are NOT the same thing
    • You can win a debate WITHOUT changing anyone’s mind
  • Fact-checking complaints, show you are stuck in “debate mindset”
    • Facts, ethics, morality and persuasion effectiveness
  •  Persuasion Scorecard – Rating various political persuasion plays
  • Jussie Smollett helped convince a lot of people that fake news exists
  • “Rights” are an invention of government to grant or deny permissions
  • If President Trump promotes Gen IV nuclear power solutions, he wins
    • Gen IV is the only available, practical solution for climate change
  • The Left considers climate change their signature issue, and yet…
    • …they aren’t aware that Gen IV is a safe, existing solution
  • Gen IV is what we should be doing, even if climate change isn’t real
  • What if Dems use Executive Orders once they return to power?
    • The EOs they might declare, and what might happen

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

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Episode 370 Scott Adams: Dear Diary, RPOS, Climate Change Persuasion


  • Jim Acosta became America’s piñata yesterday
    • He stood in front of the wall and said no problems here!
    • President tweets reply to Acosta, “Dear Diary”
  • CNN contacted San Diego station KUSI for anti-wall content
    • KUSI is pro-wall, CNN decided not to use their content?
  • Fentanyl deaths are being compared to Viet Nam war deaths
  • The border debate is bringing the country together
    • Average person knowledge of the issue increasing
  • Border arguments from both sides…without the politics
    • Drugs, crime, numbers of crimes versus rate percentage
    • VISA overstays
  • Why are there gaps in parts of the scientists climate change stance?
    •   The historical data used in the hockey stick graph
    • It shows an earlier point, before CO2, same hockey stick
  • ClimateGate emails are a conspiracy theory, completely debunked
  • Data discrepancies from the past, tree ring experts and proxies
    • From 1960 to present, tree rings don’t track temperatures
    • Tree ring data was good in the past…but not now?
  • Challenge responses about William Happer’s claims and validity
  • Scientists say you can’t look at just some regions, need whole world
    • NASA site “proof” of warming is the Arctic…one area?
    • Some places are warming…but not all? Some are cooling?
  • Can we accurately measure ocean temperatures, today and historically?
    • How much of the ocean are we measuring, maybe 1%?
  • Direct causes of heat, like my car, my fireplace, my heated home
    • Is direct heat causing or responsible for any global warming?
  • RPOS, the person formerly known as AOC…
    • …beginning to get pushback from fellow Democrats
    • A festering wound for hopes of a Democrat Presidency?

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

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Episode 369 Scott Adams: Whiteboard Discussion of Border Persuasion


  • Great examples of CNN mind reading by Stephen Collinson
    • Guesses and hunches are being presented as news
  • Solar panels on the wall and vandalism
  • Whiteboard: Border Barrier Debate
    • Dems are winning on topics of drugs and crime
    • Effective mocking and sarcasm
  • If Mexico pays for the wall, would it then be “moral”?
  • Current immigration policies mostly benefit rich white people
    • VISA overstays versus sneaking across the border
  • About 70% of climate change skeptic points aren’t valid
  • Did Michael Mann use tree ring estimates for gaps…
    • …and later discontinue tree rings as an unreliable proxy?
  • Are testosterone levels in males decreasing, or are men evolving?
    • lifestyles that increase or decrease testosterone
    • Soy is everywhere, in a lot of our food

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

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Episode 364 Scott Adams: RPOS, The Steel Barrier and Climate Persuasion


  • AOC is now RPOS, says: “Trump is a racist”
    • Does RPOS support a transfer of wealth from white and Asian Americans to other ethnic groups?
  • Climate change authoritative sources pro and con
    • Both sides use same data to support their position
    • Sifting through persuasive arguments from both sides
  • 22 tree ring experts say Michael Mann results were flawed
    • Michael Mann says he discovered tree ring expert flaw
  • 17 year pause in warming, while CO2 was increasing yearly
    • If CO2 is the main driving force, why the temp pause?
  • Map of temperature measurement device locations
    • Vast majority are in the US
    • Enormous parts of the globe have no measurement devices
  • Until both sides can claim “victory”, no progress on the wall
    • “immoral” painted Pelosi into a corner
    • Are ALL border controls immoral?
    • Are barriers that are easier to breach, more moral?
  • Nancy Pelosi looks like a weak leader because of RPOS

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

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Episode 362 Scott Adams: AOC Derangement Syndrome, Shutdown Persuasion, Wall Funding, and Karate


  • Would-be kidnapper chases victim into karate studio
    • Master Persuader AOC is using Trump’s 2015 play EXACTLY
    • She’s controlling the conversation, attention, energy
  • Wall negotiations, setting persuasion “anchors”
    • Pelosi anchors at zero, down from older offer
    • President Trump re-anchors at 5.6 billion, up from 5
  • Pelosi says “walls are immoral”
    • Shouldn’t we therefore remove ALL border barriers?
  • Building the wall by declaring a national emergency
  • President Trump is branding himself as the reasonable one
  • Some climate change claims are easily debunked
    • Is the Michael Mann hockey stick graph accurate?
    • Is Tony Heller wrong about temperature adjustments?
    • Climate change believers say adjustments went both ways
    • Tony says ALL adjustments went one direction
    • Who is correct?
  • Claim: Multiple ways to measure temps, and they ALL agree
    • Skeptic says Michael Mann’s methodology is flawed
    • Says any random data produces the SAME Mann graph
    • Who is correct?
  • Looking at various climate change claims…
    • Decreasing ice at the poles and the world
    • Rising sea levels around the world
    • Water vapor as the main component of global warming
    • It’s the sun, that’s what is causing climate change

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 362 Scott Adams: AOC Derangement Syndrome, Shutdown Persuasion, Wall Funding, and Karate appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 285 Scott Adams: Flag Persuasion and How to do it Right. Starts at Midnight


  • Proper persuasion technique for influential flag tweets
    • Increases likelihood of  viewer voting Republican
  • Tweet images of the American flag only…Nothing else
    • NO text
    • NO additional images
    • NOTHING…but the American flag should be in your tweet
  • Begin tweeting Sunday-Tuesday…but don’t overdo it

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 285 Scott Adams: Flag Persuasion and How to do it Right. Starts at Midnight appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 277 Scott Adams: CNN’s Clever Persuasion That is Working


  • Effective mind control by CNN and the other anti-Trump press
    • Should a sitting President criticize the press?
    • Bypasses key question…do they deserve the criticism?
    • CNN wants you to “think past the sale”
  • Press bias can be productive, or damaging to our country
    • Friend of the people…versus the enemy of the people
  • Example of the press being the enemy of the people
    • Charlottesville hoax: generated, promoted by the press
    • To this day, it’s used as confirmation and fact by CNN
    • Extremely divisive and damaging to our country

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 277 Scott Adams: CNN’s Clever Persuasion That is Working appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Persuasion – Jane Austen

Jane Austen - Persuasion  artwork


Jane Austen

Genre: Romance

Price: $ 12.99

Rental Price: $ 3.99

Release Date: February 1, 2000

A young couple's stormy romance scandalizes English society in this acclaimed adaptation of Jane Austen's classic love story. Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds of the Royal Shakespeare Company are the star-crossed lovers, Anne and Wentworth, whose passion is thwarted by a scheming socialite. Eight years later, when Anne is considered an old maid and her once-rich family is on the verge of bankruptcy, Wentworth returns. Will their second chance at love be ruined by the social conventions that destroyed it once? Or will the heart be persuaded by rules of its own? Adding flirtatious fun to Austen's irresistible romance, Persuasion takes your breathe away! A dazzling five-star feast.

© © 1995 British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

iTunes Store: Top Video Rentals in Romance

Episode 253 Scott Adams: A Persuasion Lesson While Persuading You to Try the Interface App


  • Key persuasion tips throughout the discussion
  • Why, how, when to use various persuasion techniques, demonstrated

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 253 Scott Adams: A Persuasion Lesson While Persuading You to Try the Interface App appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 241 Scott Adams: Temperament, False Accusations, Voting Persuasion and Ye


  • Ye got bullied backstage at SNL for his MAGA hat
  • Would you defend yourself in an angry way, if falsely accused?
  • Dale scoffs and LOLs at “temperament” being applied to men
  • What percentage of sexual abuse accusations turn out to be false?
  • False accusations against people in the public eye are common
  • Why I registered to vote yesterday
  • Persuasion tips for getting like minded people to register and vote
  • Congress slush-fund to pay off their sex accusers
    • How many of those accusations were false?
    • Would that information be relevant to a decision on Kavanaugh?

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 241 Scott Adams: Temperament, False Accusations, Voting Persuasion and Ye appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 208 Scott Adams: Socialism, Woodward’s Book, Nike, Airplane Fear Persuasion


  • Amy Siskind took down her tweet accusing Zina Bash of white power signal
  • Bob Woodward’s book says things denied by the people referenced
    • He begins with a fact and devolves into mind reading over and over
  • Understand President Trump’s mindset, and how he’s successful is obvious
  • Selling healthcare for all without getting stuck in the Socialism bog
  • Uses for the Interface app by WhenHub

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 208 Scott Adams: Socialism, Woodward’s Book, Nike, Airplane Fear Persuasion appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 149 Scott Adams: How the White House is Executing a Brutally Effective High Ground Persuasion Play


  • Arguing about the weeds…versus preventing nuclear armageddon
  • Trump’s velvet glove approach before the hardass approach
  • Good risk management approach
  • Are the free press still the guardians of our freedom?
  • Most people’s opinions are assigned to them by the press
  • The press knows how to rewire your brain in their reporting
  • The Russian NRA spy story


I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

Find my WhenHub Interface app here.

The post Episode 149 Scott Adams: How the White House is Executing a Brutally Effective High Ground Persuasion Play appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 74: A Lesson in Positive Persuasion and Strategy


  • Whiteboard discussion
  • Positive Persuasion lesson
  • Bad persuasion – Good persuasion
  • Life strategy example and discussion
  • Solutions can be completely unrelated to the problem
  • Oddly specific denials

I fund my Periscopes and podcasts via audience micro-donations on Patreon. I prefer this method over accepting advertisements or working for a “boss” somewhere because it keeps my voice independent. No one owns me, and that is rare. I’m trying in my own way to make the world a better place, and your contributions help me stay inspired to do that.

See all of my Periscope videos here.

For persuasion-related content in book form, see my bestselling book, Win Bigly.

The post Episode 74: A Lesson in Positive Persuasion and Strategy appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 108: Repealing 2nd Amendment, Ann Coulter’s Persuasion, and 2018 midterms

How Judge Stevens’ article on repealing the 2nd Amendment will drive Republicans to the polls in 2018.

Ann Coulter’s persuasion on President Trump to build the wall using military funding.

My 2018 midterm election prediction update.

The post Episode 108: Repealing 2nd Amendment, Ann Coulter’s Persuasion, and 2018 midterms appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 105: Using Persuasion Tools to Pitch Your Startup

Scott Adams describes some of the persuasion tools you can use when pitching your startup. The backdrop is Scott’s pitch of the WhenHub Interface app (a startup he co-founded) at the 2018 Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Conference in San Francisco. Scott tells you what techniques he used.

