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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

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  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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the preeminent owners manual for a life-well-lived

great book. will read again. insightful, well-organized, relevant, practical, actionable concepts and most importantly, an intensely inspiring narrative.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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? <br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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! <br/><br/>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. <br/><br/>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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Enlightened

I was excited to read this book. I really feel it will change my life. I just finished it for the first time and now I'm going to read it again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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great

practical, intellectual, good research, easy to follow, and addictive to listen to. I would definitely recommend this book to every parent.

3 of 3 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.

3 of 3 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.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A rare gem among self-help books

I read A LOT of books, and this is certainly one of the few books I'll read and read again! Extremely well written, beautifully narrated and above all gives you practical advice based on real science! I hardly give reviews for books, but felt compelled to write a good one for this! I hope you won't be disappointed with this book!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Lots of interesting stories.

I think this book is most useful for people who are younger. I'm 45 and things are too stable in my life to really take advantage of the advice. However the book has so many interesting stories in it that it's worth reading or listening to, and I learned quite a lot. I seem to be addicted to self help books, and am always looking for ways to improve. I would say the main point of the book is, 'know thyself' .

9 of 11 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!

2 of 2 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-18-17

The kind of book you would like to relisten

Had to keep rewinding as I found it a tad bit difficult to follow and connect the dots. Great book though! a must read/listen!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-16-17

Finally found a book with the science that matches the last 50years

It's not all science, it is about humans as we are, it's about success and importantly that we define it
A good read or listen in this case I would say if you read nothing else this year read this

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  • martin
  • 09-12-17

Thoroughly engaging and useful

A book written by a blogger that has spent 7 years delving into the science of success, with a huge emphasis on scientific research and interviews with leading minds on the subject. The premise of the book is to use evidence and story to detail what success looks like, how it is achieved and why it matters, debunking long held myths along the way.

I really enjoyed this book, the author has an evident sense of humour and a clear passion for his subject matter, the narrater is great and the content is enjoyable with plenty of relevant ideas.

The author delves into how success in school translates to success in life, where nice guys sit in the success ladder and how grit can turn illegal immigrants into to brain surgeons and failed high school swimmers into navy seals. The book is full of really great take aways and exercises that the reader can follow to push them down the right path. We are introduced to characters and stories as wide ranging as Albert Einstein to the pirates of the high seas, from Batman to Genghis Khan from buddhism to prison gangs and more. These are interesting and engaging and perhaps not in the way you would expect.

Eric is by no means pushing any agenda and the aim of the book is clearly translated into the text, he is neither forceful nor opinionated. The book also continuously reinforces the points made in previous chapters and often concludes with useful summaries and action points at the end of chapters.

Introducing games into life is a concept I've come across before and is nicely laid out in the book and the WOOP goal setting exercise is another that stands out.

I throughly recommend this book if your interested in good stories, hard science and useable strategies.

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  • jonny
  • 09-01-17

Fantastic Book

Really first rate book. Answered a lot of questions I'd asked myself but never took the time to think through throughly. Highly recommended!

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  • Karen L.
  • 07-13-17

Great blog to good book

I have been a regular reader of Eric barker's blog for a few years. This is a good transfer to book format, and narrated well, with new material. What I like is that this comes across as objective, good research, not someone pushing a particular agenda. Basically, if Eric barker is writing about it, I take notice. Also like the way he distillls his findings into actionable bullet points.

I got audio cheaply because I bought the print version. I am now off to read it and make notes, and I've literally just finished the audio! Check out his blog too.

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  • Denisa Graham
  • 07-02-17

Well written, witty, funny and balanced!

I was so impressed with this audio book. the content is so well chosen and the author constantly loops back to previous chapters and ideas giving an underlying sense of interconnectivity. The author also thoughtfully approaches any topics trying to show a complete and balanced view of reality. Delightful!

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  • Abigail Corfield
  • 06-30-17

Only 2 hours in and tremendously helpful already

If you could sum up Barking up the Wrong Tree in three words, what would they be?

Insightful<br/>Excellent<br/>Relevant

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Currently listened up to the section on creating games in your work and life. What a breakthrough I have had in bringing this into my life. I have since joined Habitica which uses this idea to turn everyday work into games. <br/><br/>Thanks Eric, you've already transformed my work life. Can't wait to hear the rest.

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  • Paul T. Thomas
  • 06-29-17

Excellent book

I read quite a few books with my job and for pleasure but this book is quite brilliant. Thoroughly enjoyed and absorbed.

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  • Marco
  • 06-24-17

Well narrated, creative examples

Really creative and easy to grasp examples. Awesomely narrated. Felt much better after giving this a "read"

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-17

what a book

was a pleasure listening to this book. it seemed like every time i listened to a new concept, it organically came up in discussion amongst my peers. obviously very relevant content

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  • ShelleyCS
  • 08-30-17

Great on Audio but...

This was a good book to listen to. The reader has a great voice and natural reading style with nice rise & fall in his voice to keep you interested.
The book is crammed so full of good material that I wish I had bought the hard copy or at least an ebook instead of the audible version. I'm going to have to go back, listen again and take lots of notes.
Maybe I will buy the book!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-28-17

Interesting book

Concepts like givers, matcher and takers clears a lot of things thats you find near you.

Appreciate Author efforts & research.

worth listening.

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  • Raghavendra
  • 08-16-17

Loved it.

A Well articulated guide to sorting ones mind out. Good follow on read to the book stealing fire.

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  • Mick Watkins
  • 06-22-17

Enjoyable and interesting

This was an enjoyable book with many great and interesting stories. It didn't however feel to have a concrete message that makes you come away from the book feeling you've really learnt something that could be put into practice. I still found the material very useful as a complement to other more concrete books such as 'Deep Work'.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful