Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Much of the advice we’ve been told about achievement is logical, earnest…and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success and most importantly, how anyone can achieve it. You’ll learn:• Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires, and how your biggest weakness might actually be your greatest strength • Whether nice guys finish last and why the best lessons about cooperation come from gang members, pirates, and serial killers• Why trying to increase confidence fails and how Buddhist philosophy holds a superior solution• The secret ingredient to “grit” that Navy SEALs and disaster survivors leverage to keep going• How to find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-ManBy looking at what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, we learn what we can do to be more like them—and find out in some cases why it’s good that we aren’t. Barking Up the Wrong Tree draws on startling statistics and surprising anecdotes to help you understand what works and what doesn’t so you can stop guessing at success and start living the life you want.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree Details

TitleBarking Up the Wrong Tree
Author
Formatebook
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 16th, 2017
PublisherHarperOne
ISBN0062416170
ISBN-139780062416179
Number of pages224 pages
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Business, Psychology, Self Help, Science, Productivity

Barking Up the Wrong Tree Review

  • Sonya Choudhury
    May 27, 2017
    Bad boys do well in life. Much better than the class toppers, says Eric Barker, in his primer for success. The best lessons in cooperation come from gang members, pirates and serial killers, continues Eric Barker in this how-to-strategize-and-be-successful guide. Sensational theories, but Barker, a former Hollywood screenwriter , uses stories, research studies and liberally quotes the gurus of productivity and psychology to buttress his analysis and advice . The book has 6 chapters, all with cat Bad boys do well in life. Much better than the class toppers, says Eric Barker, in his primer for success. The best lessons in cooperation come from gang members, pirates and serial killers, continues Eric Barker in this how-to-strategize-and-be-successful guide. Sensational theories, but Barker, a former Hollywood screenwriter , uses stories, research studies and liberally quotes the gurus of productivity and psychology to buttress his analysis and advice . The book has 6 chapters, all with catchy subtitles like 'Does Playing by the Rules Pay Off ? Insight from Valedictorians, People Who Feel No Pain, and Piano Prodigies' . Or 'What We Can Learn About Walking the Tightrope Between Confidence and Delusion from Chess Masters, Secret Military Units, Kung Fu Con Artists, and People Who Cannot Feel Fear'In the chapter subtitled 'What Navy SEAL's, Video Games, Arranged Marriages, and Batman can Teach Us About Sticking it Out When Achieving Success is Hard' , Barker explains why playing games are important ."We can apply game mechanics to our lives and turn dull moments into fun ones " he says quoting productivity guru Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . A game is a win and data shows that consistently small wins are even better at producing happiness than occasionally bagging an elephant. Of course investing these games with meaning is key . Barker tells the story of how Steve Jobs lured John Sculley away from his great job as CEO of Pepsi. He asked him,"Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?" Meaningful doesn't have to be saving orphans or curing the sick. As long as your story is meaningful to you, it has power "he says .Each chapter has parable-like stories , like those of Ashlyn Blocker the girl who feels no pain, Alfredo Hinojosa the brilliant immigrant , Michael Swango the killer doctor, Glenn Gould the obsessive pianist or Joe Simpson the survivor mountaineer . Barker quotes and liberally, from a galaxy of distinguished behavioural economists like Kahnemann and Dan Ariely, from literary figures like David Foster Wallace and icons like Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein.Then there's the advice , which appears at the end of each of the six chapters. Like 'Rule 1 :Pick the Right Pond Rule 2 : Cooperate first ' or 'Believing in yourself is Nice . Forgiving Yourself is Better ' . Chapter 6, the concluding chapter ends with stepping back to examine how career success aligns with success in life - where Harvard Business School Clayton Christensen and ( yes !) Mongol warrior Genghis Khan provide examples of how to find peace in a fast moving world . Most of Barker's advice( 'Know yourself. Network. Join Groups. Always Follow Up') is plain common sense and has been done to death . But Barker does manage to liven up the lectures . And if you like gimmicky , this screenwriter turned blogger turned author is up there. Plus he is prolific in his parables of modern day success. From the Navy Seals to Dalai Lama to Steve Job, each chapter has several stories. He quotes generously and is himself quotable - definitely the stuff of motivational presentations !
