How to Raise Successful People Book Summary - How to Raise Successful People Book explained in key points

How to Raise Successful People summary

Esther Wojcicki

Simple Lessons for Radical Results

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What is How to Raise Successful People about?

How to Raise Successful People (2019) explores the secrets of great parenting. Drawing on a lifetime of experience in getting the best out of young people, educator and mother Esther Wojcicki examines how you can raise your children to be not only successful, but kind and independent too.  

About the Author

Esther Wojcicki is a journalist, educator and the mother of two of Silicon Valley’s most successful female entrepreneurs, Susan and Anne Wojcicki. The creator of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program in California, Wojcicki’s pedagogical approaches have been adopted by schools around the world. In 2002, she was named California Teacher of the Year.

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    Becoming a better parent requires taking the best of your parents’ efforts and leaving the rest.

    When it comes to parenting, it’s a known fact that we tend to raise our children in the same way our parents raised us. Now, this might not sound so bad if you enjoyed a happy and contented childhood. But the reality is that many of us have experienced some sort of childhood trauma, or had parents who made serious mistakes.

    Growing up in an orthodox Jewish family in the 1950s, the author experienced her fair share of damaging parental behavior. At the tender age of five, her father told her that boys were more important than girls, and her upbringing reflected this attitude. While her younger brother Lee was showered with attention, toys and extra helpings at dinner, she watched from the sidelines, rarely given anything to play with. Sometimes she was even scolded for eating too much at mealtimes. Her parents’ religion informed their belief that a woman’s place was in the home, and at age eighteen, when she rejected marriage in favor of attending college, her parents cut her off financially.

    In spite of her difficult beginnings – or perhaps because of them – the author was determined to raise her own children in a spirit of support and acceptance. As part of this process, she took the time to reevaluate her own childhood experiences. By reassessing them with the benefit of an adult perspective, she thought, she could choose which parenting behaviors she wanted to emulate and which she really didn’t.

    Her father’s example, that of a distant and authoritarian figure, was something that she definitely wanted to avoid. Her mother, on the other hand, had been consistently warm and loving; the author has tried to replicate this and build an equally close relationship with her own daughters while rejecting the unyielding sexism expressed by her father.

    In an effort to avoid her father’s mistakes, she constantly taught her daughters to exert control over their own lives by making choices. She developed their decision-making abilities by asking them questions like, “Is it a banana or an orange that you want?” or “Do you want to paint a picture or play in the yard?” Questions like these might seem insignificant, but for the author, they represented an important break with the suffocating sexism of her own childhood.

    In the next blink, you'll discover one parenting habit you should definitely pass on to the next generation – the ability to trust.  

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    Who should read How to Raise Successful People

    • New parents looking to hit the ground running
    • Psychology buffs interested in child development
    • Managers looking for a new approach to motivate and empower their staff

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