The post Episode 105: Using Persuasion Tools to Pitch Your Startup appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Episode 100: Using Persuasion to Reduce Opioid Addiction

Scott Adams tells you how the field of persuasion has advanced since the days of Nancy Reagan’s “Just say no” campaign against drugs. Can we persuade young people to stay away from opioids? I suggest one approach that could work.

The post Episode 100: Using Persuasion to Reduce Opioid Addiction appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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How to Criticize a Political Opponent Using List Persuasion

I’m seeing a lot of “list” journalism now that is designed to paint President Trump in a negative light. The power of the list is that the more items on the list, the more persuasive it looks, even if the items are weak. Here’s a good example.

If you want to create a persuasive political attack list, be sure to include the following elements in various combinations.

  • Situations that could turn out bad but probably won’t
  • Imperfect situations that aren’t terribly important
  • A rumor that would be bad if  it were true, but probably isn’t true
  • Words such as “stunning” and “death match” to convey badness without reasons
  • A misinterpretation of what your target said or meant
  • Intentional omission of relevant context including any positives
  • Expert opinions that the candidate who won the presidency with no political experience and had one of the best first years of any president (for conservatives) doesn’t know how to do things
  • Opinions based on mind-reading, such as “He only cares about one thing!”

The power of the list is that while each item is unimportant, false, overblown, or an obvious misinterpretation of intent, the sheer quantity of items makes it persuasive nonetheless. A list of five criticisms is better than three, and ten is better than five. It doesn’t much matter how solid any of the items are when viewed in isolation. Readers will remember the size of the list more than the items on it.

You see this method used with the Russian collusion narrative. Any one item on the list would mean little or nothing. It only looks persuasive because of quantity plus confirmation bias. Critics will chirp “With so much smoke, there must be fire!” But of course the critics and political enemies created the smoke, not the targeted politician.

I am often criticized for praising effective persuasion and leaving out the ethical dimension. I’ll do it again right here because I trust you to apply your own moral filter. I’m only here to tell you what works and what doesn’t. And this attack-list method totally works. President Trump isn’t the only persuader in the game. His opponents, collectively but not individually, have a great game too. Is their persuasion ethical and moral? I trust you to make that judgement without my assist.

I know most of you bristle at the thought that “the ends justify the means.” So don’t think of it that way. Think of it as benefits exceeding costs. And by that I mean I would lie to a terrorist to save your child’s life. I hope you would do the same for me.

We live in an imperfect world. It doesn’t help to pretend otherwise.

I started a Patreon account so my audience can influence my content — via micro-donations as low as one dollar.

Writing about persuasion and politics reduced my income by about 30-40% because of tribal effects. I took that risk with full understanding of the outcome because I thought it was worth educating the public on what they were witnessing.

Patreon funding will persuade me to express my opinions as often as practical without worrying about the sensibilities of sponsors, advertisers, or corporate bosses. I appreciate all of you who are making this happen.


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The Charlottesville Fake News Was the Best Persuasion Play of the Past Year

Now that some time has passed, and emotions have subsided a bit, I can tell you about the best persuasion play of the past year. The credit goes to the anti-Trump media. They convinced much of the world that the President of the United States referred to a bunch of racists with tiki torches in Charlottesville as “fine people.”

What President Trump did say is that some “fine people” were at the event. I see only two ways to interpret that statement. One interpretation is completely ordinary and the other is batshit crazy. The batshit crazy interpretation is the one the anti-Trump media persuaded you is the real one. They would have you believe that the President of the United States publicly and unabashedly sided with self-labelled racists who were chanting anti-Jewish slogans. We are asked to believe President Trump took sides with the anti-semitic chanters despite having a Jewish daughter, Jewish grandkids, Jewish son-in-law, and several Jewish top advisors. We also know President Trump is so popular in Israel that they are considering naming a train station after him. And Netanyahu gets along with President Trump great. Probably has something to do with President Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

Amazingly, the anti-Trump media successfully persuaded half the public in this country that President Trump intentionally and publicly took sides with racists who have intense hatred for his family and close advisors. President Trump clarified soon after his first statement on Charlottesville that he disavowed the racists. But the haters didn’t believe it. They were locked in their hallucination bubble.

Let’s compare two interpretations of President Trump’s “fine people” statement.

Batshit Crazy Interpretation: President Trump is so dumb, and so racist, that he decided to publicly side with racists against his own family and his closest advisors. And yet, while being so dumb, he somehow succeeded in multiple fields and became President of the United States with no prior experience. This interpretation also requires that Israel, his family, and his closest advisors are so dumb that they haven’t noticed how racist President Trump is against them.


Totally Ordinary Interpretation: President Trump assumed there were some non-racist Republicans at the event for their own reasons, such as supporting historical landmarks, or supporting free speech no matter how awful it is. And he was right, although there were not many of them. Here’s a clip of some “fine people” who were in attendance. They say they like free speech and they hate racists.

We all know President Trump has a track record of speaking out on a variety of topics without having all the details. That’s one of the few things that both his supporters and his detractors can agree on. So compare the hypothesis that he decided to side with racists against the interests of his own family, in public, while President, to the hypothesis that he thought (correctly) that some non-racist Republicans were also in attendance.

Which of those two versions of events seems most likely to you?

Is it even close?

Man tries to distinguish an apple from a banana and fails

I don’t blame the public for falling for this well-orchestrated persuasion scheme by the anti-Trump media. Their collective persuasion on this point has been solid. Lately, the people opposing Trump simply list Charlottesville as one of the many “proofs” of his racism, as if no further explanation is needed. I can’t tell if the pundits believe their own interpretations or if they simply think the public will. It would look the same.

I propose a test to see if anti-Trump news professionals and pundits who consider Charlottesville as proof of President Trump’s racism will commit to their positions in public. You can test this at home with your Trump-hating friends. Simply print out my blog post and ask them to read the two interpretations I listed and ask them to tell you which one seems most likely. If your subject tries to change the topic, you have your answer.

I predict that 100% of people who believe President Trump called racists “fine people” will change the subject as soon as you make them read the two competing interpretations of events in close proximity. That’s your tell.

And if you want to rub it in, ask your Trump-hating subjects if they believe President Trump would NOT have pursued the birther issue against a white opponent if the opportunity had been the same. Remind your subject that President Trump uses every weapon available to him, all the time, no matter what. He not only accused Ted Cruz of being born in Canada but he suggested Cruz’ father might have been in on assassinating Kennedy.

I tested the birther argument today on Twitter when a critic brought it up. He changed the subject.


I started a Patreon account to fund — via micro-donations as low as one dollar — the expansion of my Periscope content on the topic of persuasion, usually about politics. Step One involves converting my Periscope videos into audio-only podcast form for greater reach. That work is in progress. I’ll work on topic indexes next, and perhaps topic summaries in text form. YouTube is a lower priority because fans already post my Periscopes there. At some point I might do that myself.

Patreon funding will motivate me to express my opinions as often as practical without worrying about the sensibilities of sponsors, advertisers, or corporate bosses. I appreciate all of you who are making this happen.

The post The Charlottesville Fake News Was the Best Persuasion Play of the Past Year appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Persuasion Reading List – Updated 1/18

Update: New Book added: Win Bigly – By Scott Adams

Readers of this blog have been asking me to update my persuasion reading list. If you wonder why people are asking a cartoonist about persuasion, it is because I am a trained hypnotist, and mention that skill often in the context of blogging and Periscoping. I have also studied the various tools of persuasion for years because they are helpful in my job as a writer. In my New York Times best selling book Win Bigly I teach you President Trump’s world-class persuasion techniques that you can use for your work or personal life.

I recommend reading these books in the order listed. If you decide to skip a few, I strongly recommend reading the first book on the list, Influence, as a grounding for the rest.

Influence – by Robert B. Cialdini PhD

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life – by Scott Adams

Win Bigly – By Scott adams (Persuasion Tips based on the 2016 election)

Impossible to Ignore – Dr. Carmen Simon

Trump: The Art of the Deal – Donald J. Trump

What Every BODY is Saying – by Joe Navarro

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – by Charles Duhigg

Thinking, Fast and Slow – by Daniel Kahneman

Salt Sugar Fat – by Michael Moss

Pre-Suasion – By Robert B. Cialdini PhD

Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail–Every Place, Every Time  – by Gerry Spence

How to Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie

The Design of Everyday Things – by Don Norman

How to Write a Good Advertisement – by Victor O. Schwab

The Secret to Selling Anything – by Harry Browne

The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding – by Blair Warren

Note: I removed several books from earlier versions of the list to give it some focus. I also removed the books about hypnosis because you can’t effectively learn that sort of skill from books.


I started a Patreon account to fund — via micro-donations as low as one dollar — the expansion of my Periscope content on the topic of persuasion, usually about politics. Step One involves converting my Periscope videos into audio-only podcast form for greater reach. That work is in progress. I’ll work on topic indexes next, and perhaps topic summaries in text form. YouTube is a lower priority because fans already post my Periscopes there. At some point I might do that myself.

Patreon funding will motivate me to express my opinions as often as practical without worrying about the sensibilities of sponsors, advertisers, or corporate bosses. I appreciate all of you who are making this happen.

The post Persuasion Reading List – Updated 1/18 appeared first on Dilbert Blog.

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Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter (Unabridged) – Scott Adams

Scott Adams - Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter (Unabridged)  artwork

Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter (Unabridged)

Scott Adams

Genre: Comedy

Price: $ 23.95

Publish Date: October 31, 2017

© ℗ © 2017 Penguin Audio

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I Explain the Persuasion Techniques President Trump is using on The Wall and DACA

You might enjoy my Periscope playback from this morning in which I describe the several persuasion techniques President Trump is using on the topic of The Wall and DACA.

Here’s the quick summary.

Visual Persuasion: President Trump describes border security (a concept) with the word “wall” because you can visualize it. Our visual sense is our most persuasive path for influence. It would be weak persuasion to talk about border security as a concept without a visual.

Simplicity: Border security is a big topic, and the method you use to secure it will depend on the terrain and other factors. If President Trump mentioned all of that complexity each time he talked about border security it would be a big yawn. Simple messages such as “build a wall” always beat complicated (but accurate) conceptual arguments.

Strategic Ambiguity: In hypnosis class we learned to omit any details the subject might find objectionable. Following good form, President Trump doesn’t get too specific about the type of wall he wants. He lets us see the wall that makes the most sense to us.

We see the same strategic ambiguity after his famous dinner “agreement” with Pelosi and Schumer. The Democratic leaders got to announce “no wall” while the President says “yes wall.” The reality is that both sides agree on spending for border improvements, some of which will undoubtedly be wall-ish sometime in the next few years. We citizens get to pick which version of reality we like best: wall or no wall. The ambiguity supports both views. And it is intentional.

