I feel guilty about even counting this one. Let me explain: I’ve been a Dilbert fan for quite some time, even though my local newspaper is too cheap the run the syndicated strip. When Scott Adams wrote The Dilbert Principle in 1997, it garnered mass acclaim not so much because the book was well-written, but rather because it reiterated the comic’s popular sentiment in textual form—though certainly not without its share of included strips, as well. From this, we can assume that Scott Adams believes he is a funny writer.
Don’t get me wrong: I like Dilbert. But Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel is the fourth non-comic book that Adams wrote in a span of about 6 years. While The Dilbert Principle was funny at least the first time through it, by the time this sequel came about, it’s clear that Adams was out of ideas. The result is a wandering mess of pop wisdom, rehashed “Managers are stupid” gags, and jokes so self-conscious that I cringe to read them. The ultimate irony is that Adams jibes about his ability to sell bad writing (here is his self-depracation, which he doesn’t really mean) when in fact his writing is bad: the skills necessarily to write speech bubbles for three frames does not automatically translate into an extended textual format. Case in point.
Every time I consider it, more and more of the material here seems rehashed. Not only does it simply reiterate Adams’ old comics and books in the context of his new favorite word—”weasel”—but he blatantly mines his strips for laugh lines. He’ll use the phrase or punchline in-text, and then follow the section of with a comic… which uses the exact same phrase, now stripped of its ability to produce laughter.
If you want a funnier book of similar cynical office humor, try one of Dave Barry’s early publications, Claw Your Way to the Top. Even if you’re a die-hard Dilbert fan, I’d skip this one and stick to territory with which Mr. Adams is more familiar (and, let us say it, more skilled).