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Scott Adams' Dilbert comic strip is simply brilliant; Dilbert is the embodiment of the typical white collar working man. Other comic strips may be funny, but Dilbert personally connects with huge numbers of people in ways no other comic strip has ever come close to matching. It's really amazing how a single three-frame daily comic can say so much so well. I feel a particular affinity to both Dilbert and his creator Scott Adams. Adams' first job was a bank teller position, as was mine. I am also quite familiar with the whole cubicle phenomenon, and while my own work experience was never quite as dysfunctional as that of Dilbert, I can relate to and understand very well the types of management decisions, innovatively silly programs and campaigns, and team-building charades that take place in Dilbert's workplace. You don't have to be a cubicle veteran to "get" Dilbert, though, and Adams' humor is so razor-sharp and grounded in common sense that Dilbert's fans should be and are legion in number.
Seven Years of Highly Defective People makes a great introduction to Scott Adams' brilliant comic strip. Not only do you get a sampling of Adams' best creations from the time of the strip's appearance in 1989 to 1996 and the publication of this book, you get a great introduction to the characters who share Dilbert's world. You can see the progression of the The Boss over time and marvel at the appearance and growth of his increasingly pointy hair, watch Dilbert's coworker Alice evolve from a nondescript female character to the triangle-haired attitude-laced pistol she came to be. Wally has always been Wally, but this guy makes any comic strip frame better and funnier just by lending his presence. Then there are the minor and not-so-minor other characters: Ratbert, Catbert, Bob the Dinosaur and family, Dilbert's Mom and never-seen Dad, the world's smartest garbageman, Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light, Asok the intern, Ted the Generic Guy, etc. My favorite character is of course Dogbert, Dilbert's dog who is constantly scheming to take over the world, creating some of the most amazing jobs for himself to aid him in his efforts. Dogbert gets to say all the things that Dilbert (and his author and I and many of us) would like to say but cannot even think about uttering aloud.
Each significant character gets a little bio-type write-up here, and perhaps best of all Adams has included notes for the majority of the comic strips stuffed into these 250+ pages. It's fascinating to see how little things he did almost on a lark ended up becoming so popular that they had to be incorporated into the whole Dilbert universe. Even more fascinating are Adams' references to the many controversies some of his seemingly innocuous comic strip ideas met with. His comments on his own poor cartooning skills are also quite funny and, it would seem, true to an extent. Of course, Dilbert wouldn't be the same if it came out looking like a piece of art or a Disney-type production. Most people either "get" Dilbert or don't "get" him, and I think most individuals can establish their respective place with a look at a small sampling of the comic strips. Those whom Dilbert speaks to as a prophet of truth blazing forth across the heavens would do well to invest in this significant collection; there are a lot of Dilbert books on the market, but I think Seven Years of Highly Defective People is among the best of the bunch and is particularly appealing to those wanting to review or learn about the early years of Dilbert.
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on December 10, 2002
A single cartoon that I have laughed the hardest at, the longest at, as to be a Dilbert. Scott Adams has jokes that may step over the line in a businessman's perspective, but if you're a comics fan, its like gold.
In this book, we have the best of the beginning, the outrageous of the origin, the super of the Seven. In this book, you will get no new comics, but something that I think every popular comic strip compilation should have. Comments from the author. Somehow, they enrich your reading by providing insights such as: if Adams thought it was dumb, what parts of this outrageousness actualy IS true. Or presenting a phrase that kills him (with laughter!) every time (can you chant?). I'm glad he took the time.
In this book, Adams has a few paragraphs/a page or two about every character, as small as its role may be.
The characters include:
-Dilbert
..& Dogbert
...& Technology
..in the Business world
...& women
...& his ego
...Dies
...Travels
...Attempts to join the Consumer Society
-Dogbert
..the Early, Vulnerable days
...Reveals his Sarcasm
..& the many occupations
..Schemes to Conquer the World
...Saves Dilbert
-Ratbert ("Timmy" is the best EVER!!!!)
-Garbageman
-Liz
-Dilmom & Dildad
-Bob & the dinosaurs
-Catbert
-Phil
-Asok (he's cool!)
-Tina the Tech Writer
-Elbonians (crack-ups!)
-The Boss
-Alice
-Wally (my fav character)
-Carol
-Critters
-Dogbert in Hats
-Ted the Generic Guy
-Slapstick (the phrase, that isn't a person!)
He missed janitor.
Ah, well. This-esp. with the insight comments from Adams-belongs on the shelve of anyone who likes comics (or anything) in the 90's. Or if you like Dilbert, or laughing 'till you strain something.....
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on May 10, 2000
Well, now you can find out, thanks to Scott Adams' annotated compilation of selected Dilbert strips. More than just another re-hash of old favorites, "Seven Years" is one of the better comic collections I've seen. Adams' individual analyses of each character is, perhaps, the closest you will get to studying actual Character Design theory for comic strips. Of course, he mentions nothing about the drawing style (how hard is it to draw Dilbert & friends anyway?) but if you want to know what goes into making memorable comic strip personalities, this book has it. Sadly, the inter-character chemistry isn't on a level with Peanuts, so don't expect any amazing insights on how Dilbert and Dogbert get along.
The majority of Adams' annotations refer in some way to the central joke of a certain strip; occasionally he also discusses artistic points and story arcs. Sometimes the comments are even funnier than the actual strip. All in all, it's an enlightening peek into the creative process of making a comic strip. Aspiring artists and fans of the genre should definitely have this book, and if you don't, borrow it from someone who does.
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on July 13, 2001
Scott Adams is widely known for creating one of the most unconventional and hilarious comic strips ever: Dilbert. In "Seven Years of Highly Defective People," the tenth in a series of book featuring his entire comic strip, Adams pays tribute to his office working character by placing the best strips into categories, relating how certain characters came to be, and what their inspirations were. Even the strips themselves have small cliffnotes attached to them, interesting tidbits of information as we laugh at the many experiences Dilbert goes through, from his pointy-haired boss's many machinations to the many dates with many kinds of women, to his little dog Dogbert, who wants to rule the world one day. This is the definitive Dilbert book for anyone who's been a longtime fan of the comic strip, or even for those wanting to jump on the bandwagon and see what the laughter is all about.
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Dilbert is the signature comic of the cubicle generation. It never ceases to amaze me how an engineer who wrestles to keep his characters even looking consistent, because he is admittedly not a great artist, has managed to make so much of his strip. The reason, of course, is that he understands the climate and atmosphere of so many of us who walk the mazes of cubicles chasing the corporate cheese. He's captured the cynicism, the drollness and the other elements that help us cope with the impersonal affronts that greet us regularly.

