book hack
Barking up the Wrong TreeBy Eric Barker

In a Nutshell

Barking Up The Wrong Tree turns standard success advice on its head by looking at both sides of many common arguments, like confidence, extroversion, or being nice, concluding it's really other factors that decide if we win, and we control more of them than we think.

Favorite quote

We spend too much time trying to be 'good' when good is often merely average. To be great, we must be different. More often being the best means just being the best version of you.


Self-deprecating humor is a great way to start pretty much anything: a talk, a Youtube video, a relationship, a standup comedy routine, and, in case of today's author, even a blog. When Eric Barker studied Japanese in college, he learned on the first day of class that his last name means "idiot." What most would've taken as offense, he took as the perfect icebreaker. So today, after almost a decade of blogging, the URL of his blog still reads "I am an idiot" in Japanese: bakadesuyo.

Eric's writing is rooted in the Stoic principle to learn more about yourself as long as you live. Hence, much of his posts are dedicated to making scientific research accessible to the general public in ways that balance both sides of an issue, like confidence, motivation, extroversion.

One value we can already deduct from Eric's behavior is patience. He waited until 2017, eight years, to publish his first book, Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

  1. 1.
    How good your grades are only predicts one of your abilities, and it’s not one that matters in the real world
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