Big First Demand: A good negotiator starts with an aggressive first demand so there is plenty of room to negotiate toward the middle. President Trump started his campaign promising to deport every undocumented immigrant. That first demand was so extreme that he has plenty of room to negotiate toward a reasonable center, such as allowing DACA folks to stay.

Likewise, the “Wall” idea is seen by many Trump critics and supporters alike to mean a solid wall for the entire border with Mexico. This was never a practical idea, and candidate Trump said so directly at least once, but he wisely didn’t emphasize the full range of solutions for the border. Now it will seem totally reasonable to build a solid wall wherever border security is most problematic, so long as it is not extended to the entire border.

Thinking Past the Sale: In this case, the “sale” is President Trump’s desire to tighten border security. Now both sides assume the border will be tightened and they are only debating the budget and the details. This is classic persuasion. The President never allowed the country to spend time debating whether or not we wanted better border control. Instead, he made us focus on how to do it. He made the sale before the country thought it had anything to buy.

Trading Imaginary Assets for Real Ones: If we believe initial reports from Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump, there will be some sort of deal for greater border security in exchange for allowing DACA folks to stay in the country. But realistically, the DACA folks couldn’t have been rounded up and deported without a civil war. So President Trump traded an imaginary asset (the idea of deporting the DACA folks) for something potentially real in terms of greater border security funding.

Pacing and Leading: Pacing refers to matching your subject in some way, either physically, verbally, or in terms of philosophy. Candidate Trump paced (matched) his base on immigration until he got elected. Now the base trusts that he is philosophically aligned with them. So if he finds he can’t do all the things they demand, they are likely to let him lead to whatever is practical and doable simply because they trust him on the topic. People don’t expect a politician to be magic, or to do the impossible. But they do want politicians to “get” them and to care about them and to fight for what they want. President Trump paced his supporters by understanding their needs and fighting for them. That group is likely to trust him when he says some form of “This is the best we can do for now.”

High Ground Maneuver: The high ground maneuver involves taking an argument out of the weeds and up to a level where everyone agrees. In this case, the weeds include a discussion of how best to handle DACA folks. President Trump tweeted that some are military veterans. The military is the high ground in the U.S., and any reference to them is likely to be a high ground play. In other words, President Trump is committing to keeping the DACA folks in this country. He just doesn’t want to say it until he gets his budget for border security.

Likewise, at some point soon President Trump will pivot from “the wall everywhere” to “effective border control.” Effective border control, and the job improvement for Americans that might come with it, are the high ground. The details of how to do it are the weeds.

My new book, Win Bigly, is available for preorder. This blog post is a taste of the sort of things I teach you in the book, with a backdrop of my weird-and-wonderful story about predicting Trump’s election win.


Scott Adams’ Blog

Persuasion – Jane Austen

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Jane Austen

Genre: Classics

Price: $ 0.99

Publish Date: January 27, 2015

Publisher: Open Road Media Romance

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

Jane Austen’s classic novel about a second chance at love Anne Elliot is a perfect catch. Born to a landed family, she’s observant and intelligent. When Anne came of age, she accepted a proposal from the ambitious officer Frederick Wentworth. Unfortunately, Wentworth’s modest means made him a poor choice for the Elliot family, and Anne was persuaded to call off the engagement. One refused marriage and nearly a decade later, Anne has not forgotten about Wentworth. Little does she know that her fortune is about to change. When the Elliots make ill-advised investments and lose their money, they are forced to rent out their ancestral home and move to Bath. There, Anne once again meets Wentworth, who is now a captain, in what could be her second and final chance at love and marriage. Buttressed by the author’s humane characterization and sharp social commentary, Persuasion is a must-read for any Jane Austen fan. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices. Jane Austen (1775–1817) was an English novelist known for her fiction set among England’s landed gentry. She was the seventh of eight children and was educated mostly at home in Hampshire. Her best-known works include Pride and Prejudice , Sense and Sensibility , Mansfield Park , and Emma . Although her novels, all of which were published anonymously, did not bring her fame during her lifetime, she is now one of the most widely read writers in the English language.

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My Explanation of Trump’s Persuasion Skills for Reason.com

If you have been following my posts about Trump’s persuasion skills, you might like to hear me pull it all together in this short video clip at Reason.com.

I love how they edited and produced it. Nicely done.

Scott Adams Blog

The American Gun Problem – And How a Master Wizard of Persuasion Could Fix it.

Caution 1: This post includes real hypnosis and it will influence some readers to a different opinion on guns. If you don’t want to be influenced, please do not read.

Caution 2: You will not like what I say on this topic. That’s another reason to skip it.

— Start —

On one side of the gun debate in America we have a bunch of idiots spouting total bullshit arguments, generously sprinkled with cherry-picked statistics that are out of context or don’t apply to America’s situation. 

On the other side of the gun debate we have exactly the same thing.

And there is a simple explanation for this absurd situation. We make the same mistake every time when it comes to domestic issues: We look at averages and pretend those averages are useful for anything but starting fights. We do the same thing with all of our social issues:

Average woman

Average man

Average Immigrant (He’s a criminal and a good citizen at the same time!)

Average African-American

Average whatever.

There’s no such thing as an average person!!!

All gun arguments are based on average people doing average things in average places. I agree that the average person should live in a world with far fewer guns because that guy is an idiot with no common sense, no gun safety training, and no gun locks. Luckily, the average person does not exist. Instead, you have some people who are smart enough to safely own guns, people who are far too dangerous or dumb to own guns, and a lot of people in the middle.

Every individual has a different risk when it comes to guns. 

So forget about average people. Let’s consider a few real people. Take me, for example. I offend people for a living. I’m doing it right now. And I weigh 150 pounds. 

I am pro-gun. 

Because …  I might someday have a good reason to shoot someone who is bigger than me or armed. If your reason for supporting gun ownership involves loyalty to a document written hundreds of years ago by slave-owners with muskets, you probably have some explaining to do. Don’t include me in that camp. I support gun rights because I think there is a good chance I might someday need to shoot a human. Period. If the Constitution prohibited personal gun ownership, I would have to consider violating that document, for my own sense of safety.

My situation is unique, but it is easy to imagine there are other citizens who believe – correctly or not – that gun ownership makes them safer.

At the same time it is obvious that too many innocent people are being killed by guns. For most people, the more guns in the environment, the less safe they will feel, and probably with good reason. How can a government create one set of gun laws that satisfies such different risk profiles? It seems logically impossible.

The starting assumption that people are somewhat average in terms of gun risks is so absurd that any discussion on the topic turns into a debate over Schroedinger’s cat – it assumes the average citizen is simultaneously safer and less safe because there are people in both risk classes. 

Am I wrong to think a gun improves my personal safety? (I have no kids in the house, by the way.) Beats me. There are no statistics that apply to my specific situation. And no study can accurately account for my psychological sense of safety. The important question is who gets to make the decision about how safe I can feel in my own home – the government or me?

By way of context, I have been robbed three times at gunpoint in my life, including twice when I was a bank teller. On another day a gang member pointed a pistol at my head and pulled the trigger just to be funny. There was no round in the chamber. All of that happened in San Francisco, years ago. I mention those incidents so you know I understand the dangers of guns.

Eventually I earned enough money to move to the suburbs where I have not been assaulted in years. But you don’t forget the experience of having guns pointed at your head. 

I realize that nothing about my situation can be generalized to anyone else, and that is my point. We are all different in terms of gun risks. It is easy for me to imagine that millions of people are less safe because guns are readily available. That was probably the case for me when I was looking up those gun barrels in San Francisco. 

So how do we balance the legitimate safety interests of citizens who find themselves in wildly different risk situations? Some need more guns to feel safe and some need fewer.

The approach least-likely to work is the one we are trying now, in which the President pushes for gun restrictions while responsible gun owners resist. I don’t see that changing, no matter how many mass killings happen. 

So here’s one suggestion, based on the rules of persuasion that I have been blogging about lately. The idea is for President Obama (or our next president) to do the following:

  1. Stop calling it a gun problem.
  2. Stop talking about gun control or even common-sense restrictions.
  3. Start calling it gun safety and personal responsibility (High ground maneuver.)
  4. Ask the NRA to propose a gun safety plan that addresses the nation’s legitimate concerns. (Ask them to take responsibility for their freedom.)
  5. Ask an independent body (The Swiss?) to score the NRA’s plan for budget impact, practicality, and impact on freedom.

  6. Keep pushing until the NRA comes up with a plan that scores well. Then implement it in one volunteer state, as a test.
  7. Put a billion-joule spotlight on the test, track results, and hold the NRA responsible for the outcome.
  8. If the plan works in one state, expand it. If not, tweak and try again.

Here are a few ideas the NRA might support, although I confess to know little about their organization. I include these for the purpose of creating mental anchors and thinking past the sale. (Those are methods of influence.) 

The NRA could propose…

1. A massive government push to provide gun locks and gun safes.

2. More gun safety training requirements.

3. Death penalty (by firing squad to be ironic) for anyone who provides a gun to a future killer without first doing a background check. Under this plan, you can still sell your gun to anyone, but you take the risk of your buyer being a nut. In this model, everyone takes responsibility for their own actions, including private gun sellers. 

4. Gun buy-back programs.

5. Better enforcement of laws already on the books. (That probably requires a budget increase.)

6. Law to require that a gun lock is included with every gun sold.

That is just a starter list, so you can see what a safety-focused effort looks like compared to standard gun control arguments. I don’t intend my list to be a good start for a plan. I am not well-informed on this topic. In this blog we take rough ideas and see if we can shape them up.

See what you can do with this one. Maybe you can save some lives.

Afterthought: A reader of this blog once commented that the safest gun strategy is to publicly announce that you support gun rights while not keeping any firearms in the house. 

Scott Adams Blog

One-on-One Match-ups – Trump Persuasion Series

Warning: This post will generate massive cognitive dissonance in some readers. If you think you can learn from that, please read on. If that prospect makes you uncomfortable, please don’t read it.

If you compare Donald Trump to whoever you have in mind as your ideal president, Trump probably comes up short. There are plenty of qualities one might want in a president that Trump doesn’t have. So I understand why people think he can’t get elected.

But Trump will not be running against anyone’s imaginary standard for president. He will run against real people. That’s where things get interesting. In my opinion, Trump only got serious about the presidency when he realized that the one-on-one match-ups all went his way. So let’s see how those match-ups look.

Here I am going to put a Trump filter on the opponents, meaning I will paint them the way Trump has, and will. That’s the best way to judge the head-to-head competition because the media will report every word Trump says.

Here are Trump’s competitors, as branded by Trump.

Rubio: Sweaty kid who lied about doing his homework while Trump built a business empire. Got “rolled over” on Obamacare, like a rube, in case you had not made that linguistic connection.


A “major security risk” and a grandmother who can’t do email right while Trump dominates Twitter. 

Carson: A doctor who is too nice to negotiate deals. The only job he created was for one nurse. (And for Carson to win, one must believe the Republican base wants 16 years of of continuous African-American presidents.)

Sanders: Can you win if you get zero Republican votes?

