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Barking up the Wrong Tree

The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
Narrated by: Roger Wayne
Length: 9 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,553 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Eric Barker (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unbelievable wisdom. I just wish I were the author

Simply put: this is the most useful audiobook I've had the luck stumble upon and listen to. Through a very long list of totally disparate stories, Eric Barker made me realize that for many decades (I'm 51 now), I've chased many wrong objectives thinking that these would lead to the "success" (whatever that is). This is not a self help book and the lessons here should not be taken lightly. This is serious stuff and the best thing is that the 16-minute final chapter sums it all up. As always, Roger Wayne does a phenomenal job in narrating.

46 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael0310
  • FLIPPIN, ARKANSAS, United States
  • 12-12-17

Nothing new here

I guess I can’t necessarily blame the author for this, but this book had no new information for me. If you’re familiar with the following researchers/authors then you’ll likely have a similar experience:

- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow, Happiness, Motivation) referenced a lot
- Susan Cain (Quiet, introversion vs. extroversion)
- Dan Ariely (Psychology and Behavioral Economics)

The narrator was very good, easy to listen to.

122 of 132 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Poorly written

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes but with the caveat that it reads more like a mediocre self-help book than an interesting collection of anecdotes about the science of success.

What could Eric Barker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

He needs to omit the words "research shows" or "studies have shown" from his vocabulary entirely. If you're going to talk about research, describe a study or paraphrase what specific (named) researchers have said. Don't insult their work by degrading it down to the infomercial one-liner, "studies have shown". By Doing this he discredits many of his points since I don't know if he's talking about peer reviewed research or, you know, "research".

Was Barking up the Wrong Tree worth the listening time?

There are a few really interesting points, a few quotes worth hearing, and a few takeaways that I thought were really helpful. I think it's worth the listen if you're willing to get past the groan-worthy moments where he drones on about a point he made 3 times in the last 15 minutes. The takeaways are worth while, though.

118 of 132 people found this review helpful

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Excellent presentation of cognitive research

Would you consider the audio edition of Barking up the Wrong Tree to be better than the print version?

I'll never believe audio is better than print but this audio is well read and a great way to learn on the move. Because the content is so "meaty" I have purchased the print version as well to digest with my eyes and mark up.

What about Roger Wayne’s performance did you like?

The reader's voice has the perfect pitch and cadence for this type of book. Well Read!

55 of 62 people found this review helpful

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great book but

like many other books in this sphere of influence it starts strong has one or two nuggets of insight then fades in the last half to three quarters of the book. sometimes shorter and more concise is better rather than padding to fill space. that said the nuggets within are worth the read.

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Amazing research and case studies!

When I first saw this book, I thought it would be a self help book with ideas for how to get success for yourself. This book is more of a book of facts and you making your own assessment which is fine but just not what I thought I was getting.

The real life case stories and tests are incredibly fascinating and this book was well worth the read. Only downside is that it might not expecting offer what you were expecting.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Teaching to live a life, but how?

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book is a collection of curious facts and anecdotes, so anyone interested in stories of success might enjoy it more. I found it contradictory and lacking depth. Some parts of the book made me angry.

What could Eric Barker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Be a different person?

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

As I have already said, it is full of interesting stories and renderings of exciting experiments. This is the best part of the book and, in my opinion, the only part making it worth reading/listening. Ah, the performance as well. The performance is great.

Any additional comments?

Why was I angry?

First, when I heard about the distinction between Dandelions and Orchids, I decided I would stop listening to it right away, since it stopped being useful for me. You see, if you're a sensitive person (an orchid) who never had enough support in your childhood and whose parenting was so-so or just bad, you can only become an alcoholic, a drug-addict or some other miserable burdensome member of society. You can only bloom (much better than resilient dandelions) if you had perfect parents devoted to your talent.

The second maddening point concerned Moldova. OK. The level of trust between people in Moldova (and many other post-Soviet countries) is very low, which makes it impossible to be happy or reach any real lasting success there. Many times the author repeats: If you don't do this or If you do that, where will you find yourself? Right! Moldova! And he gives wonderful advice: "Keep as far away from Moldova as you can, both literally and figuratively!" And if you happen to be living there (I don't, but I live in a similar country)? Die!

Third. The division into givers, takers and matchers is described in such a way as if these styles of communication depend on a choice of a person. Be a giver but not to the extreme, says the author. Spend two hours a week on volunteering, but not more, or else you will exhaust yourself. Goodness. It sounds like sheer calculation. Has he ever heard about childhood trauma and other stuff leading to the experience of deficit in people (the desire to take)? Has he heard about lack of love, which incapacitates children, depriving them of the ability to love (=give unconditionally) in the future?In general, this book does not appeal to me, since it is shallow and contradictory. To achieve success (in the worst sense of this word), on the one hand you have to have the right upbringing and the right place of birth (not Moldova or the like), and on the other hand your background doesn't matter, since you can consciously choose whether to give (moderately) or to take.

If I had listened the book to the end, I am sure I would have found more to complain of, but I am returning it.

