Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book Summary - Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro
00:00

Barking Up the Wrong Tree summary

Eric Barker

The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong

4.3 (129 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker is a self-help book that debunks conventional wisdom, and provides evidence-based insights for achieving success.
It explores the science behind success, and offers practical strategies for achieving it in both personal and professional life.

Table of Contents

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Playing by the rules will only get you so far; creativity is the real engine of success.

    Just about every parent wants his teenager to turn out well-adjusted, conscientious and intelligent, with the grades to prove it. After all, students with these traits often grow up to be reasonably successful. The problem is, an ability to succeed in an environment governed by rules, like a high school, won’t prepare a student to rise to the top of the real world.

    In fact, the number of valedictorians who transform the world is close to zero. There’s a Boston College study to demonstrate this. Researchers followed 81 high-school valedictorians from graduation onward and discovered that these incredibly high-achieving students were rarely visionary in their life pursuits. Rather than revolutionizing the system, they simply settled into it.

    How come?

    Well, good grades are a stellar predictor of a person’s ability to follow rules. However, while school has clear guidelines, life doesn’t; it’s an unpredictable roller-coaster ride with no clear path. In this environment, rule-addicted academics lose their advantage.

    But if valedictorians aren’t the most successful people in the world, then who are?

    Those who are obsessed; the unruly creatives who can adapt to every aspect of the outside world.

    These creatives are driven by passion rather than external rules, and commit themselves to their passion projects with almost religious virtuosity – a clear recipe for excellence.

    Just consider a sample of the richest people in the world. Are they conscientious rule followers? Absolutely not!

    Some 58 people on the Forbes 400 list either dropped out of college or never even went. Those 58 academic failures have more than double the average net worth of the other individuals on the 400, all of whom attended Ivy League schools.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    Key ideas in Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Barking Up the Wrong Tree about?

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree (2017) explores the divide between the extremely successful and the rest of the pack. These blinks draw on science, statistics and surprising anecdotes to explain the factors that determine success – and how almost anyone can attain it.

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree Review

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree (2017) by Eric Barker offers insights on success and happiness that challenge conventional wisdom. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its sharp wit and humor, the book presents thought-provoking ideas that prompt self-reflection and encourage personal growth.
    • Through a blend of scientific research and real-life stories, Barker offers practical strategies for finding a fulfilling career and building strong relationships.
    • By examining the lives of unconventional achievers and exploring the role of luck and perseverance, the book offers a fresh perspective on what it takes to succeed.

    Best quote from Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    Research has found that emotionally stable introverts make the best investment bankers.

    —Eric Barker
    example alt text

    Who should read Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    • Parents, coaches and teachers
    • Psychologists and those interested in the field
    • Anyone who wants to be more successful in life

    About the Author

    Eric Barker is a former screenwriter for Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox. His popular blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, offers scientific insights that help readers succeed. Barker’s work has been published in the New York Times, Wired, the Wall Street Journal and TIME magazine, for which he writes a regular column.

    Categories with Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    Book summaries like Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    30 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree FAQs 

    What is the main message of Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    The main message of Barking Up the Wrong Tree is that success often comes from unconventional paths and ideas.

    How long does it take to read Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    The reading time for Barking Up the Wrong Tree varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Barking Up the Wrong Tree a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Barking Up the Wrong Tree is worth reading for its insights on success and practical advice. It challenges conventional wisdom and provides unique perspectives.

    Who is the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    The author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree is Eric Barker.

    What to read after Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Barking Up the Wrong Tree, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Bounce by Matthew Syed
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • The Negativity Fast by Anthony Iannarino
    • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
    • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson
    • Making It All Work by David Allen
    • Never Get a “Real” Job by Scott Gerber