Fiorina: HP failure. Lucent failure. And of course, the “face” which many men interpret to mean her angry-wife persona. Compare that mixture of failure and anger to Trump’s business success (so he tells us) and positive message about America.

Bush: Low-energy, and yet another Bush. We already see how that is working out for Bush.

Biden: Biden says he isn’t sure he has the “emotional energy” to run. How does that match up against Trump? Ask Jeb Bush.

The rest: Career politicians. Trump will chain their corporate donors to them like anchors and push them off the boat to see how well they swim.

So there are your match-ups. Since I am still mostly alone in predicting a landslide Trump victory in the general election, please tell me which one of these match-ups you think Trump could lose.

I think this is another situation in which my degree in economics, along with my MBA, have wired me to think differently. The most important thing one learns when studying business and the economy is how to make valid comparisons. For example, one must always ignore sunk costs (the past) and one must compare all options to real alternatives, not to an ideal.

If you think Trump will lose, you are probably comparing him to an ideal you hold for what a president should be. If you believe he will win, you probably have a background in economics, or law, or engineering, and you have learned how to make valid comparisons to alternatives.

That’s your cognitive dissonance set-up. If you feel you are a rational person who knows how to weigh alternatives, let me know how any of the competitors could win in a one-on-one match-up with Trump.

If I did this right, and I am sure I did, I predict you will see the biggest mess of word-salad in the comments that you have ever seen. Roughly one-third of the comments to this post should make no sense whatsoever (as opposed to an opinion you simply disagree with).

And I remind you that I don’t know whether Trump would be a good president. I am not that smart. I just enjoy the show.

In Top Tech Blog, science is one step closer to being able to put your brain in a robot body. Check out this technology for letting paralyzed people type by thinking.

And what about the new technology that predicts where crime will happen before it happens? I call that a “map” but apparently there is more to it.

I always link to the Kindle version of my contrarian book about success but I wonder if this sort of book works best in paper form because it is an ideal gift for young employees. (See what I did there? I asked you to think past the sale. That’s a Trump trick.)

Scott Adams Blog

Thinking Past the Sale – Trump Persuasion Series

Trump issued a series of five tweets in quick succession as a response to the controversy over the Obama-birther guy at the Trump event.

Why five tweets?

I assume the two-dimensional chess pundits will tell you it is a sign of desperation from a campaign that was always destined to flame out. Sure looks like a guy grasping at straws, right?

Maybe it is.

The Master Wizard Hypothesis has another filter on this. According to this way of thinking, Trump just made you think about which of several reasons you will choose to agree with him.

He made you think past the sale.

And to get there he said at least one, maybe two, things you agree with. That’s pacing. It is a tell.

On the Master Wizard scale, this was an A+ performance in engineered persuasion. Will it be enough?

Depends what the Master Wizard in the White House does next.


I remind readers that the Master Wizard Hypothesis is for entertainment, not enlightenment. Truth is at a different URL. All we are doing here is seeing how well the data fits the hypothesis, especially for predictions. This is just for fun. And yes, I am forcing the data to fit the hypothesis. That is the whole point. You should do the same with whatever hypothesis you prefer as an explanation of Trump’s success so far. Then compare. None of this should be confused with science.

Scott Adams Blog

The Persuasion Reading List

Background: Readers of this blog have been asking for a reading list to learn more about hypnosis, persuasion, and influence in general. This is the start of the list. I will update it over time.

If you wonder why people are asking a cartoonist about persuasion, it is because I am a trained hypnotist, and mention it often in the context of blogging. I have also studied the various tools of persuasion for years because it is directly applicable to my job as a writer.

The bad news is that you can’t learn hypnosis from a book. It would be like learning to play a sport by reading about it. There is no substitute for physical practice with real humans. If you want to learn formal hypnosis, where you put willing subjects into a so-called trance state, you need to sign up for a class. 

You can think of hypnosis as rapid A-B testing. The hypnotist suggests a thought and observes micro-movement in the subject’s muscle tension, breathing, and other body parts to determine whether the suggestion is having the intended effect. If you are not near the subject, to observe reactions, you can’t make the adjustments needed to get the best result.

The good news is that you don’t need to learn how to induce trances. That skill won’t help your life in any way. Formal hypnosis, with a trance, is for the benefit of the subject, not the hypnotist. My reading list is designed to help you be more influential, and therefore more successful, no matter how you define success.

When I talk about hypnosis I am speaking broadly and conflating all forms of influence in daily life. The only thing I am EXCLUDING is the trance phenomenon and the things that stage hypnotists do. Those things have no use to you. 

I have grouped the reading list by virtual chapters as if this is one meta book. I think the order is important, but for those of you who have sampled similar material elsewhere, use your judgment about what to skip.

Several books on this list are ones that I have not read. I include them for completeness. In most cases I picked up the same knowledge from other sources. For this purpose it was easier to point you to a single book that Amazon reviewers like. For example, the book on my list about reading body language is probably one of many that has similar information, but readers seemed to like this one.

Let us begin.

Chapter 1 – Things You Can Stop Believing

The first chapter is designed to make you skeptical about your ability to comprehend reality. If you are already a hardcore skeptic, you can skip this chapter.

Chapter 2 – Stretching your Imagination

These books are selected to open your mind for what follows. If you have experience with LSD or mushrooms, you might not need this chapter. (Yes, I am serious.)  

Chapter 3 – The Moist Robot Hypothesis

The Moist Robot Hypothesis first appears in my book that is listed below. The idea is that humans are biological machines, subject to cause and effect. According to this view, free will is an illusion and humans can be programmed once you understand our user interface.

With this chapter I ease you into the notion that humans are mindless robots by showing you how we are influenced by design, habit, emotion, food, and words. Until you accept the Moist Robot view of the world it will be hard to use your tools of persuasion effectively because you will doubt your own effectiveness and people will detect your doubt. Confidence is an important part of the process of influence. 

  • Steve Jobs – by Walter Isaacson [The whole book is good, but look for the part where I appear on Jobs’ radar screen. That’s the part where you understand that hypnotists can identify each other by their tells.]

Chapter 4 – Active Persuasion

This chapter gets into the details of how to influence people. My opinion is that you will be less effective with these tools if you do not have a full understanding of our moist robot nature introduced above. The only book on this list that I have read is the Gerry Spence book. And I have taken the Dale Carnegie course in person. But based on reviews, the other books on this list will give you some useful tips on persuasion that I have acquired from a variety of other sources over my life.

  • Hypnosis and Accelerated Learning – by Pierre Clement (This is the school of hypnosis I learned in hypnosis class. It comes from Ericksonian hypnosis. See next book on list.)

Connecting Some Dots Just for Fun…

Now let me connect some dots.

Milton Erickson influenced Pierre Clement, who taught my hypnosis instructor, who taught me.


Milton Erickson influenced Bandler and Grinder, who developed NLP, which influenced Tony Robbins (a self-help hypnotist). Tony Robbins (probably) influenced Donald Trump, by association. They worked together on at least one project.

When I listen to Donald Trump, I detect all of his influences back to Erickson. If you make it through this reading list, you might hear it too. I don’t know if Donald Trump would make a good president, but he is the best persuader I have ever seen. On a scale from 1 to 10, if Steve Jobs was a 10, Trump is a 15. 

You know how the media has made fun of Trump’s 4th-grade-level speech patterns? 

The joke’s on them. 

He does it intentionally. 

Because it works.


Scott Adams Blog

“Nice Guy” – Part of my Trump Persuasion Series

The press is reporting that Trump is being uncharacteristically kind to Ben Carson. People seem confused about it. The press reports over and over that, Trump has gone so far as to call Carson a “nice guy.” 

This is quite a puzzler to the press. Why would Trump be so kind to this one challenger?

I hope all of you just shouted out the answer in your heads.

No, not that, you racists. The OTHER thing you just shouted in your head.

Right. That.

“Nice guy” is a linguistic sniper shot. It is engineered to take out its target without revealing where the shot came from. It is not a casual choice of words. It is deeply engineered.

Think back to my past posts about how Trump sets an anchor for any negotiation by staking out the extreme before you open your mouth. That way only Trump gets to decide where the middle is, should you later decide to meet halfway.

Now think about the two anchors Trump has offered.

One anchor is that Trump is worth $ 10 billion, even though observers are highly skeptical of that estimate. That’s the number that pops up now when you think of him, just as Trump planned. 

Trump has also branded himself as an experienced international business person, a tough negotiator in a world that needs just that, and a man who can’t be bought. 

The anchor Trump dropped on Carson is that Carson is a “nice guy.” The press picked it up and can’t stop repeating it. Repetition is persuasion. Trump deputized the winged monkeys in the media to repeat “nice guy” until it will literally be the only thing you think of when you see Ben Carson’s face. 

Hello, China! Here comes our nice guy to do some negotiating! You better run!

What are the first two words an American voter hears in her head after “Nice guys…”?

In America, a familiar saying is “Nice guys finish last.” If you are familiar with the saying, you probably automatically add those two words when you hear “nice guy.”

Remember, this is a long-distance linguistic kill shot. You aren’t supposed to know where the shot came from. The finish last portion of the thought is literally being created by you, in your head. And it rewires you with repetition. 

Did Trump intentionally rewire your brain so you would think of his rival as the   nice guy who always finishes last? 

Not as far as you know. All you saw was a flash in the distance and your head exploding a few seconds later.

On an unrelated topic, if your friend wants to set you up with someone who is “nice,” does that sound like a good thing to you? It does not. And if we are being honest, one-third of the public probably votes for whoever they find sexiest. If you were going to date Ben Carson, I’ll bet you would be impressed by his good looks (he really is a beautiful man) and probably his keen mind and good humor. What might be the ONE thing you worry about when you ask yourself if you will have good chemistry with this magnificent creature?

No, not that, you racists. I mean the other thing you are thinking. 

You wonder if perhaps he’s too nice. Because that looks weak. Too much niceness shouldn’t bother you, you tell yourself. But it does. Sex is more linked to power than niceness. Trump projects power. Carson projects niceness.

And Trump isn’t done. If the polls narrow too much, Trump might say…

“Ben Carson wants you to promote him from doctor to president.”

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Donald Trump.

Also keep in mind that Carson is still an option for Trump’s running mate. Trump wants him limping but not dead. I think it will either be Carson or Cuban on the Trump ticket. Trump wins it all with either one. But with Cuban it would be the biggest margin of victory in your lifetime.

History buffs will remember that Bill Clinton did a similar “nice guy” play on Bob Dole during their election cycle. Clinton made it clear that he liked Bob Dole. He even thanked Dole for his service to the country. Thanking Dole for his service makes you think of Dole in the past tense. It was a way to call him old and done. That was a linguistic sniper shot you did not see.


Scott Adams Blog

Wizard Attacks Wizard – The Trump Persuasion Series

If I told you that throughout American history some candidates for president “looked up” and another group “looked down,” would you be able to make a list of people in each group without a definition of those terms? 

Obviously President Kennedy looked up, literally to the moon, and all it represented. Reagan looked up to a shining city on a hill. Bush Senior looked up to a million points of light. 

