Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Download Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker PDF book free online -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-Man

By 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.


At first glance, you may think that Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker is another book by some motivational speaker designed to convey the secrets of life and success. Don’t make that mistake. Yes, I know, just about everybody who’s going to tell you how to improve yourself today claims that they’ve based their recommendations on science or, in a burst of faddism, “neuroscience.” Most of them haven’t done enough homework.

Related: Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs

This book is different. If you’re serious about living a life that’s more like the one you want to live, you should read this book. Before I tell you why, let me tell you something about me so you can judge my recommendations.

I’m 71 years old, and for more than half a century, I’ve been working on making myself and my life better. I’ve learned a lot by getting it wrong and then adjusting, and I’ve learned a lot by reading and talking to other people and trying things. As a result, I’ve read a lot of books about how to do life better and this is one of the best. Early in the book, Eric Barker says this:

“You’ve been told about all the qualities and tactics that will help you get where you want to go, but there’s no real proof – and perhaps you’ve seen plenty of exceptions. That’s what we’re going to look at in this book.”

Related: 12 Power Principles for Success by Bob Proctor PDF

Barker keeps his promise in six focused chapters. Chapter 1 is about whether playing it safe produces success. Chapter 2 deals with whether nice guys finish last or first. In Chapter 3, he looks at the emerging science of resilience, starting with Navy SEAL training. I bet you’ve never thought of SEAL training as a game, but you might after you read this. Chapter 4 addresses the issue of whether success is based on what you know or who you know. Chapter 5 is all about attitude. Chapter 6 is a step back to review the big picture.

Barker makes another promise early in the book. He promises that in each chapter he’ll review both sides of the issue. He keeps that promise and it’s one of the reasons why this is a great and helpful book.

This book was valuable to me for several reasons. Here they are.

Barker does what many great business and self-help authors do. He states things that you could not have articulated before but seem obvious once he says them. One thing like that for me was the fact that the major reason people don’t get enough sleep is that they spend the time working. He also adds detail and insight to things I already knew.

I knew that turning challenges into games was a good thing and it’s a technique I’ve used for years, but I didn’t know much of the science behind it until I read this book. In fact, this book has the best short summary I’ve come across of how to use game elements to make your life and work experience better.

Barker reframed things that I already knew. I knew, for example, that the beginnings and endings of things are perceived as important. I used that to design speeches and training programs. After reading this book, I’m thinking about the same thing when I plan my day. There’s a bit of science about why your mood in the morning can affect your whole day. And more about ending the day right.

There are also things here that I’d already discovered for myself over the last several decades. Among them are the facts that naps can greatly improve performance and that relationships are the key to a satisfying life. There’s also the idea that saying “no” is a critical skill if you want to be as successful as possible. There’s material on why making progress every day and seeking out small wins is both a good strategy and emotionally satisfying.

There were also some things that were brand-new to me. I learned about self-compassion and it’s something that I will try to use in my life. Barker told me about the research that supports the idea that we don’t do the things that make us the happiest naturally. Instead, we do what’s easy. And he introduced me to the idea of intensifiers, traits that are mostly negative but can be huge performance enhancers in certain situations.

In addition to covering both sides of several important issues, Barker does a magnificent job of connecting the dots. As you move through the book you will find that things discussed in early chapters will make another visit in later chapters.

Toward the end of the book he puts together a framework for creating a successful life. I’ve used several of these frameworks in my life to evaluate how things were going and to get ideas for what improvements I should prioritize. Generally, they had more than four issues. His four are happiness (enjoying), achievement (winning), significance (counting to others), and legacy. A single word for legacy is extending, but I find his definition much more helpful: “Establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success.”

Bottom Line

Barking Up the Wrong Tree is a book which will help you do better at work and in life.

About the Author

Eric Barker is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree, which presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, TIME magazine, The Week, and Business Insider. He is a former Hollywood screenwriter, having worked on projects for Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Revolution Studios. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from Boston College and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA.


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