Scott Adams is best known as the creator of the popular comic strip “Dilbert”, which satirizes office culture. Through “Dilbert”, licensing deals, speaking engagements, and other ventures, Adams has amassed an impressive net worth. This article will explore Scott Adams’ journey to building his fortune.
Scott Adams is an American cartoonist, author, and entrepreneur. He is the creator of “Dilbert”, the satirical comic strip that pokes fun at corporate culture. Featuring characters like the socially awkward Engineer Dilbert and his recalcitrant dog Dogbert, “Dilbert” became a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s.
Although “Dilbert” provided Adams with initial fame and royalties, he has expanded his career in many directions over the past few decades. Through clever licensing deals, speaking engagements, investments, and business ventures, Scott Adams has accumulated an estimated net worth of $75 million.
Scott Adams’ Early Life and Education
Scott Raymond Adams was born in Windham, New York, on June 8, 1957. His father was a postal clerk, and his mother was a real estate agent.
Adams exhibited an early talent for drawing and cartooning. He started drawing cartoons for his school newspaper in the 6th grade. In 1975, Adams graduated from Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School in New York.
Adams attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. After college, he worked corporate jobs in the San Francisco Bay Area at Crocker National Bank and Pacific Bell.
Adams took continuing education classes on cartooning and humor writing in his free time. He was determined to make a career switch to being a full-time cartoonist.
Scott Adams’ Career Beginnings with Dilbert
Scott Adams started drawing cartoons starring an unnamed character that would eventually become Dilbert in the late 1980s. The comics poked fun at the corporate environment in which Adams worked.
In 1989, Adams quit his day job to pursue a full-time career as a cartoonist. His first published comic strip, Dilbert, appeared in 1989 and 1990 in various magazines and newspapers.
The popularity of Dilbert took off when United Media started syndicating the strip in over 150 newspapers in 1991. Readers, especially those working office jobs, connected with the humorous depictions of office politics, unreasonable management, and workplace frustration.
Dilbert became a cultural phenomenon within a few years and one of the most recognizable comic strips worldwide. At its peak popularity in the 1990s, Dilbert was published in over 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries.
How Dilbert Built Scott Adams’ Net Worth
The widespread popularity and appeal of Dilbert brought Scott Adams tremendous income streams through:
- Newspaper syndication – As Dilbert was carried in over 2,000 newspapers, Adams earned steady royalty payments from his syndication partnerships.
- Book collections – Compilations of Dilbert comic strips became bestselling books, with over 20 million copies sold worldwide.
- Licensing deals – Adams earned royalties by licensing the Dilbert characters for use on mugs, calendars, T-shirts, and hundreds of other products.
- The TV show – Dilbert was adapted into a UPN animated series that ran for two seasons, which provided additional revenue.
Dilbert provided Adams with a comfortable living and the financial security to expand into other ventures. While the height of the strip’s popularity has passed, it still appears in hundreds of newspapers globally.
Scott Adams’ Other Business Ventures
Beyond Dilbert, Scott Adams diversified his career by getting into public speaking, writing non-Dilbert books, creating digital content, and investing in various businesses:
- Speaking engagements – Adams earns $30,000 to $75,000 for each speaking event he does for corporations and colleges.
- Books – He has written business books like How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. His books have sold over 3 million copies.
- Blog/YouTube – Adams writes blog posts and creates YouTube videos. His content gets millions of views and expands his audience.
- Investments – He has invested in successful restaurants and apps like ScotteVest and Dilbert’s Scott Adams Lawyer. The returns contribute to his net worth.
- Online education – Adams founded Scott Adams’ Online Institute, which provides digital courses on confidence and humor writing.
By expanding beyond just Dilbert, Adams has continued increasing his net worth and career longevity.
Scott Adams Net Worth
According to Forbes and other outlets, Scott Adams’ net worth is estimated at around $75 million as of 2022.
Here is a breakdown of where his wealth comes from:
- Dilbert syndication, books, and licensing: $30 – $50 million
- Non-Dilbert book royalties: $10 million
- Speaking engagements: $10 – $15 million
- Investments and business ventures: $5+ million
- Online education and digital content: $5+ million
At 65 years old, Adams has accumulated an impressive fortune through his creativity, business acumen, and ability to evolve his career for decades. With a popular blog, bestselling books, and active licensing deals, Dilbert still earns Adams a steady income even after over 30 years.
Scott Adams’ Personal Life
Scott Adams met his first wife, Shelly Miles, when they both worked at Crocker National Bank in the 1980s. They married in 1987 but eventually divorced after over a decade of marriage.
In 2006, Adams married Kristina Basham. She is a former VP of operations at an investment firm and runs Adams’ social media. They do not have any children together.
Adams and Basham used to live in Pleasanton, California, in a modern, 8,000+ square foot home valued at around $3 million. They now reside in Washington State on a rural estate with horses and other farm animals.
Despite his fortune, Adams leads a quiet, low-key lifestyle centered around his work. His pleasures include eating at nice restaurants and collecting fine wine.
Lesser Known Facts About Scott Adams
- Originally, I wanted to be a hypnotist before focusing on cartooning. He is a trained hypnotist.
- Predicted Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential victory through “master persuader” analysis.
- Has dealt with spasmodic dysphonia, a voice condition causing strained speech.
- Practices “Dilbert-style” affirmations to remain optimistic and attract good fortune.
- Owns significant amounts of real estate, including luxury apartments and commercial buildings.
- Lost his voice for 3 years in the 2000s due to a rare viral infection. Eventually recovered through surgery.
- Vegetarian for over 30 years
- Enjoys playing chess and working out on his treadmill desk
From humble beginnings, Scott Adams leveraged his Dilbert comic strip to build an estimated net worth of $75 million. He expanded his career beyond cartooning through syndication, books, licensing, speaking, and shrewd investments.
Now in his 60s, Adams continues working and generates income through his popular blog, YouTube channel, online education courses, and real estate holdings, in addition to Dilbert.
By remaining innovative and appealing to audiences through humor, Scott Adams has achieved financial security and become one of the most recognized cartoonists worldwide. His example shows the power of expanding beyond a single revenue stream and reinventing oneself.
How did Scott Adams become famous?
Scott Adams created the Dilbert comic strip, a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s, satirizing corporate office culture. Dilbert was published in over 2,000 newspapers globally at its peak.
What is Scott Adams’ net worth?
Scott Adams’ net worth is estimated to be around $75 million. His wealth comes from Dilbert syndication, books, licensing deals, speaking fees, and other business ventures.
How much does Scott Adams make from Dilbert?
Dilbert earns Scott Adams an estimated $30 – $50 million from newspaper syndication, book collections, and licensing the character for use on merchandise. However, he has diversified his income beyond just the comic strip.
What are Scott Adams’ other sources of income?
In addition to Dilbert, Adams earns millions from public speaking fees, non-Dilbert books, online education, YouTube videos, real estate investments, restaurants, and apps he has invested in.
Is Scott Adams still writing Dilbert?
Yes, Adams still writes and draws the Dilbert comic strip today. It appears in hundreds of newspapers globally, though it is not as widely syndicated as in the 1990s. Dilbert still provides Adams with royalties and licensing income.
Is Scott Adams married?
Yes, Adams has been married to Kristina Basham since 2006. He was previously married to Shelly Miles from 1987 to 2002.