Other candidates were arguably “looking up” in the sense that their messages were about something good ahead. Clinton wanted to build a “bridge to the future.” Obama was all about hope and change. And now Trump is about making America “great again.” All of that feels more up than down.

Now make a list of candidates that looked “down.” And by that I mean they were more about the details, and looking down to the actual work that needed to be done on the ground. Carter comes to mind, as does Bernie Sanders. If Gore had been elected president, I think he would have been looking down at the wiring, not up at the sky.

This up or down sense we share about the candidates is important because the up candidates generally win. And when a Carter or Nixon slips through the cracks, we wish we had picked more of an upper.

My point is that the “up” candidate has a huge advantage. And in the past our “outsider” candidates were more about complaining down than looking up.

John Anderson = down (budget talk)

Ross Perot = down (budget talk)

Jesse Jackson = down (race relations)

Trump is the first up-looking outsider I can think of.

That’s why an article about President Obama criticizing Trump’s slogan caught my eye. This was direct wizard-on-wizard fighting that one rarely sees, and I’m not sure everyone caught it.

Keep in mind that Obama has said he is staying out of the conversation during primary season, as sitting presidents do. But he still wants Trump to lose. You know that.

And today he signaled (according to the Master Wizard Filter) that Joe Biden is waiting on the sidelines and Obama plans to back him. But he did all of that in the context of talking about his administration’s success with the economy and healthcare, a halo that extends to Biden.

But what caught my eye was Obama picking up on Trump’s use of “again” in his “Make America Great, Again” slogan. Obama cleverly turned “again” into a a statement of "gloom and doom,” pointing out that America is great already. That was a strong wizard move, to use Trump’s own words against him to turn optimism into pessimism.

Notice that the wizards change who you ARE, as opposed to criticizing what you DO. Obama turned Trump from an optimist into a pessimist with a sentence or two. Brilliant.

But by debate time last night, Trump had already adjusted, and emphasized that he would make America greater. I think what we saw, according to the Master Wizard filter, was a tap on the shoulder from Obama to tell Trump the big wizard is only sitting on the sidelines as long as he needs to.

Update: This is a bigger deal than you think. All the Republican candidates, and much of the press, have been chipping away at Trump and trying to get him to backpedal, change, adjust, or apologize for anything. Trump never blinked. But with a few well-engineered sentences, uttered once, President Obama – one of the all-time great wizards of persuasion – made Trump reword his campaign slogan.

Yeah, that happened. Did you even notice?

People keep asking what kind of kill shot would take out Trump. My guess is that only Obama has the linguistic firepower to do it, and he is handcuffed at the moment because of primary season. Things will get interesting when Obama starts influencing from the sidelines. Then it’s a fair fight.

I predicted that Trump would soften his immigration plan over time. At the second debate, he talked about letting the non-criminal resident illegals back into the country according to some vague process. That is the start of the softening. Soon the “good ones” won’t have to physically leave, but might have to register and prove their value to the country in some fashion. That will be the next level of softening. Trump just can’t call it amnesty.

And I heard every candidate agree with the wall idea, including one call to use drones as part of the solution.

Funniest comment I saw from a civilian after the debates was that half of the male candidates on stage appeared to have low testosterone. That was my exact observation while watching. Without judging, my objective observation is that several candidates have an effeminate speaking style. I doubt that is a winning formula for a Republican.

Scott Adams Blog

Why Trump Insults People – Part of my Trump Persuasion Series

Today I will explain why Trump insults people. As usual, I will use the Master Wizard filter. That doesn’t mean this explanation is right. But compare it to the alternatives and see if the hypothesis fits the facts better. I remind you this is for fun, not insight.

If you don’t apply the Master Wizard hypothesis, you are probably confused why a grown man keeps insulting people in public. That seems like exactly the opposite of what Trump should be doing to appear presidential. What’s going on here? I mean, Trump seems reasonably smart, but according to 99.99% of the public, he is doing the same dumb thing over and over: insulting people.


Most of you probably assume he’s a big, dumb, racist, loose cannon, spouting off at his enemies, both real and imagined. Crazy!

Over at Reason.com, Nick Gillespie, writes that Trump’s insults are an example of “negging.” That’s what pick-up artists do. The idea is to tear down people’s egos and make them want to try hard to win your respect.

Frankly, I don’t understand the negging explanation. To me, it doesn’t make sense in the political context. But if I am being objective, I am also not the editor in chief of Reason.com, so the problem might be on my end.

Over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin describes Trump’s actions in the context of bullying. But that doesn’t sound right to me because even his critics acknowledge that he is a counter-puncher. By my way of thinking, the person getting attacked first is not the bully.

The Master Wizard Hypothesis says Trump’s insults are not random, not negging, and not bullying. It is about math. I shall explain. But first, a story.

Back in my corporate days, I had a coworker who was famous for complaining loudly about the intelligence and competence of anyone who got in the way of her plans. She would talk about the low-performers to everyone who would listen, including that person’s boss, and the boss’s boss too.

On the other hand, if you did good work, she would often go to your boss and recommend that you get a raise or a promotion. And her opinion mattered because she was famous for hating dumb people. If she endorsed you as a capable employee, people took that seriously. She had credibility. (She also became the inspiration for my Alice character.)

Now let’s do the math.

If your baseline happiness is a 7 out of 10, and you get praised by someone important in your world, your happiness might go up to a 9, at least temporarily. That’s a two-point improvement.

But if someone insults your competence in front of your boss, that might take you down to a 5, which is a two-point decline. So the difference between a compliment and an insult (in front of your boss) is a full 4-point gap.

If Trump did not insult people, but sometimes praised them, he would be working with only a 2-point potential swing in how happy people can be when they please him. But if insults are a potential outcome – and Trump makes sure you know they are – you have a 4-point gap between pissing him off and pleasing him.

Trump is quick to point out that he only insults people who start it. (Although one assumes there are exceptions.) The result of Trump’s quick counter-attacks is to establish the 4-point gap between pleasing him and annoying him. No one wants a 4-point gap enemy.

Trump also has one weapon that no one else has: He is Trump. He has cultivated a persona for decades that allows him to be over-the-top without risk. So what works for Trump is not something you can use at home unless you have first established yourself as a tough-talking New Yorker. In that context, Trump’s insults sound almost normal.

If you are keeping score, this is one more situation in which the Master Wizard Hypothesis explains the data better than the alternatives. The Master Wizard hypothesis says Trump is a master of persuasion and sets up the 4-point gap intentionally. But are people really that calculated and that consistent with insults over a lifetime?

All I can tell you is that I am. Intentionally.

Ever wonder why I go hard at my haters online instead of ignoring them like a sane adult? Same reason. I want a 4-point gap to work with. The trade-off is that I look like a petulant child while responding to haters. I accept that trade-off in return for maintaining my 4-point gap.

Does it work? Actually, you are good judges on that question.

You have seen me eviscerate idiots in the comments on this blog. And you have seen me compliment people who make smart or funny observations. Do my compliments feel more powerful because you know the opposite could have happened?

To be clear, I distinguish between the insults that are usually counter-punches and the Linguistic Kill Shots that are engineered for strategic purposes. The latter have different purposes, according to the Master Wizard Hypothesis.


Bonus thought: After reading some of Bernie Sanders’ policy ideas that sound good on paper but don’t pencil out for the budget, I think the best kill shot for him would be “confused.” To be fair, every politician will be recommending impractical policy ideas, including Trump. But see how the word “confused” seems to fit Sanders more than it does any of the other candidates? That’s what makes it sticky. And you have never seen that word used in a political context, so it has no baggage of its own.

In Top Tech Blog, now you can “feel” a prosthetic limb. If that works, I might want to replace the ones I have and go full bionic.

Have I mentioned my book? It is full of words and sentences and whatnot. If you read it, I will love you. If you do not read it, you are a terrible person. (See what I did there?)

Update: This is my Google Analytics map showing people reading this blog an hour or so after posting today. Normally there would be traffic from all over the globe no matter the time of day. My blog traffic is up about five-fold since I started discussing the Master Wizard Hypothesis, but obviously this is not resonating overseas. I apologize to my non-U.S. readers for this Trump diversion and I hope you circle back when this silliness subsides. Not sure when he will stop entertaining us over here.

Scott Adams Blog

The Trump Versus Sanders Match-up: Part of the Trump Persuasion Series

Smart people tell me that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Party’s best hope for beating Donald Trump. Some say Sanders has sensible ideas based on models that have worked elsewhere. He reminds us of the angry yet lovable uncle we now realize has been right all along. We wish we had paid attention to Bernie instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted by Kardashians and Trumps. 

Supporters of Bernie Sanders say his insider experience matched with his outsider mentality, his ability to speak truth, his compassion for people, and his fighting spirit are exactly what this country needs. I have no reason to disagree with any of that. I can see the appeal. But I haven’t looked into any of Sanders’ actual ideas. And I wouldn’t be psychic enough to know how good those ideas are anyway.

But I don’t think it matters.

I have been blogging about Trump’s linguistic mastery, but he is also a wizard at visual imagery and branding. And he knows a thing or two about strategy. If history is our guide, Trump only achieved a full boner for the presidency when three conditions were met:

1. Trump got a strong start in the polls because of name recognition. (Check)

2. Trump’s brand value and International influence would increase even if he did not go all the way. (Check)

3. Trump had some sort of natural match-up advantage over each individual in the field. In other words, the chess board was set for a win. (Check)

By traditional political reckoning, one could argue that Bernie Sanders is an exceptionally strong “outsider” candidate in an election where the common wisdom says the public wants an outsider. You would expect a close race if Sanders and Trump squared off at the end.

But on the third dimension of chess that Trump plays, Sanders is extraordinarily disadvantaged compared to Trump. The third dimension is the irrational connections you make in your mind, often engineered by Master Wizards, but in this case one that occurred naturally and Trump recognized the opening.

I’ll show you what I mean. And you should stop reading here if you do not want to be permanently influenced. This is a real warning. You can’t unsee what follows.

—- influence starts here —-

When you think of Sanders, or Trump, you have one image in your mind for each that is some average of the photos and videos you have seen. But you also reflexively associate each candidate with a variety of other images based on associations you have picked up over time.

For example, when you think of Trump, you also automatically associate him with a variety of images he has carefully cultivated in your mind for decades. Here are a few images you reflexively associate him with.

Trump Image Association one (his name is right on it)

Trump Image Association two (check out his suit colors)

Trump Image Association three (and the obvious)

Yes, Trump literally dresses in American Flag colors, and has for decades. Love him or hate him, his entire visual vibe is oriented toward power, success, and country.

Then we have Bernie Sanders. This is where we have the match-up problem. When you think of Bernie Sanders, what visual associations automatically jump into your head? Don’t click the next link until you have that secondary image in your head. Remember, this is not what Sanders looks like, rather just the reflex association that springs to mind, the way money springs to mind with Trump.

When I think of Bernie Sanders, here’s the image I see.

