Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book Summary - Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book explained in key points
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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.

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    Barking Up the Wrong Tree
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    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.

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    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.

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    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:
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