The Surprising Science Behind Success That Blew My Mind

What makes a successful life? Most of us were told about the qualities and tactics that will help us live it but  there is no real proof and have seen exceptions to it.

Author Eric Barker in Barking Up the Wrong Tree explores it and concludes that much of what we were told that makes a successful life (work hard, don’t quit) is wrong.

This book explores these questions and sayings by presenting the pros and cons followed by takeaways. It is backed with deep scientific research and would unearth some facts you’d be glad to know.

The content is engaging, gripping, intriguing, thought-provoking and valuable. It is sometimes funny, and filled with surprises now and then. It is well explained, presented, and structured.

A quote in the reference section said: a man will turn over half a library to make one book. It looks like Eric has done just that.

Likewise, it has a startling depth. To illustrate, in chapter three, that tackles grit vs quit, he starts with grit and says that it comes from stories we tell ourselves. It follows through by answering a series of questions like how stories work and how to find yours and finally concludes by talking about grit that comes from games. Yes, playing games.

He starts off quitting with discussing  the benefits of it and says that grit and quit aren’t the same things, then goes on to talk about being a flake and how this can be another powerful secret to success and finally concludes this chapter by answering an important question, “how do you know when you quit at something?” This chapter had the most impact on me. Plus, it’s the lengthiest. 

Some of my learning and realizations from this chapter are:

1.       Meaning keeps us going when reality says quit. Often our stories are stronger than us and if they’re meaningful ones, they can carry us through tough times.

2.       We don’t like to think about limits, but we all have them.

3.      Everything in life is a trade-off. Choosing to do one thing, means not doing something else.

The final chapter explores the question ‘Can we have fun and be successful or is that just a pipe dream?’ (work-life balance) The timing couldn’t be perfect. This was my reading experience –  “in just 10 pages I knew I wasn’t going to be an obsessive worker. It was extremely shocking, I reacted saying – damn shit… are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. I’m never going to do this.”  It was just the tip of the iceberg.

I highly appreciate the writer for this book. It will not only mess up everything you know about success but also give you a clearer perspective and takeaways from it. It is in my reread criteria.

This book is one hundred percent worth your time. Besides, it’s something you must know. I recommend you to read this eye opener.

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