I’m not kidding. And I apologize for even mentioning it, but it is central to explaining this prediction:

Prediction: If Sanders is the Democratic nominee, Trump will win with 65% of the popular vote. And pundits will wonder why the voters ignored sensible leadership in favor of the spectacle that is Trump.

For more on the Moist Robot view of the world, you can read my book about success.

In Top Tech Blog, check out the latest in tech advances. It’s a good way to know what is coming.

Scott Adams Blog

2-D Chess Players Take on a 3-D Chess Master (Part of my Trump Persuasion Series)

Republicans have narrowed down their strategy options for destroying Trump. They started by creating a list of all the possible strategies that anyone could imagine. Then they eliminated all of options that were certain to work. In the next phase they eliminated all of the options that might work. What was left is four options that absolutely will not work. And that’s what they are going with. The people who compiled this list of strategies are the folks who want to run the country.

If you have been reading my series on Trump and his linguistic kill shots, you will see no persuasion skill whatsoever in the Republican plans for “reframing” Trump. 

On a related point, you probably saw some news yesterday about Mark Cuban saying he could beat any of the presidential candidates if he were to run for president. That’s how you test the public’s reaction to a Trump/Cuban ticket. Cuban can’t say he would make a great vice president. It is smarter to say he would make a great president. Let the voters decide that Cuban needs 4-8 years of seasoning before he is ready. That way the public can own the “decision” he is putting in their heads.

If the media and the polls react favorably to Cuban’s statements about running for president, it opens the door for him to be on Trump’s ticket later. So this is just a test balloon. And that is the normal way these things are done. The VP (or potential VP in this case) is the trial-balloon person. That is a basic game plan in politics. I’m not sure the public knows that.

And one assumes Cuban and Trump and talking, via Cuban’s confidential app, Dust.

Bill Maher is cranking up the outragism on the left to try and derail Trump. Maher’s association with the Huffington Post eliminates any shred of credibility he once had, but he still gets a lot of attention. Apparently the racism argument against Trump is largely based on one poorly-formed sentence he uttered that one time. Some observers interpreted the sentence to mean Trump was saying Mexicans are (mostly?) rapists. People who are not in cognitive dissonance figured it was just his usual exaggerated style of speaking.

Personally, I would start worrying about Trump’s racism if his tens-of-millions of opponents can find somewhere in his vast history of public comments at least one more vague sentence that sort of somewhat bothers someone when seen out of context. It must be there. Keep looking, Bill! You got the Huffington Post on your side! Together you will rule the irrelevant issues!

Scott Adams Blog

Who is Smarter – the Smart People or the Dumb People? – Part of My Trump Persuasion Series

Today I will create cognitive dissonance in about 25% of my readers, assuming past patterns hold. Please do not read further if you don’t like those odds. 

While the title of today’s post sounds like nonsense, that question is one of the biggest debates in the country now because of Donald Trump. The wording is different everywhere, but the idea is the same: Smart people believe smart people are smart. Dumb people believe dumb people are the real smart ones. 

They can’t both be right. I’ll help you sort it out.

On one side we have the self-described smart people. These folks will tell you that a rational person can learn about political issues, with a little effort, and thus make a meaningful contribution to the democratic process. All one must do is be open to all points of view and do some independent research to fact-check the professional media. You don’t need to be an expert because most issues boil down to a few key factors, and you can understand those few things.

That sounds smart to you, right?

The dumb people – who have been labelled such by the smart people – are the ones who vote for whoever says what the dumb people want to hear, or whoever makes them feel good. This group is more about emotion than reason.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. I am ashamed to be in the same country with people who refuse to use their brains. DUUUUMB!

You agree, right?

Good, because that’s the set-up for the cognitive dissonance. You just hardened your sense of identity as a smart, rational person who believes an informed citizen can make a meaningful contribution to the system.

Now let’s talk about investing. Same conversation, but changing from politics to finance. Which of these two people seems smarter to you?

1. A stock investor who does his own research so he can find great values, 


2. An investor who buys a stock index fund and settles for an average return.

I am sad to say some of you will pick the first one. But it is a myth that individuals can sort through the lies and misinformation that companies produce as source data and convert all of that into good decisions. Every study on the topic tells us that individual investors are deluded idiots. And people who invest in managed mutual funds are only slightly better. (Okay, maybe worse.)

In the investment world, the person who understands that the available information is not credible is the smart one. That person plays the odds correctly and invests in an indexed mutual fund with low fees. Every study says that is the smart play.

Most of my readers already know that what I just said about investing is true. And unlike most topics, this one really does not have well-informed critics. All informed people hold the same view: Individuals should not do their own research and buy stocks based on that research.

But you still think smart people can research political policy options and come to reasonable and useful conclusions… even though you observe that half of the population disagrees with the other half no matter how much research anyone does.

Cognitive dissonance should be hitting some of you hard right now. If you feel unusually angry and determined to reply, that’s a tell. Or a false-positive. One can never be 100% sure.

The popular media is staffed mostly by writers and art majors and other people who tend to believe in magic. It is no surprise that they don’t see how absurd it is to expect citizens to have useful opinions based on the misinformation that that same media provides around the clock.

Seasoned investors, on the other hand, have learned to be more humble. They know there is no amount of research that can convert unreliable data into reliable decisions. My guess is that this group of professionals support Donald Trump in large numbers because they are smart enough to know the limits of their own reason when applied to inaccurate baseline assumptions and sketchy data.

My point is that if you find yourself mocking Trump supporters (or Republicans in general) because they have some distance from the issues, you are probably the dumb one in that conversation no matter how your education and IQ compares with your intended targets.

And if you believe you can make intelligent decisions on politics based on inaccurate information and lies, why aren’t you already rich from doing the same thing with stocks?

I’m a big fan of voting (when other people do it, not me) because it gives people a sense of ownership in the process. So please vote. But don’t confuse that with being psychic. 


Top Tech Blog: Graphene seems like it will change everything. How do I invest in that stuff? (Answer: Index fund)


My book on systems versus goals will probably get more attention when people realize Trump is a systems thinker. He follows the odds without always having one specific goal in mind. Recently Trump made his brand so powerful that a lot of folks thought he should be their leader, just because, well, Trump. Under the “goal” view of the world, Trump failed three times to become president, so you assume he will fail again. But the “systems” view says Trump failed toward better odds each time, largely on purpose. And here we are.

Scott Adams Blog

A Demonstration of Persuasion – Part of my Trump Series

Today, as a demonstration of persuasion, I am going to show you one way Donald Trump could convince you to support his immigration plan, even though I don’t support the plan myself. (But I also believe it is a negotiation anchor, not a real plan in its current form.)

Some of you already love Trump’s immigration plan as is. I’m not talking to you today. And I probably won’t be making my case the way you make yours, so assume I’m not on your side either.

Today I’m talking to the skeptics who believe it is impossible to seal the border for less than a trillion dollars (give or take) and that it would be inhumane to deport 11 million people. You folks have a strong, common-sense argument. But I’m going to show you that Trump could persuade you to support his immigration plan before it is all said and done. And it won’t be that hard.

I am not making a specific prediction on Trump’s immigration plan, or how he handles it going forward, because there are a million directions it could go. The point today is to imagine he could get you on board, and easily. So this is more of a brain exercise than a discussion of policy.

Assuming Trump is being consistent with 100% of his history, as well as his best-selling book on the topic of negotiating, his immigration plan is a first offer, and an anchor to make whatever deal he finally makes seem entirely reasonable. To believe Trump’s first offer is his final plan is to believe Trump changed his most fundamental belief about negotiating when it mattered most. Does that seem likely? (If you said yes, you probably have some cognitive dissonance that makes you believe he must be a racist.)

For the record, I do not know what is in the man’s mind. But what I see is a guy doing the same thing he always does and the public putting a new interpretation on it. This time, say the critics, he is abandoning his lifetime pattern of negotiating with an extreme opening offer just so he can be terrible to brown people. 

Well, maybe. Like I say, I don’t know what is in the man’s head. But when a duck walks and talks like a duck all of its life, I don’t know how this one time you say he must be a beaver unless cognitive dissonance is part of the answer.

You might say Trump is just trying to get the nomination with his hard line views on immigration. Then he will soften his stance in the general election, and perhaps again as president if he wins. That too would be consistent with a Trump that knows strategy and plays to win.

But in that view, you agree with my notion that his current plan is not the real plan and was never intended to be so.

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Follow me on this train of thought:

Let’s say Trump picks Mark Cuban as VP. (Already seems likely.)

Then let’s say Trump assigns the immigration issue to Cuban, with these instructions:

Bring me THREE plans, after you have your team of experts and economists study them thoroughly. The three plans should include:

1. The original Trump plan (with estimates of cost, human suffering, etc.)

2. A plan originated by the concerned Latino community that secures the borders (because countries need borders) and deals humanely with the 11 million Mexican citizens already living in this country.

3. A “Do nothing” plan that is whatever would happen if Trump had not brought up the issue. This too would include estimates of social costs.

Trump is the only potential president who could simply change his mind mid-stream because of new data or a better idea. No one else could survive a so-called flip-flop. Trump would be praised for it. And all he would be doing is business as usual. Business people generally want to see 2-3 plans with detailed cost estimates. Then they choose the best one. Trump can do that, even if it means departing from his original plan. No regular politician can do that.

And if Mark Cuban is behind the numbers on all three plans, do you trust him?

Probably. I mean, cost estimates are always iffy, but you know Cuban wouldn’t be trying to screw anyone intentionally. He doesn’t need to. He doesn’t even need the job.

And if Trump is fully transparent about his reasons for picking some modified (negotiated) immigration plan, how mad can you be, even if he picks the plan you didn’t love so much?

It is hard to hate a reasonable person who shows his work. And part of you only wants to live in a country that can do that sort of thing: Be smart, use data, change your plan when you need to. It feels like the future.

Realistically, the only way to solve the immigration problem is to talk extremely tough now, as Trump is doing, to keep the flow of new illegals under control. The incentive to immigrate is far lower if the odds of being shipped back are higher. That threat has to feel real, and Trump is selling it.

In other words, Trump has probably already slowed illegal immigration just by talking tough. There really is no alternative to tough talk about deportation if you are also talking about a wall. You don’t want to trigger a huge wave of new illegal aliens trying to get into the country before the wall is done.

Now let’s talk about that “wall” that is not a wall at all. Realistically, what we are talking about is sealing the border using whatever works for each area. Sometimes a fence will do it. Sometimes you need armed border guards. Sometimes you might need a bad-ass wall. So “wall” in this context just means sealing the borders somehow.

And one of those ways to seal a border might include a permanent force of drones and robots, at least for key spots along the border where a wall is either too expensive or not good enough. The drones and robots don’t need to stop everyone. If they catch most of the folks trying to cross the border, that should be enough to discourage all but the most motivated.

Once we test our drones and robots on our own borders, we will have the baseline technology for building a “digital fence” around ISIS someday that keeps the angry men in, allows the women and children to filter out if they want, and blocks all digital signals into the caliphate.

How long does ISIS last without women and without access to modern communications? 

