The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You know About Success is (Mostly) Wrong

We all seek to be more successful and the study of successful people can give us clues to a path for our own success. Erick Barker shines light down the path by debunking many of the myths about success. He does this by sharing stories of success and then breaking them down with science and research.

Eric’s story telling skills were honed as a Hollywood screenwriter, having worked on projects for Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Revolution Studios. His skills as a researcher were developed as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and he earned an MBA from Boston College and Master of Fine Arts from UCLA. There’s some crazy stuff going on in this guy’s head!

Barker makes anchors the purpose of the book when he writes “You’ve been told about all the qualities and tactics that will help you get where you want to go, but there’s no real proof – and perhaps you’ve seen plenty of exceptions. That’s what we’re going to look at in this book.”

There are six purposeful chapters in the book: Chapter 1 is about whether playing it safe produces success. Chapter 2 discusses whether nice guys finish last or first. Chapter 3 deals with resilience by sharing insight into Navy SEAL training. Chapter 4 dissects the issue of whether success is based on what you know or who you know. Chapter 5 is attitude. And Chapter 6 is an overview of the big picture so that you can build your own success strategy.

What makes this book truly great is more than the impact of the stories, it’s that each story is examined from multiple perspectives and then research and brain science is applied to reach the object lesson. The why behind each success point is made clear. And with clarity comes the power to implement.

Among the most compelling of questions posed by Barker:

  • Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires
  • Whether nice guys really do finish last
  • Why the best lessons about cooperation come from gang members, pirates and serial killers
  • 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

“Barking Up the Wrong Tree” reads like a blend of Gary Keller’s “the ONE Thing” and “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner!

It’s a fun fast read with value on every page.