If you have every other Dilbert, you may want to think before picking it up as it has no new material. It does however, have the unique arrangment that shows the development of so many characters. The notes themselves add an element that gives insight into the twisted mind of Adams.

Viva la Dilbert!
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on May 22, 1998
I would read strips of Dilbert from the newspapers and find it extremely funny, but sometimes I would find some of the strips rather confusing. After reading this book, and laughing so hard with tears in my eyes, I have been unable to get enough of Dilbert. Everyone one else I lent this book to also experienced the same phenomenon. If you've never been introduced to Dilbert, this is definately the book you should get. It filled with the best strips & explanations by the author himself. It's a timeless piece and can be read over and over again. And for Dilbert fans, this is definately a keeper.
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on June 12, 1998
THIS BOOK IS PERHAPS THE BEST THING THAT SCOTT ADAMS HAS PRODUCED SO FAR. I WAS WEARY OF BUYING ANY THE TREASURIES BEECAUSE IT SEEMED A LITTLE PRICY FOR SOMETHING THAT WAS OVER SO QUICKLY. OUTSIDE OF THE DILBERT FUTURE, I DIDN'T FIND ANY OF THE BUSINESS BOOKS TOO FUNNY. BUT I HAD TO GET THIS. NOT ONLY IS IT A BEST OF BOOK, BUT IT GIVES YOU BACKGROUND ON EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DILBERT UNIVERSE, AND HALF THE TIME, ADAMS'S COMMENTS ARE AS FUNNY AS ANYTHING ELSE. ULTIMATELY, IF YOU'RE ONLY GOING TO BUY ONE DILBERT BOOK, MAKE THIS THE ONE.
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on December 28, 2001
SEVEN YEARS OF HIGHLY DEFECTIVE PEOPLE is a must buy for anyone who likes Dilbert. Reading it is a hilarious review of Dilbert comics from 1989 to 1995-- all of them conveniently grouped by theme or person.
Scott Adams also includes his own notes after many of the strips, and they are both funny and revealing. Through his frequent discussions of the histories of the characters, one gains a greater apprecation for the many changes Dilbert has gone through.
I would highly recommend this book to any Dilbert lover.
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on November 5, 1997
Scott did an Awesome Job with this one.

95% of the strips are commented with funny and intresting insights. The comics on there own are great, but the comments go a long way in changing it from a simple book of comics to some really great reading.
It's well worth its price for the loads of insight.
Did you catch the hidden meaning when Dilbert's tie layed flat?
Intrested in a biographic pictorial of the Dilbert Gang?
Check it out!
All I can say is "IT WAS GREAT"
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on September 29, 2001
Seven Years of Highly Defective People is a marvelous Dilbert book. It exposes the characters, and how they got started. It also includes strips from previous books and Scott Adams's thoughts on the comics in his own hand writing! It's a classic for any Dilbert fan. You can find your favorite characters like Dilbert, Dogbert, Boss, Alice, Wally, Catbert, Ratbert, Asok the intern, Tina the Tech Writer, Carol the evil secretary, and many, many more. I highly recommend this book.
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