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  • Lorilin
    June 15, 2017
    We all have ideas of what we think makes people successful. And though author Eric Barker claims to "EXPLODE ALL THE MYTHS!!" in this book, his ideas aren't actually all that crazy--and certainly not so crazy that we've never heard them before. In fact, I recognized more than a few ideas summarized from other books I've read (like Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your We all have ideas of what we think makes people successful. And though author Eric Barker claims to "EXPLODE ALL THE MYTHS!!" in this book, his ideas aren't actually all that crazy--and certainly not so crazy that we've never heard them before. In fact, I recognized more than a few ideas summarized from other books I've read (like Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life, and the list goes on). The great thing about Barking Up the Wrong Tree, though, is that, not only is Barker a great story teller, he's also very clear, specific, and organized in the way he presents his information. In other words, he makes learning really, really fun.There are six chapters in the book. Chapter 1 talks about how people become successful--some by rising through the ranks over time, others by being so different and driven that they bust down the door and invite themselves to the party. Chapter 2 discusses the importance of being kind and giving (without being a martyr). Chapter 3 argues that knowing when to quit is just as important as having grit. Chapter 4 points out the many benefits of having a network, but emphasizes that it should be built by giving to others. Chapter 5 argues that self-compassion is more important than self-esteem. And Chapter 6 talks about the power of good close relationships.There is a lot of information to absorb in here, and it can be overwhelming, but Barking Up the Wrong Tree is still an incredibly interesting and educational book. I think my favorite part is the conclusion where Barker sums it all up:What's the most important thing to remember when it comes to success? Alignment. Success is not the result of any single quality; it's about alignment between who you are and where you choose to be. The right skill in the right role. A good person surrounded by other good people. A story that connects you with the world in a way that keeps you going. A network that helps you, and a job that leverages your natural introversion or extroversion. A level of confidence that keeps you going while learning and forgiving yourself for the inevitable failures. A balance between [happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy] that creates a well-rounded life with no regrets.At the end of the day, having a successful life really comes down to knowing who you are and finding a place where you can be exactly that. It's such a simple message, but a powerful one, too. See more of my reviews at www.BugBugBooks.com!ARC provided through Amazon Vine.
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  • Mart Roben
    June 26, 2017
    Have you ever read a self-help book that gave you all the answers, only to find that real world is far too messy to make use of “simple truths”? Or, from the other side of the genre, have you read a self-help book preaching how everything is relative, leading to the inevitable conclusion that you should stop making choices and stop trying in life? “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” falls in the sweet-spot between the dumb templates and the blind acceptance.The book explores research about life decision Have you ever read a self-help book that gave you all the answers, only to find that real world is far too messy to make use of “simple truths”? Or, from the other side of the genre, have you read a self-help book preaching how everything is relative, leading to the inevitable conclusion that you should stop making choices and stop trying in life? “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” falls in the sweet-spot between the dumb templates and the blind acceptance.The book explores research about life decisions and offers bits that hold scientifically true. Rather than giving a success plan to follow, it envisages likely outcomes of alternative paths. A lot is psychologically hardwired (sorry, you can’t “fake it till you make it”), but there are small choices and possibilities to optimise.Barker presents facts in a delightfully counterintuitive way. (Turns out the best way to impede a workplace opportunist who takes advantage of colleagues’ good will is… gossip!) The author has done the hard work of original investigation. You could tell because his stories and examples are not the standard recycled ones usually found in popular psychology. I also enjoyed how statistical comparisons are used to make scientific findings more tangible. (Having few friends is more dangerous than obesity and is the equivalent health risk of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.)A great read if you want to know how much (or how little) popular success maxims are supported by actual science.
