10 Lessons From Barking Up The Wrong Tree 2023 (Self Read)

These lessons will help you to achieve more…!

Have you ever put in a lot of effort towards a goal, only to find out that you were going in the wrong direction?

It’s a frustrating experience that many of us have had. But what if we could learn from these missteps and avoid making the same mistakes in the future?

That’s where the book “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker comes in. In this book, Barker explores why some people succeed while others fail, and what we can learn from those who have gone down the wrong path. 

Lessons from Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Here are 10 lessons from “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” Books.

1. Success requires taking Risks

Eric Barker argues that taking calculated risks is an important part of achieving success. This means being willing to step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and take on challenges that may seem daunting at first. 

Barker cites the example of Sara Blakely, who founded the company Spanx despite having no background in fashion or business. Blakely took a risk by investing her own savings into the company and faced numerous setbacks and rejections along the way. 

However, her perseverance and willingness to take risks ultimately paid off, and Spanx became a multi-billion dollar company.

2. Mindset Matters

Eric Barker argues that our mindset can have a significant impact on our success. This means cultivating a growth mindset, or the belief that our abilities and skills can be developed through hard work and effort. 

By contrast, a fixed mindset, or the belief that our abilities are innate and unchangeable, can limit our potential for growth and success. Barker cites the example of Carol Dweck, a psychologist who has researched the impact of mindset on success. 

Dweck found that people with a growth mindset are more likely to achieve their goals, persist through challenges, and bounce back from setbacks.

3. Success is not just about Individual Achievement

Eric Barker argues that success is often a collective effort, and it’s important to recognize the role that others play in our achievements. This means building strong relationships, collaborating with others, and recognizing the contributions of those around us. 

Barker cites the example of the Pixar animation studio, which has achieved tremendous success by creating a culture of collaboration and teamwork. 

By valuing the contributions of every member of the team and encouraging open communication, Pixar has been able to create some of the most beloved films of all time.

4. Being a generalist can be an advantage 

While specialization can be valuable in certain fields, Eric Barker argues that in today’s fast-changing world, being a generalist can be an advantage. 

This is because generalists can bring a variety of skills and perspectives to the table, allowing them to adapt to changing circumstances more easily. 

Barker cites the example of Benjamin Franklin, who was a printer, writer, inventor, diplomat, and more. Franklin’s diverse interests and skills allowed him to make important contributions in many different areas.

5. Sometimes the Best Strategy is to Quit 

While perseverance is often seen as a key trait of successful people, Eric Barker argues that there are times when it’s better to quit and move on to something else. This is particularly true when the goal is no longer aligned with your values or interests. 

Barker cites the example of Jim Carrey, who dropped out of high school to pursue his passion for comedy. While dropping out of school might seem like a risky move, it allowed Carrey to focus on what he loved and eventually become a successful actor and comedian.

6. Success is Often About Who You Know

Networking can be critical to success, and Eric Barker argues that it’s important to focus on building strong relationships with the right people. 

This means seeking out mentors, finding a community of like-minded people, and investing time and effort into building strong connections. Barker cites research showing that people who have strong social ties are more likely to be successful in their careers. 

For example, a study of MBA graduates found that those who had strong social networks were more likely to have high-paying jobs and be satisfied with their careers.

7. The Power of Grit and Perseverance 

Grit, or the ability to persevere in the face of challenges, is a key predictor of success, according to Eric Barker. This means being willing to work hard, persist through setbacks, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. 

Barker cites the example of Angela Duckworth, who found that grit was a better predictor of success than IQ or talent. Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” and argues that it can be developed through practice and effort. 

8. Happiness is Not Always the Key to Success

While we often assume that success will make us happy, Eric Barker argues that this is not always the case. In fact, he suggests that happiness can sometimes be a hindrance to success, as it can make us complacent and less motivated to take risks. 

Barker cites research showing that people who are slightly dissatisfied with their current situation are often more motivated to achieve their goals than those who are very happy with their lives. 

This is because dissatisfaction can create a sense of urgency and push us to take action.

9. Embrace Failure 

Failure is often seen as a negative thing, but Eric Barker argues that it’s actually an important part of the learning process. This means being willing to take risks, try new things, and learn from our mistakes. 

Barker cites examples of successful people who have failed many times before finally achieving their goals, such as Thomas Edison, who famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

Embracing failure means reframing it as a learning opportunity and using it to grow and improve.

10. It’s Important to Find Your Own Path 

Success is not one-size-fits-all, and Eric Barker argues that it’s important to find your own path rather than trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps. This means identifying your own strengths, interests, and values and using them to create a unique path to success. 

Barker cites the example of Steve Jobs, who dropped out of college and followed his own interests in technology and design to create Apple, one of the most successful companies in history. 

By following his own path, Jobs was able to achieve incredible success and make a lasting impact on the world.


The lessons from Eric Barker’s “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” provide valuable insights into the human condition and how we can improve our lives. 

By being more self-aware and taking a more strategic approach to our goals, we can avoid the traps and pitfalls that hold us back. As we navigate through life, we should keep these 10 lessons in mind and use them as guideposts on our journey.


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