What is the book Win Bigly about?
The author of the book Scott Adams is among the first who predicted Trump’s victory, at a time when he was still a candidate competing against Hillary Clinton. Adams was writing about it on his blog, and it became popular. He stresses that he’s not used to being an expert on politics, he knows very little about it. That’s why he views Trump’s electoral tactics as a high art of persuasion using unexpected and non-trivial methods.
His early days of blogging about Trump as a master of persuasion drove away many of Adams’s subscribers along with his friends, but he was sure that Trump’s going to win.
The public rejection of Trump and all of his supporters were so strong that, for a while, Adams thought his career was over and he is about to become an outcast because of his views. However, everything turned out the opposite. After Trump’s victory, Adams ended up in a new and unexpected role for himself. In the public eye, he became a useful political analyst capable of predicting an almost unbelievable turn of events. Adams sees Trump as an unorthodox politician and unorthodox businessman. His main talent is his gift of persuasion.
This statement seems strange, especially after the liberal media accused Trump of all mortal sins – being racist, sexist, insulting a person with physical disabilities and so forth. However, Adams thinks that non-compliance with public demands has nothing to do with the art of persuasion. Trump wasn’t just going to win the election – he was going to change the reality full of clichés and stereotypes; to make people look at the world in an entirely new way.
With a goal like that, the majority of potential voters were taking Trump for a crazy person who speaks and does ridiculous and nonsensical things. On the contrary, Trump had to break through those negative opinions on him and win. Adams was studying the art of persuasion, and that’s why he viewed Trump’s tactics this way – it was a person going up against the majority of American voters he had to convince. The author emphasizes that he doesn’t share most of Trump’s opinions and neither he does Clinton’s. He has no political prejudice; he decided to see American President as being a master of persuasion.
All the skills of persuasion aside, Adams could judge Trump’s business talents and his sense of humour, which he often wrote about in his blog even before the presidential race ended. Trump was using business strategies, and Adams knows this side of a life well. Dilbert Comics are also devoted to business, as well as several books full of business humour written by Adams. For many years he was working in large corporations, before leaving to go on his own and starting his Dilbert Comics, for which he also needed the knowledge of marketing, PR and the internal structure of corporate life. Trump’s electoral strategies were discussed by most political experts and journalists who had no corporate experience. Therefore, according to Adams, they simply couldn’t comprehend his methods. At the time of the election campaign, Trump’s critics riled up against Adams, believing that his public support will help to bring a racist, sexist and xenophobe to power. They called Adams “Hitler’s Little Helper”, believing that he was just seeking attention at all costs.
But Adams assures that they were wrong. He saw Trump’s shortcomings, but he also saw his strengths. He thought that “No one becomes Hitler at 70” – a person should be seen expressing fascist manners long before this age. That couldn’t be said about Trump, it was nothing more than a frenzy of his opponents before the election. Similarly, Adams wasn’t buying the idea that Obama was a member of a sleeping Islamist cell – the thing his detractors were talking about for a long time.
Many of Trump’s statements sounded extremist, but, according to Adams, it wasn’t a mistake of a rookie candidate. His hyperboles were his weapon, after them, people were waiting for something terrible, but they’ve brought necessary measures to establish order.
So, Trump was saying that immigrants would be deported out of the country for good. His many critics and adversaries interpreted this statement as an attempt to take away the freedom of people who are different from others. You’d think that would undoubtedly be the worst idea for a candidate who doesn’t want to alienate his voters. However, when Trump became president, he focused on deporting those immigrants who committed crimes after entering the country. That first statement, the mass deportation of immigrants, scared everyone so much that most people only felt relief when everything came down to an immigration policy regulation and strengthening the borders. Adams says that it’s a typical part of the business world – the first proposal was inflated, so you later reduce the price to a reasonable level.
The author feels that strictly speaking, Trump had no apparent political outlook. His pre-election promises were also a part of the persuasion, not his clear policy. But Adams felt that Trump wanted the same as most American citizens wish to – the national prosperity, affordable medicine, strong national security and such. Therefore, as an experienced businessman, he could compensate for his lack of political experience by calling on the assistance of experts and delving into the vital information. Adams thinks that judging by the reforms in the Immigration policy, tax legislation, and combating terrorism, the president has succeeded.
The author writes that he made an assumption – all of Trump’s strong statements were overstated, and then he would go towards maintaining the middle ground when he’s going to be elected. And this assumption is still correct. Adams points out that this book is not about politics. At least, politics are presented only in the context of persuasion.
Summary and 10 Ideas of Win Bigly
- Vivid imagery is going to have a huge place in your mind, even if it has nothing to do with real life.
- Our mind is far from being rational.
- When a person experiences cognitive dissonance, his brain generates a false reality to calm him.
- The bias of confirmation forces us to interpret facts in a way to reinforce the already existing opinions.
- It’s better to have few modest talents than a great one, but a single one.
- Analogies create an illusion that if two compared things share something in common, then they are very similar in general.
- It’s easier to convince a person who thinks you are convincing.
- In a chaotic environment, people prefer clear and simple solutions.
- The right tagline can make or break the whole presidential campaign.
- The system has advantages over goals.
Review Win Bigly
Adams stresses that his book is not a hymn to Trump’s virtues. He mentions that at the very beginning of the election campaign he only noted his talent for persuasion. Clinton’s supporters were furious; they’ve called him Goebbels working for Trump – Hitler. They’ve insulted him, called his Dilbert Comics for a boycott. People threatened him and were behaving like true thugs who should’ve been taught a lesson. Adams sees Trump’s shortcomings, their opinions are very different, and yet, in Adams’s eyes, Trump remains the master of persuasion.
This book is about how to convince correctly. It’s about how the human brain works, and how with the help of simple techniques you can easily incorporate the needed opinions into it. It’s also about how the knowledge of these techniques will help you to avoid misinformation. And that’s its main idea and its primary value.
Pros and Cons
- Valuable ideas spiced with humour; exciting examples; simple exposition.
- Some critics believe that sometimes the author gets too caught up in narcissism.