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  • Ahn Mur
    June 11, 2017
    Started off strong and then slowly lost steam. First half of the book contains a few gems, but by the second half, the reflection gets to be a bit fluffier and less definitive / more of the same from other books in the genre.Still worth reading for the first half though! My favourite take aways: -Volunteering 2 hours a week is the sweet spot for maximum benefit -Work hard but draw attention to it, every Friday send an email with accomplishments. -There is really no point where flattery goes too Started off strong and then slowly lost steam. First half of the book contains a few gems, but by the second half, the reflection gets to be a bit fluffier and less definitive / more of the same from other books in the genre.Still worth reading for the first half though! My favourite take aways: -Volunteering 2 hours a week is the sweet spot for maximum benefit -Work hard but draw attention to it, every Friday send an email with accomplishments. -There is really no point where flattery goes too far and backfires -Bad behaviour works in the short term but good behaviour works in the long term.-WOOP: Write down your wish, the outcome, any obstacles you may face, and how you'll overcome them.
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  • Jackie London
    May 14, 2017
    What a thoughtful and entertaining book. This gem kept me engaged as I learned about pirates and prisons and valedictorians success rate right out of the gate. The author uses studies and facts to create arguments and then plays devils advocate to view a different side of the coin. The lessons are told in a conversational way and asks questions that you can think about yourself or talk to co-workers/ friends about. It's a great mix of science and psychology and applying the information in your e What a thoughtful and entertaining book. This gem kept me engaged as I learned about pirates and prisons and valedictorians success rate right out of the gate. The author uses studies and facts to create arguments and then plays devils advocate to view a different side of the coin. The lessons are told in a conversational way and asks questions that you can think about yourself or talk to co-workers/ friends about. It's a great mix of science and psychology and applying the information in your every day life. I enjoyed this very much and the conversations it's helped me start with others.
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  • Edwin Setiadi
    June 2, 2017
    The funnest, the most out-of-the-box analysis, on the keys for successThis is the 1st book I've ever pre-ordered. I am a regular reader of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree, and I once thought would it be cool if Eric Barker can make a book out of these gems? And my God he did, and it did not disappoint one bit.Like Dale Carnegie, Eric Barker uses so many stories, book references and great quotations to make his points accross. There are stories such as how a poor boy in Mexico can become a wor The funnest, the most out-of-the-box analysis, on the keys for successThis is the 1st book I've ever pre-ordered. I am a regular reader of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree, and I once thought would it be cool if Eric Barker can make a book out of these gems? And my God he did, and it did not disappoint one bit.Like Dale Carnegie, Eric Barker uses so many stories, book references and great quotations to make his points accross. There are stories such as how a poor boy in Mexico can become a world class neuro surgeon, how a clinically crazy person can win the enduring Race Across America, or how can an illiterate person in a horrible time and place and without proper education can conquer more land in 25 years than the Romans ever did in 400 years. There are also eye opening stories of how trust is completely lost in a Moldovan culture, how crimes create street gangs (and not the other way around) for protection, and how surprisingly civilised and organised pirates were.The author then back them up with numerous scientific findings to validate the points he is making, just like the approach of Daniel Kahneman. For example, there are scientific explanations on why some people never quit, why people have depression, and why people commit suicide. Moreover, there are explanations on why high achievers can sometimes have anxiety problem or even depression, why the number ones in high school (the valedictorians) so rarely become the number ones in real life, why beautiful people normally becomes more successful, why nice guys finish first and last (and not in the middle), and why high achievers are rarely active in their social media accounts.Along the way we'll learn so many amusing facts, such as how an IQ of 120 does not make much difference than 180, 2 and a half to 4 hours after we wake up is when our brains is at its sharpest, how Hedonic Adaptation explains why after a brief change everything change back to baseline (e.g. on diet and clean behaviour), how viagra started out as a medicine for angina that had a serendipitous "side effect", that the US once had an (almost official) emperor, Emperor Norton I. And we'll also gain some great wisdom like "sometimes an ugly duckling can be a swan if it finds the right pond" or "life is noisy and complex, and we don't have perfect information about others and their motives. Writing people off can be due to just lack of clarity", or "things aren't as scary when we have our hands on the wheels."All of these wealth of information are then knitted nicely to become the central theme of the book: to discover the core determinants of success, through considering both sides of the argument with extreme stories and scientific facts.In each individual chapters the book then provide concluding analysis, such as the importance of quiting something that is not good for you to make room and time for something good for you, the scientific explanation on luck as a function of choice, the disadvantages dreaming will cause on your wellbeing, effort and reality, the best predictor of our child's emotional well-being is whether they knew their family history, the importance of sleep and self-compassion, and many more.The author also gives us so many practical tools for us to work out the determinant factors for succcess, on our own unique way, such as Shawn Anchor's "twenty second rule", Cal Newport's "shutdown ritual", how to skillfully and sincerely use our network, figuring out whether we're filtered or unfiltered leader, the importance of setting a parameter in a negotiation, and the findings of Robert Epstein research on how to reduce stress, among many others.All in all, this book is the most complete analysis for its subject, using unorthodox approach and very amusing wide range of information that makes it very fun to read. What Freakonomics did for economics, Why Do Men Have Nipples? did for medicine, and Moonwalking With Einstein did with memory, Barking Up the Wrong Tree does it brilliantly with exploring the keys for success in the real world. I couldn't recommend it more.
