Given the title of this booklog, it's probably no surprise that I read Scott Adams' Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel just as soon as Amazon could get it to my greedy little hands.

This is the fourth of Adams' mostly-prose (there are some cartoons mixed in, but there's more unillustrated verbiage) books, which in many ways are funnier than his comics, because they get a chance to develop beyond three panels. I really don't know how this particular one stacks up next to the others, though; I liked this book -- I laughed out loud repeatedly and at length -- but I didn't like it as much as, say, The Dilbert Principle.

But it's my suspicion that the decline in my enjoyment isn't about anything intrinsic to the book, but is instead a function of the order in which I read the books (which happens to be the order in which Adams wrote them, but that's hardly relevant). If I'd read this book years ago, and read The Dilbert Principle now for the first time, I'd probably have laughed harder at this one, and thought that one was a bit of a let-down.

The fundamental problem is that any person only gets so many good ideas in their lifetime, and once they've run through their stock, they can either repeat themselves again and again (the route followed by Terry Pratchett, P.G. Wodehouse, and Adams here), or start trying out their bad ideas (Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke).

Plus, the more books you read by a single author, the more you start to see their formula at work, the more obtrusive their little tics become -- it's impossible to read all of David Brin's books without noticing his unholy fondness for the word "brobdingnagian," for instance. Adams has a formula and tics, and both are becoming increasingly visible as I read more and more of his stuff.

So if you've read Adams' other prose books, you know what to expect here; you won't be disappointed, but neither will you be surprised. If you haven't read his prose, but enjoy his comics (or enjoyed them before they got too repetitive), you should give any one of them a shot -- they're good.


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