181 of 214 people found this review helpful

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Fun easy listen

Cool topics great take aways and a fun easy listen. Why should i have to type 15 words...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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It's OK

I wanted to really like this book and for the most I did. The content is great but seems to be arranged in some random order (at least for me). This made it harder to listen to in stages. Perhaps if you sit through it in one or two sittings then it may work better. I usually spent 20-30 mins on it at a time. The narration is fine. You will no doubt find useful ideas and concepts to try out. It wasn't a game changer for me. That is OK, it's still a good book and worth a listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Comprehensive update to the science of success

Do you have alignment between your career and your personality? Are you working too hard? Are you giving up too soon?

Eric Barker's book is a great resource for answering that most nagging question of "is this the right path for me?"

You may not discover your calling overnight but he will give you resources to take a holistic look at your life and help you decide for yourself if you're banging your head against the wall or if you should press on, and how.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • JedHoll
  • 05-21-17

Enjoyable book

A very enjoyable listen. A collection of interesting observations. Not perhaps as controversial in its assertions as the title suggests. Would very much recommend.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevebrucehk
  • 02-01-19

Lots of very useful data in this book

Lot's of data in this book that challenges a lot of conventional thinking on may topics

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 11-04-19

A great personal development book with real character and fun

Full of some great stories and very good advice. This book doesn’t take itself too seriously which is a good thing. That doesn’t mean it isn’t to be taken seriously it’s just written in a very fun and unique way which makes it less pretentious than a lot of these type of books. Very highly recommended

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  • Dels
  • 09-20-19

Engaging from start to finish

Thoroughly interesting and engaging book - loved it! Will now seek to develop more self compassion and nurture friendships!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-19

Okay but not great

Its okay but the author claims way too many things, i think he should’ve been more concise and onto the point

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Rooney
  • 01-11-19

Amazing book, best I have ever listened to.

Amazing book, best I have ever listened to, you won’t be disappointed, I can see me listening again in the future.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. L. R. Samsworth
  • 12-04-18

Barky Bark Bark.

For some time I've been a fan of the author's blog so I thought I'd give his book a go. I have enjoyed the book and found it insightful but it did read much like an everyday self help book rather than in the style of the blog (Barking up the Wrong Tree).

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  • Don Vituko
  • 10-18-18

Amazing book

I am a big fan of psychology, self help, success, copywriting and self development books in general. I stumbled on this book by accident to be honest - i was listening to other book called “subtile art of not giving a f..k”, i really liked the book and the narrator. It suited so well that I decided to search for other books narrated by Roger Wayne and this book came on search. It turned out to be one of the bests combinations again. Brilliant book, narrated brilliantly. It made me think, showed different prospectives of life.
Food for brain and pleasure for my ears 😀

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  • Amir Hussain
  • 09-11-18

one of the best books I have read. A brilliant boo

loved this book probably one of the best books . Good insight into how life is lived.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carolyn Singer
  • 08-28-18

Thoroughly enjoyable

A great book just to listen to and not strategy book to run your life by.

Narrator was good too and I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable listening on a long journey.

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  • Bren
  • 06-04-17

Awesome. Simple practical advice

Fantastic book. Goes through many different elements of success as a whole, job career and relationships. Provides practical advice that you can use with examples. Wish it was longer because it was well written too

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon Winkler
  • 05-30-17

Thought provoking and generously insightful

Filled with fascinating details and immediately practical advice. Thank-you to the author and all collaborators.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Linus Francis
  • 06-22-17

You're not Batman

Or rather in my case, I'm not some one like Casey Nicetat- Sleep 4 hrs a day, make 20 mil. and be super famous. This book game me a reality check, but also motivated me by teaching me personal forgiveness, telling me about the success that grit and smart work(rather than hard work) brings about, why intelligence and a young age doesn't determine success and happiness later on in life and balance between extrovertnes and introvertnes. I would definitely recommend this book to someone like myself- who has poisoned their brain with unrealistic expectations and stupid motivational quotes and videos. But who also has big dreams.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • broni McSweeney
  • 10-13-19

Brilliant.

Loved it. Great stories full of fascinating insights. Moves at a great pace. Easy voice to listen to.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe C
  • 07-03-19

Great overall but contractictory and confusing

No summary, slightly confusing regarding the actual message supposed to be received by the reader.

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  • Kel
  • 04-01-19

Entertaining and informative

this is one of the better books I've read. it was interesting and entertaining from start to finish. I highly recommend it.

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  • Ue
  • 11-21-18

EVEN Better Than His Blog!

I’ve been reading - and forwarding - the “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” blog for years and have finally listened to the book which, I hate to admit, has been on my to-do list for a while. And I’m so glad I did because now I don’t have a to-do list anymore!!!
I can’t stop talking about all the fascinating things that I’ve heard in this book and I am driving my family nuts. I can’t recommend it enough - you won’t be able to turn it off either.

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  • Usagi
  • 08-13-18

Great and informative book.

The best thing about the book is that each segment and topic is easily digestible. The anecdotal style of reporting makes it so easy to listen and understand.

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  • Eugenio Carvajal
  • 07-08-18

Fantastic book

Always enjoy a book that makes me see or think the world in a different way.
This is this kind of book.
In a similar style that The Sutle Art of Not Giving a F***, the book shows us to focus what's really important in our lives in a very creative way of telling there are always two sides of a story.
Very entertaining and insightful that only gets better with each chapter.

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  • Amy Hopper
  • 05-17-18

A must read

This book is insightful, funny and 100% what the modern person needs to hear. Want some practical advice toward success? This is the book for you. I can’t wait to listen to it again.