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  • Matěj H.
    June 1, 2017
    Among other books aimed at describing whats necessary for sucees in life, this one felt both entertaining and thought-provoking, thanks to (mainly) two reasons: inclusion of wide array of demonstrating real-life examples including Genghis Khan or Spiderman, and looking at the (dis)advantages of BOTH competing aspects (bad guy/good guy) in each of the chapters, instead of just saying "being good guy is good, period".I really enjoyed the book - authors writing style was easily digestible even for Among other books aimed at describing whats necessary for sucees in life, this one felt both entertaining and thought-provoking, thanks to (mainly) two reasons: inclusion of wide array of demonstrating real-life examples including Genghis Khan or Spiderman, and looking at the (dis)advantages of BOTH competing aspects (bad guy/good guy) in each of the chapters, instead of just saying "being good guy is good, period".I really enjoyed the book - authors writing style was easily digestible even for non-native English reader, the chapters were reasonably long, they touched many different aspects of success and the overall reading experience was really good, better than I expected before getting the book. Also, the number of mentioned scientific papers and quotes from famous psychologists covers many of the most prolific researchers in the field. If the topic of success interests you, this book can be easily recommended. :)
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  • Scott Wozniak
    June 17, 2017
    This book does what few other productivity/self-help books do--it's looks at both sides of the big claims, revealing the flaws in being too simplistic. And then it offers a path between the extremes that outperforms the stereotypes. It's better to be confident, to have high self-esteem, right? Only in the short-term. Those who work harder succeed more, right? Only if you are willing to pay a massive personal price (and reduce your creativity).With wit and masterful summaries of big ideas and sci This book does what few other productivity/self-help books do--it's looks at both sides of the big claims, revealing the flaws in being too simplistic. And then it offers a path between the extremes that outperforms the stereotypes. It's better to be confident, to have high self-esteem, right? Only in the short-term. Those who work harder succeed more, right? Only if you are willing to pay a massive personal price (and reduce your creativity).With wit and masterful summaries of big ideas and scientific studies, this book provides more helpful insights per chapter than some books in their entirety. I loved reading it and learned way more than I expected.
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  • Russ
    June 25, 2017
    If you read one book this year, make it this one, unless you can't stand non-fiction. Barker has researched all those nagging questions that we have - should i work harder, how do I get ahead, should I get more sleep, should I be a pirate - and answered them with research. Science! He provides useful tools for improving any and all parts of your life and career. It is well written and asy to read. The science is referenced but never drags down the tone or readability. Definitely recommend if you If you read one book this year, make it this one, unless you can't stand non-fiction. Barker has researched all those nagging questions that we have - should i work harder, how do I get ahead, should I get more sleep, should I be a pirate - and answered them with research. Science! He provides useful tools for improving any and all parts of your life and career. It is well written and asy to read. The science is referenced but never drags down the tone or readability. Definitely recommend if you're struggling with career, relationship and/or purpose in life issues.