Who cares? All we care about is allowing the women and children out if they ask. The long term Trump goal could be a country full of bearded, angry, masturbating men with no oil money and no modern technology. And we could toss any additional loose jihadists into the caliphate no matter what group they belonged to.

Experts say you can’t kill an idea with bombs. But you can sure kill an idea with a good wall. A wall, digital or otherwise, allows you to observe whether things are going better on one side or the other. Let the Caliphate full of bearded angry men build their perfect society. Then, in twenty years, compare it to Trump’s exclusive country club called America that is attracting all the top tech talent from everywhere. 

That’s how you kill an idea. You put a wall around it and let it play out. No argument needed. The idea kills itself.

So how does the United States pay for its border with Mexico? Trump says he will make Mexico pay for the wall. You laugh at that. Ha ha! Why would Mexico pay?

Now I will make you believe Mexico could pay for a wall. Or some of it.

Imagine Trump saying we will fast-track to citizenship any Mexican resident with tech skills or even top grades in school. Imagine Trump saying we want all of the top talent from Mexico. All they need to do is walk up to the border and show their high school or college transcripts with top grades. (And maybe take a 15-minute randomized test just to confirm.)

How does Mexico stop the brain drain then?

They build a wall.

And how does the United States pay for an army of drones and robots guarding our border (in spots) until Mexico builds their own wall? We don’t. We make the manufacturers of those technologies use it as a testing ground, in anticipation of getting big international contracts for sealing off ISIS and other borders elsewhere. Drones patrolling borders is going to be a big thing, everywhere. And we want American companies to own as much of that business as possible.

And what of the 11 million illegal residents? If we get the wall, we don’t need to worry so much about deportation because assimilation gets you to the same place over time. And I expect to see some sort of “pay for citizenship” deal that allows illegals to buy their way into the country in a variety of ways, assuming they have been law-abiding residents for years. American citizens would respect that. Fairness, after all, is the main issue. 

Oh, and about the racist thing. If Trump says he wants MORE Mexicans, not fewer – but only the top talent – how racist does that sound to you now?

Did I change any minds?


Have you checked out Top Tech Blog? I love that stuff.

Scott Adams Blog

The “Outsider” Explanation – Part of my Trump Persuasion Series

As I explained in an earlier post, when you see lots of different explanations for the same event, it probably means the public is in mass cognitive dissonance. Trump’s unexpected surge in the polls did just that.

And when an otherwise smart person offers an explanation that is clearly absurd, that is a tell for cognitive dissonance too. You will see a lot of smart people saying a lot of head-scratching things over the next year. More than usual.

I claim exemption from this particular trigger for cognitive dissonance because I predicted a Trump victory (by a large margin) in the general election before anyone else on the planet thought it possible he would even win the nomination. 

According to science, each of you who are “surprised” by Trump’s success so far (which makes you feel dumber than your self-image supports) should be in dissonance right now, searching for an explanation that makes sense while still maintaining your self-image of being smart. 

I have never seen a hypnotist take someone OUT of dissonance before. So I thought I would be fun to do that for you today. I will target only the most popular (and absurd) explanation for Trump’s rise in the polls and take you out of cognitive dissonance for that one explanation only.

This comic should do it.


The “outsider” explanation for Trump’s run is a classic tell for cognitive dissonance. In order for that explanation to make sense, one must assume that Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina would have taken out Bush as effectively as Trump. Are you feeling that?

Now that all of you are out of cognitive dissonance on the “outsider” explanation, watch the comments for the people who just changed their minds about the outsider thing in the past minute. Should be a freaky experience for them.

You don’t need to remind me that I could be the deluded one here, having committed to one explanation of Trump’s rise over the others. The science says I would be somewhat blinded by that. So take this blog (and everything else I write) with a grain of salt. This is just for entertainment.

Update: I predict that the comic above will substantially reduce the number of pundits using the “outsider” explanation within two weeks. (A lot of press people read this blog.)

Look for stories that say some form of “More than just an outsider appeal.” That signals the change before “outsider” is dropped entirely.

I remind you that my predictions are just for fun. I make them so you can track the Master Wizard Hypothesis and see how well it predicts the future compared to whatever you believed before.


Check out Top Tech Blog to find out about the products of tomorrow without waiting.

For more about systems (the way Trump operates) versus goals (the way most people operate), you can find more in my book.

Scott Adams Blog

Then You Own the Bank (part of my Trump Persuasion Series)

There’s an old saying in business: If a bank gives you an average-sized loan, the bank owns you. But if you take out a gigantic loan, you own the bank. 

Trump only takes out gigantic loans. 


Is it because he is an egotistical clown who goes big no matter what the situation deserves?


But consider that going big also has the advantage of being the smartest possible thing you can do at his level. And it works almost every time for an operator with his skill. 

Consider Trump’s relationship to Fox news. The other candidates took a small loan from Fox, and by that I mean they played by the rules. Trump took out a big, risky loan by going at them hard. Now he owns Fox.

Consider the Republican party. Trump’s challengers are trying to show how well their opinions fit the party platform. Trump says he will make the party platform fit Trump, much the way Reagan redefined the party in his time.

Let me give you a fresh example of how that absurd situation could happen. I am told Trump just promised he would not cut Social Security. That seems at odds with the Republican vibe of smaller government. Seems like a risky promise for a Republican candidate.

Here’s how Trump can get away with it, and no one else in the race can. And here is how he redefines the Republican party at the same time, while barely trying.

All Trump has to do is take the same approach he used with the Iran deal: “I’m a deal guy. Social Security is a deal with seniors. End of story.

That is a high ground maneuver of the highest order. He would be untouchable.

The party would have to circle around the platform concept of being deal-keepers. That seems to be the common thread in the Trump philosophy: Make the best deal you can, then keep it. Otherwise, who wants to deal with you next time?

Who runs against that idea and wins?

Note:  I remind new visitors that I am not smart enough to know who would do the best job of president. All of the candidates seem competent to me. My interests are in Trump’s persuasion and negotiation skills. 

[Update: This article in Slate,

by Jim Newell, about Trump’s strategic brilliance is a good read both for the writing and the content individually.]


P.S. Wait until I tell you how Trump will use hypnosis to solve ISIS. He already started. Experts say you can’t kill an idea. Experts are wrong. 

Scott Adams Blog

Trump Persuasion Alert: The Bush-Slayer Comment

This article explains how Trump has decided to call Jeb Bush a “low energy” candidate.

That’s a linguistic kill shot. If you live to be a hundred, you will never see a better linguistic move.

No candidate can recover from the low-energy label. Trump ended Bush with two words. Now, even if Trump stumbles, Bush won’t be the one that surges to the front. From now on, Bush’s campaign hat is an anvil.

You might think I am exaggerating. Politicians label opponents all the time. Usually the labels have to do with policies, personality, intelligence, or experience. And usually those labels are glancing blows, at best.

But no candidate ever launched a “low-energy” criticism before. That’s a kill shot. You don’t wash that off. It is a variant of the High Ground Maneuver because Trump is saying that even if Bush and Trump had the same policies, the choice is still clear. You want the guy who isn’t going to be napping for four years.

And remember your visuals. Jeb looks like a low-energy guy. Take away Trump’s “low energy” label and Bush might seem like a calm, cool, rational executive – exactly what this country needs in these crazy times.

Until your opponent tattoos “low-energy” on your forehead. That doesn’t wash off. Done. Next.

You don’t see linguistic kill shots that often. This one was engineered. Do you want to hear another example of a linguistic kill shot that you probably never noticed in the past?

When Clinton/Gore were running for reelection against Dole/Kemp, the big topic was Kemp’s “supply-side economics” idea that you could cut taxes and goose the economy enough to make up the difference in tax collections. Clinton and Gore were helpless against supply-side economics because it sounded to voters like free money. Who doesn’t want to cut their taxes and make more money too?

How do you defend against the promise of more money for nothing? Clinton and Gore had no way to counter it. You couldn’t argue it on economic grounds because the voters were not sophisticated enough to follow along. Nor would voters be swayed by experts. And supply-side economics was the big topic of the election. 

So Gore used a linguistic kill shot. If you remember your campaign history, he started labeling Kemp’s supply-side economics as a “risky plan” for an economy that was doing reasonably okay. The media sprayed the word “risky” all over the headlines after the first time Gore used it in a debate. Clinton started using it too, since the word was getting traction.

Older voters with one eye on retirement, or already retired, have no appetite for risk. And they know that any big, new economic plan comes with risk. You cannot argue risk. Risk was the Higher Ground. It was the kill shot.

Supply-side economics largely died that election cycle, give or take some later death spasms. Thanks to one word. And the word was engineered for that purpose.

Do you get a sense for how powerful this stuff is? A word or two changes history.

If you are following along with my Trump analyses, you know I try to make predictions so you can check my work. It is easy to overlay an interpretation on the past (as I just did). Predicting the future is harder, and thus a better way for you to check my interpretation of events against prediction.

My new prediction is that when Trump gets serious about eviscerating Hillary Clinton he will engineer a similar High Ground label that has little to do with her policies. It might even be open to interpretation so all of her haters see what they want to see. 

Watch me engineer a linguistic kill shot for Trump to use against Hillary Clinton.

Trump: “America needs credibility”

See what I did there?

Credibility is the high ground. It ignores policy differences. Core republicans will obviously agree that Clinton is a “liar” in their words. So the message works for them. That part is easy.

The hard part, and the reason these words have to be engineered, is that you need to appeal to both sides with the same words. And “credibility” does that. Even supporters of Clinton – people who love everything she says and does – have to agree that her credibility has eroded because of all the email scandal noise.

And what about Trump? Is he credible by contrast?

Look for all the stories already printed about Trump being a handshake agreement guy. If you work in the business world, that is the highest standard of credibility.

Let me put it this way. Ignore your thoughts about Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s policies and personalities for a minute. If you had to make a verbal agreement with both of them, which one do you think has the higher odds of doing as promised?

Trump already said he hates the Iran nuke deal but will enforce it because he honors deals. The man is bulletproof on that dimension, so he will take the argument to the dimension where he wins every time.

The word “credibility” resonates with every adult. And it hasn’t been overused in the context of politics so it carries no unintended baggage. We all want credibility, period. The word is clean and powerful.

Don’t worry about Trump using the word credibility to win. I ruined that option by using it in this blog and creating a paper trail to a cartoonist. Trump will need another approach.

Now you know how to engineer a linguistic kill shot. 

1. Find a word that is “clean” from historical political baggage (examples: risky, low-energy, credibility).

2. Choose a word that moves people to High Ground concepts where you are relatively strong and your opponent has a weakness, ignoring the smaller issues that are the topics of all disagreements.


Low ground: Cut taxes                 —>  High ground: Risky

Low ground: Immigration policy   —>  High ground: Low-energy guy

Low Ground: Clinton’s policies     —> High Ground: credibility 

In my corporate days I used the High Ground maneuver to “win” any meeting I needed to win. Unlike most methods of persuasion that have more of a statistical power, perhaps influencing 20% of a crowd, the High Ground maneuver works instantly, every time, and on every person. (In my personal experience.)

