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Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
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"There's a reason that some of the smartest people I know read Eric Barker religiously. This book is a long time coming and I am glad it's here." (Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is The Way and Ego is the Enemy)
“BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE is a masterpiece. Whether you are a connoisseur of self-help books, or despise them, you won’t be able to resist this recipe for living a better life.” (Robert Sutton, Stanford Professor and bestselling author of The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt)
“In this compulsively readable, brilliant kaleidoscope BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, Barker is your rollicking guide through the science of success. You’ll discover what pirates and inmates can teach us about honesty and generosity, how to network like the world’s greatest mathematician, and much, much more. (Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Drive and To Sell is Human)
“Delightfully puckish, evidence-backed and full of insight, this book answers questions about success that have puzzled us for far too long.” (Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take)
“This book is compelling because Barker’s irreverence is so consistently on-target, relentlessly puncturing the wisdom balloons that most need bursting.” (Robert B. Cialdini ,New York Times bestselling author of Influence and Pre-Suasion) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
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 important—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.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
Like Dale Carnegie, Eric Barker uses so many stories, book references and great quotations to make his points across. 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.
It covers an excellent range of good research. The comments about the research is helpful and lends itself as a ready reference book. The chapters are organised in a meaningful way, and the range covered is like a "resource book" when one needs ideas or even starter answers to self personal issues.
To be enjoyed. an excellent gift book. It refers to good research as a base, rather than quick-fix soppy ideas to improve one's life with.
The stories and subject matter are researched, with the appropriate notes if that's your thing. I thought the book did a good job exploring each side of the topic of each chapter and when and why they either work or don't. Finally, each chapter ends in a summary and suggestions, as well as the epilogue which summarizes the book. Many of the findings in the book are not new, but the author's research provides confirmation and context on why they are effective.
In terms of downsides, the chapters are very long and my personal preference would have been to make each topic a part with subsequent smaller chapters to make the content easier to digest.
Again, a highly recommended read.