Eric Barker – Barking Up The Wrong Tree

I recently hosted author and blogger Eric Barker, who has been featured in Time MagazineThe New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, to talk about his latest book Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.

His talk covers the following topics:

  • Filtered unfiltered leaders
  • Finding your own pond
  • Understanding the power of WOOP (Not whoop there it is)
  • Why if you’re a drug dealer, you should have a big network to stay out of jail
  • Why we choose confidence over expertise and how lower confidence helps us learn
  • The emperor of Mexico, who lived in San Francisco
  • What are intensifiers, and how can they benefit us
  • What we can learn from Glen Gould 
  • How to become a super connector
  • How is success influenced by timing and context
  • What four metrics should you monitor to keep your life on track
  • Great tips on mentoring and networking
  • And much more
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Topics covered in the talk:

[00:45] What does Eric do differently after researching a book on success?

[01:30] What are Filtered and unfiltered leaders? How do they impact their societies and organizations?

[03:30] How can you find the right pond (finding a place that values your strengths)? 

[04:30] Knowing when to quit? What is WOOP? Why dreams sap our energy.

[08:00] Story about a student who dropped out from Princeton to become a Kung Fu fighter in China. Difference between Chinese and american medical stretchers (yes you read that right)

[09:00] What are impacts of networks on our careers? What value does it add to the person and the company? Why drug dealers need bigger networks

[10:10] Quick tips for networking such as the five-minute favor.

[13:00] Importance of positive self-talk (We’re not talking about The Secret and what Dave Chappelle thinks of it)

[15:38] When confidence turns into self delusion . How it prevents us from learning. The importance of self compassion.

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[17:47] The ghost arm of WW2, deceiving others, and how people can read you.

[20:24] Patton as an unfiltered leader.

[21:01] How is success influenced by timing and context?

[23:30] Emperor norton the defender of Mexico

[25:10] Nassim Taleb wrote “Success isn’t being on top of a hierarchy, it is standing outside all hierarchies.” Given the focus on promotion within many corporate environments, how do you feel about this viewpoint?

[25:57] How a cartoonist celebrates his near death? Tim Kreider’s Stabbiversary

[27:12] How do you find the right ponds? What are intensifiers and how can they be positive and negative?

[29:35] Glenn Gould strangeness and greatness.

[30:48] Does quantity of production beat quality?

[32:10] How does Eric find his work life balance? Importance of personal definition of success, Not what the world says. Choosing the right problems. Single metrics fail.

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[32:40]Happy people measured their life by four metrics: Happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy. Problems with sequence fallacy.

[36:15] Ted Williams on focusing just on hitting. The faustian bargain.

[37:52] You mention in your book that overconfidence can be incredibly damaging to an organization. What are some tactics to recognize this in ourselves, and ways to change if it’s present?

[39:10] Importance of tracking your thoughts and testing them

[41:10] How can you become a super connector? 

[42:40] The importance of gratitude and happiness 

[44:30] Importance of following up on advice from mentors and why you shouldn’t ask someone to be your mentor. Show you do the work

[46:00] Why the best mentorships start as friendships and why you shouldn’t ask so

meone to be your mentor.

[47:30] The importance of double-opt-in introductions

[48:00] How can we make the best use of this book?

[54:00] How can we make the trade off between self-improvement and networking?

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