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  • Will Simpson
    May 25, 2017
    The beginning was a bit rough but soon I got into the swing of things. This book "knocked the ball over the fence". Using examples from the super diverse areas of pirates, patients who feel no fear, Ted Williams, math, science, psychology, a completely un-coachable Race Across America racer, and valedictorians, Eric grabbed my interest and pieced together his thesis. Success is largely a result of work. Usually obsessive work.
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  • Austin
    June 12, 2017
    I really like the premise the book started on. Taking a cliche saying we always hear like, "Nice guys finish last," and quoting dozens of studies to make sense if this true or not. It was really fascination. Over half way through the book, I felt it took a sudden turn into a self help/career advice book, quoting more anecdotal stories than actual studies. It still held my attention, but I was a little disappointed in the change. Overall I still liked the book and found it enjoyable.
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  • Rory James Gilfillan
    May 28, 2017
    AwesomeThis book is not only highly informative but also pulls the reader in using fascinating anecdotes. My wife shared a link with me regarding seven books that will change your life. It's too early to say whether or not this is one of them but it's a damn good book in the meantime
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  • Michele
    June 19, 2017
    Amazing book. I actually took notes that whole way through because it was just that helpful. It confirmed so many things I have always suspected but couldn't confirm. This is well researched and extremely well-written so that it isn't just helpful facts but readable. Great reading pace. I just wish I'd had this decades ago.
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  • AliceinWonderland
    June 18, 2017
    Some interesting tidbits and stories, but the "scientific studies" didn't go into much depth and there was nothing profound to be learned in any of the chapters. Fairly generic "motivational/success themed" book with an easy-to-read writing style.
  • Eric Dykstra
    June 6, 2017
    3.5 stars, but rounds up to 4 based on how well it wraps things together into directives in the end. Solid entry into the genre, and if you like Barker's writing style and are interested, it's worth a read.
  • Murray Sondergard
    June 9, 2017
    I'm getting tired of all these Malcolm Gladwell-type formula books. Each chapter - tell a story, then talk about some of the science and then quote some recent studies. Nothing terribly profound here, I'm afraid to say.
  • Ivan Taylor
    June 15, 2017
    This was an excellent book on science based findings. But with all science evidence there were no complete answers. Every recommendation came with a qualifier or a caveat. So in the end I am not sure if we can draw any conclusions from the science yet.
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  • Betty
    June 26, 2017
    An entertaining, empirically-backed book that puts common wisdom to the test. For instance: Is it who you know or what you know? Is believing in yourself that important to success? The style is engaging and the book a breeze to get through.
  • Jan Van Ryswyck
    June 15, 2017
    The handbook for every knowledge worker.
  • Mustata Bogdan
    June 29, 2017
    A solid book for the genre that is easy to read and has tons of good advice. But if you are looking for something more profound you need to search for some alternatives.
  • Manoj
    June 16, 2017
    Entertaining style of writing. Much of the stuff is known from this genre of books but the author puts it in a digestible format.
  • Me
    May 24, 2017
    I'm only one chapter in and I absolutely love this book.
  • Marc
    June 20, 2017
    Very entertaining summary of all social psychology. Who needs wisdom or philosophy after reading this?
  • Jolie Adam
    June 14, 2017
    I'm a big fan of the blog and a long-time reader. The book did not disappoint and I'm probably going to read it more than once.
  • Rick
    June 11, 2017
    Insightful and enjoyable
  • Colin McClean
    June 19, 2017
    I enjoyed the emphasis on thinking of success in a holistic fashion i.e. not solely focused on career, but viewing career as one part of a much bigger whole.
  • Sanniyus Suwita
    June 27, 2017
    A book applicable throughout a lifetimeThere are only few books I would pick up and reread because of how it would be useful in my life. This looks to be one of them.
  • Maximilian
    June 12, 2017
    A great book that makes you think about your definition of success and gives you smart advice on how to achieve it. Would highly recommend it to anyone.
  • Brandon
    May 29, 2017
    A worthwhile read. Analyzes a wide range of research and offers a helpful framework for approaching your personal goals.
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