As soon as I recognized that tool in Trump’s toolbox, I predicted he would win it all. He was going into a stick fight with a bazooka. Most of you only saw sticks. Trained persuaders saw the bazooka. 

I remind you that he literally wrote the book on negotiating.

My best guess for why the High Ground maneuver works so well is that you are taking a person from the weeds of your disagreement to a place where they need to define who they are as a person. Our egos won’t let us define ourselves as small thinkers in front of a big thinker, so we try to keep up, running to the High Ground of our demise as quickly as we can.


Bonus thought: If you view the world in terms of goals, Trump has failed twice to be president. You expect him to fail a third time because that is the pattern he created. But viewed from a systems filter, Trump got the most practice running for president of anyone in the conversation.

Name one situation where practice doesn’t matter. Stop being surprised that the guy who practiced the most is performing the best. That is how systems thinkers play the long game. They fail toward a place of BETTER odds, not worse.

You can see more about systems being better than goals in my book on success.

In Top Tech Blog, if you surf, you want a motorized surfboard that doesn’t need waves. And yet another handheld health “scanning” device is here. This trend of miniaturized personal health scanners is huge. You will want this one.

Scott Adams Blog

Trump Persuasion Alert: Bible Dodge

If you have been following my analysis of Trump’s persuasive brilliance you will see another example on display in this new story.

On the surface, Trump seems to be just another politician dodging just another question. Routine stuff, right?

But check out the wording. He had that reply in the chamber, locked and loaded. He said his relationship with the Bible was “personal.”

Compare that to any other wording he could have used. You can play at home. Try to come up with a better response than saying his relationship with the Bible is personal. 

Good luck with that.

Every Christian, Muslim, and Jew watching the exchange nodded agreement that a person’s relationship with the Lord is personal and really should not be the topic of public conversation. Check.

And every reason-loving person that heard Trump’s response thought he didn’t sound too anti-science, or particularly dogmatic. Nothing to worry about. Just move along.

And I can guarantee that some atheists heard his response and thought there is a good chance he is one of them. Obviously a person in that position has to hide it. 

Trump provides the canvas and everyone paints their own favorite picture.

If you look closely at Trump’s response, he did more than avoid the question and act vague. He redirected your thoughts to the issue of privacy (by saying it was personal) because that has more immediacy to your brain than thoughts of your afterlife. Clever move. 

And what about the folks who are concerned about government snooping on their privacy? They just heard Trump guard his own, while implying that privacy is important. Nice. He got that one for free without discussing government snooping at all.

The media will report that Trump did nothing but dodge a question. I say there is more method to it. I believe we are witnessing something that could fundamentally change the way we view human nature. That’s a longer post, but the two-word summary is moist robots. It gets harder to deny our nature when you see a linguistic wizard reprogramming people in real time.

I remind you that I do not know what kind of president Trump will be. I am not that smart and neither are most of you. But I do enjoy watching his linguistic precision, all covered in hay so he doesn’t scare the sheep. And I do not say that as a criticism. There doesn’t seem to be a second way to become president. 



Scott Adams Blog

Trump VS Bush: Persuasion Wars


Someone accused me of having a man-crush on Trump because I keep writing about him. I plead guilty. I have no idea whether he would be a good President or not, and I don’t believe you know either. My man-crush is based on Trump’s persuasion skills. I have never seen better.

I hope that sharing some of Trump’s methods will make you more effective in your own life. And it is fun stuff. 

— start —

Who is the better persuader: Donald Trump or Jeb Bush? 

Let’s start with this article about Trump’s oft-repeated campaign theme “We have to take our country back.” The article suggests that the sentence is veiled racism and an intentional call to anti-immigration types.

Is it?

If you look at this situation with a political filter, it sure looks like a secret dog whistle to the anti-immigration folks, as the article suggests. But if you look at it through the filter of a trained hypnotist reviewing the work of another, you see a lot more.

You want to know what I see, right?

Hypnosis rule #1 is that you leave out the details and allow people to fill in the blanks with their own imagination. That’s why, for example, my comic characters have no last names while working in a nameless company for a nameless boss in a nameless location. I don’t want a reader in France to think Dilbert is an American and therefore of little interest. I want the French reader, the Elbonian, and the American to look at the Dilbert characters and say some version of “That character is me!” In order to achieve that effect, I intentionally omit details that would knock you off the track. For example, the minute I give Dilbert a last name it would over-specify his ethnic origins and give folks a reason to feel less connected.

When your intention is persuasion, you need to know when to drop a huge anchor that redirects everyone’s attention to one point and when to do the opposite and create a vague suggestion so people can fill in the blanks on their own. I’ll explain some examples of both.

In the first debate, Megyn Kelly asked Trump to explain his offensive comments about specific women. If Trump had engaged in the question, the headlines the next day would have been about him “walking back” what he said, or lying about what he said, or simply being smeared with the topic in general. It was a perfect media trap. Trump was expected to say something generic and defensive, and then the media would take it out of context and paint him as a horrible sexist. That ploy would have generated a week’s worth of “news” that required no research and no flying into a war zone. Very economical.

But Trump dropped an anchor on the media’s collective asses before the question was fully formed. He interrupted with “Only Rosie O’Donnell” (an unpopular name among core Republicans) and completely owned the headlines after that. That was some genius misdirection, and it was probably planned in advance. So that’s a good example of when to use a strong, visual anchor.

But how does a persuader know when to redirect attention to something specific versus being vague so the audience can fill in the blanks? Let me see if I can answer that for you.

A golden rule in sales is “Don’t sell past the close.” That means that once your customer says yes, you stop talking about the product because you might accidentally say something that stops the sale. You never add detail when the customer is already sold. The less you say, the more likely the customer (who is already sold) will continue talking himself into loving the decision because people like to think they are smart. (Google “cognitive dissonance” for more on that topic.)

Now review Trump’s empty sentence: We need to take America back.

From whom? Notice the intentional lack of detail? In this case, the lack of detail is the powerful part of the sentence.

The media’s political filter automatically goes to immigration, and that interpretation is probably somewhat right. The problem is that it is only 10% of the explanation. The other 90% is what is happening in voters’ heads when they get an open-ended suggestion that someone has somehow stolen the country. 

Who did this awful thing???

Is it the top one-percenters who stole all the country’s money?

Is it the liberals?

Is it the politically-correct people?

Is it the immigrants who are taking jobs?

Is it the wrong-headed people in general?

Is it the minorities? The women?

Is it just our reputation in the world that we lost?

Was it our former greatness we lost?

See how the open-ended suggestion works? Every voter is free to fill in the topic of their own greatest fear. Your brain is a movie that creates your personal history, and when the movie finds a gap, your imagination fills it in. It happens automatically and bypasses rational thought. As with the salesperson who has already made the sale, Trump says nothing you can dislike while giving you the freedom to fill in the blanks in the way that influences you the most.

In other words, Trump’s sentence “We need to take America back” invites you to hypnotize yourself to finish the thought. And you do.

Secondly, we know from studies that human brains are wired to have a greater response to loss, or potential loss, than to potential gain. Trump’s slogan about taking back America speaks to loss while retaining the optimism that we can get it back. That is pure, engineered, persuasion perfection. 

Trump’s slogan should, by design, make every voter spontaneously imagine the one thing they believe they have lost. It could be anything, from personal privacy to job opportunity to whatever. If you are afraid you lost it, Trump’s slogan makes you think of it automatically. And you just automatically paired your emotional sense of wanting something precious with … Donald Trump. 

Many of you still believe Trump’s rise in the polls is some sort of media-generated side show. It isn’t. It is a master class in persuasion paired with perfect timing and a weak field.

And I don’t think I need to explain why Trump’s hat is bright red, or why he is keeping his hair covered. There are no accidents in Trump’s world.

You might think that all world-class politicians have the same set of linguistic tools at their command. Let’s check that assumption by taking a look at Jeb Bush’s recent campaign utterances to see how they match up on the persuasion scale.

Jeb Bush recently said that Trump was a Democrat longer than he was a Republican in the past decade. That sounds like a good zinger, right? It got a lot of press, just as Bush wanted. Does Bush win that round?


Mentioning Trump’s party change might have been a good thing to say before Trump was trouncing Bush in the polls and locking up the nomination. But today it sounds like Bush is telling independent voters that Trump is not a slave to any party. They love that. And independents will probably decide the election.

It would be hard to engineer a worse thing for Bush to say at this stage.

Bush has also been saying on the campaign trail that Trump favored a tax hike on the wealthy. Again, it would have been a great thing to say before Trump became the probable Republican nominee. But saying that sort of thing today is telling Democrats and Independents that Trump is not the greedy billionaire you were afraid he might be. It solves one of Trump’s biggest problems.

On the persuasion scale, and looking at only these few examples, Trump gets his usual A+ and Jeb Bush gets whatever is worse than a failing grade. I say worse because failing in this context would mean having no impact on voters, but Bush probably convinced voters to prefer his opponent. You can’t fail harder than that.

These are just anecdotes. The fun here is seeing how many of the examples going forward fit the persuasion hypothesis. 

I remind you that in my opinion all of the candidates on both sides are reasonably qualified for the job of president. Trump has a huge persuasion advantage, but I don’t know how that would translate into the job of president.

Update 1: See this political thinker dismiss Trump’s linguistic savvy and try to explain his success as nothing but the public’s distaste for government. That is one small part of it. I’m fairly sure the other candidates are promising to change/fix everything too. Why don’t we believe them?

There is a reason Trump’s message penetrates the crowd noise while the other candidates crawl back to their dark corners. Trump is trained in the art of persuasion, and literally wrote the book on it. His opponents are politicians. That’s comparing a bazooka to a fly-swatter.

Update 2: Here’s a new story about Jeb Bush saying things that opponents are taking out of context, thus causing him to defend himself from the professional Outragists. Compare Bush’s strategy of defending himself with facts versus Trump’s method of ballsy redirection and emotionally nailing the listener to an entirely different topic. Which method looks more effective to you?

My updated prediction is that Trump will win the general election by a large margin. (Prior prediction was a small margin.) 


In Top Tech Blog today, how about a 3D printer that can print ten different materials? That seems close to the point at which robots can build new robots. One futurist predicted that when robots can build robots, everything changes. For example, robots could build power generation plants in the desert on the cheap and solve the world’s energy problems. Not sure I believe that yet.

Have you read my book yet?*

(”yet” in this context is a persuasion word. It is meant to cause you to think “no” while accepting the “yet” part without reason.)


Scott Adams Blog

Persuasion – Jane Austen

Jane Austen - Persuasion  artwork


Jane Austen

Genre: Fiction & Literature

Publish Date: January 1, 1818

Publisher: Public Domain

Seller: Public Domain

A woman of no importance, she manoeuvres in her restricted circumstances as her long-time love Captain Wentworth did in the wars. Even though she is nearly thirty, well past the sell-by bloom of youth, Austen makes her win out for herself and for others like herself, in a regenerated society.

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