Barking up the wrong tree by Eric Barker

Barking up the wrong tree: Yorkshire Powerhouse Score 7/10

The emphasis of the book is on how generosity propels us forward and how things done with positivity and real intent are much more successful than constantly trying to get an edge.

Who will gain the most from reading this book?

Business people trying to find their style or reappraise their current style. Am I going to be generous and giving with knowledge and time or will I be ruthless, go-getting and trample on those in the way?

Core Content

The author has a website by the same name through which he blogs and dispenses short pieces of life and career advice. There was a concern that the book would just be a repeat of all the blogs constructed into a book, but that concern was not proven out. The light, slightly humorous style continues but the extensive research turns this into a serious and proactive read.

The book kicks off by discussing the type of people who become outrageously successful; it is no surprise that these people are usually outsiders from conventional routes and society. Many of the leaders of modern, rapidly growing businesses or empires are drop outs from mainstream education, but the research also shows that for one that reaches the top, there are extremely high numbers who populate the bottom strata of earnings and lifestyle.

By contrast those with very high academic records, and exemplary career track records, usually end up in the third quartile but never break out to outstanding success, their conformity limits them.

Once through this interesting start there are very insightful references to experiments such as the “prisoner’s dilemma” and a focus on those of us who are currently living a more normal life. The emphasis of the book is on how generosity propels us forward and how things done with positivity and real intent are much more successful than constantly trying to get an edge.

A vivid example of this approach is the take on networking, don’t network to gain short term advantage, network to make friends. Real friends will always help when you need it but you probably have to show generosity to help build the friendship.

The author even goes to a macro level on his research, equating high levels of corruption and power grabbing in countries such as Moldova with under-performance in economic terms. This contrasting with societies where ‘working for the communal greater good’ brings prosperity above the normal level.

There are sections on having “grit”; how to deploy it and when to know ‘when’ to give up.

The sections on work life balance and leaving a legacy as opposed to riches appear a little tired and in fact, throughout the book one is left wondering if you haven’t read or heard many of the passages before in a different context.

Could a Yorkshire perspective improve this book?

The book is 266 pages, it could have created the same effect in half the space and time.

Review Takeaway:

Many of the traits of over achievers are not particularly enviable and are shared with a large cohort of underachievers. The best of the rest are generous of spirit, knowledge and time. Book Reviews, Yorkshire Powerhouse

Click here for a quick link to purchase Barking up the Wrong Tree from Amazon

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