Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book Summary By Eric Barker

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Barking Up the Wrong Tree, written by Eric Barker in 2017, provides an insightful overview on success.

It examines the differences between those who are extremely successful and the majority of other people.

Using a range of research data and entertaining anecdotes, readers gain an understanding of the impactful factors which shape success.

Through these revelations, it becomes clear that almost anyone can access this area through the right knowledge and focus.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree Book

Book Name: Barking Up the Wrong Tree (The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)

Author(s): Eric Barker

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 14 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Eric Barker is a highly successful author, who has gained recognition from multiple sources.

He is a former screenwriter for Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox, and for years has been crafting his popular blog, "Barking Up the Wrong Tree".

This collective of scientific insights have helped readers unlock new truths and paths in their success.

His work has been featured in some of the biggest newspapers and magazines around the world such as The New York Times, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, as well as Time magazine who also features Eric's regular column.

How To Achieve Success By Breaking The Rules: Learning From Real-Life Examples


If you want to really succeed professionally and socially, Barking Up the Wrong Tree can help you.

The book examines real-life success stories and delves into what it really takes to reach your life goals.

You’ll learn how to turn your weaknesses into strengths, why college dropouts have twice the wealth of those with degrees, and why nice guys really do finish first.

The key is breaking the rules society has set out for us: focus on what you’re passionate about, strive towards long-term goals, and be confident in what you do.

With all this in mind, you will be able to reach heights both professionally and socially that seemed unattainable before reading this book.

The Secret To Success: Forget Following The Rules And Follow Your Passion Instead

When it comes to success in life, playing by the rules will only get you so far.

That’s because no matter how well-adjusted, conscientious and intelligent a student is, they won’t be prepared to reach the level of success they’re striving for unless they get creative too.

A Boston College study showed that of 81 valedictorians followed after graduation, not many of them were actually able to revolutionize their fields.

The reason for this is that good grades really only demonstrate how well someone follows rules – not how well they’ll do out in the real world when there are no clear guidelines!

And yet it’s the people outside of academia who are doing the most successful things – those who become obsessed with their passions, and commit themselves totally to their projects with a fanatical drive that separates them from everyone else.

People like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, two of the wealthiest men in the world today, both dropped out or decided against going to college.

Those 58 academic ‘failures’ have double the net worth compared to those who pursued an Ivy League education or similar!

Being Nice Can Lead To Success, Despite What You May Think


Contrary to popular belief, nice guys aren’t always destined for the back of the line.

In fact, research has revealed that nice guys are as likely to finish first as they are to finish last.

Take a study by the Harvard Business Review which found that men who were low on the ‘agreeableness’ scale made up to $10,000 more per year than those who were very affable.

Not only that, but kind and hardworking employees often ended up with worse performance reviews than their lazier peers who simply flattered their bosses.

Likewise, Wharton School professor Adam Grant found that ‘givers’, or people who help others, were both overrepresented at the top and bottom of success metrics.

This means that helpful people can rise quickly in success even if they’re taken advantage of by ‘takers’, or those who selfishly try to get more while giving less.

So while bad people don’t necessarily get away with everything – just look at Michael Swango being caught and sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison – it pays off to be nice too!

The Power Of Stories: How Positive Thinking, Meaningful Purpose, And Grit Can Help Us Survive Difficult Times

When it comes to difficult situations, stories we tell ourselves make a tremendous difference.

Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, better known as Dr.

Q., knows this firsthand, having gone from living in absolute poverty to becoming one of the top brain surgeons in the world.

He exemplifies how stories we tell ourselves can empower us and help us persevere through tough times.

Studies have found that our inner dialogue consists of around 300 to 1000 words per minute, making up the stories that shape our lives every single day.

These words can be either positive or negative; when they are positive they build up resilience, while negative thoughts can keep us down.

Militaries across the world have embraced this concept and adapted it for their training methods; post 9/11, US Navy SEALS began teaching candidates to use positive self-talk before enduring the grueling “Hell Week,” and saw pass rates rise by nearly 10 percent as a result!

Can You Succeed Without Being Extroverted? The Benefits Of Introverts In The Working World

It’s no secret that extroverts tend to have larger social networks, typically leading to greater success in their careers.

A study has even revealed that the most popular 20% of people in a high school class went on to earn 10% more than the least popular 20%.

Furthermore, bad habits associated with extroverts, such as drinking alcohol, often lead to more money earned—up to 10% more compared to sober individuals.

However, introverts are often better equipped when it comes to becoming experts.

Writer and Olympic medalist David Hemery conducted research which showed that 89% of top athletes identify as being introverts.

Likewise, one needs 10,000 hours of practice to acquire expertise—network-building activities take away from this time and can be distracting for extroverts.

In contrast, introverts don’t face such impediments and can focus wholly on their task at hand.

The Power Of Confidence: It Can Make Or Break Your Chances Of Success

Power Of Confidence

It’s no secret that confidence is the key to success.

Confident people are more likely to get promotions, be successful, and even earn higher wages than their less confident counterparts.

But it’s also important to remember that too much confidence can have serious consequences.

Evidence shows that having too much power and being overly confident can lead to a decrease in empathy and an increase in selfishness and dishonesty.

When people are feeling powerful, they are more likely to make decisions that could hurt individuals but may ultimately be for the greater good, such as sending troops into battle, or cheating on a spouse due to reduced concern over potential consequences.

It’s clear from research that confidence is essential for success but it’s important not to let it blind you from making decisions which harm others.

Too much of it could cloud judgment and lead people down a dark path of self-destruction.

Hard Work And Going Beyond Your Limits Is Key To Success

It’s no secret that success takes hard work and dedication.

But what many people don’t necessarily realize is that the key to achieving success lies in consistently working long hours, while also pushing themselves beyond their limits.

This idea is echoed by a Harvard study which discovered that the most successful managers in various industries put in over 60 hours of work per week.

There is also evidence to suggest that the top 10 percent of employees in any complex professional line of work are 80 percent more productive than their colleagues, and 700 percent more productive than those within the bottom 10 percent.

Furthermore, an influential study by Benjamin Bloom discovered that one of the greatest advantages of mentorship across several disciplines was not insider knowledge or emotional support, but rather the presence of a figure whose expectations pushed mentees beyond their own walls.

This highlights just how important it is to constantly strive for improvement with every task completed.

Wrap Up

Barking Up the Wrong Tree effectively conveys the idea that when it comes to success, you don’t have to be the smartest or most talented — hard work, motivation and confidence go a long way in achieving success.

To back up this claim, actionable advice is also given for readers to take advantage of – take the time to make other people happy.

It turns out that those with happy friends are 15% more likely to be happy themselves too!

A small favor done out of kindness can end up increasing your own happiness when it boomerangs back at you.

So why not give it a try?

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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