Friday 22 June 2018

Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Disclaimer: I did not choose this book because of the title. In fact, I was glad it was on my Kindle so that I could read anonymously.

Having adjusted my expectations down as a result, and mentally preparing for lots of "self-help" sensible advice, but thinking it may be diverting, I was pleasantly surprised at how many little pieces of advice resonated, and I found myself talking about it, and remembering quite a bit of what I'd read.

It helped that there were lots of entertaining stories - those used to more scientific studies and theoretical explanations will be frustrated at this, but I enjoy using stories to illustrate my points, and there was plenty of material here.

Some specific quotes that were particularly true in my reality were:

"To add insult to injury, it’s not just that jerks do well; being the downtrodden nice guy can kill you. Being powerless at the office—having little control or discretion over your work—is a bigger risk factor for coronary artery disease than obesity or high blood pressure. Feel underpaid? That increases risk for a heart attack too. Meanwhile, ass kissing results in a reduction of workplace stress, improving happiness as well as physical health.

Are you a nice guy or gal who is having trouble processing all this bad news? Maybe that’s because not having a high status position at the office contributes to a reduction in executive function. Want that in English? Feeling powerless actually makes you dumber."

Those of you who know me well, try not to fall off your chairs at that quote...I know, right?

And how about this one?

The lesson from cases of people both keeping and losing their jobs is that as long as you keep your boss or bosses happy, performance really does not matter that much and, by contrast, if you upset them, performance won’t save you."

Ok, I'll stop now.

For those of you who want to know more about what the book is about, it starts with what factors are good indicators of 'success' in life; does being a nice guy/gal work better than being a jerk? why your environment (and trust) matters so much, and then goes into the hard work vs talent debate. It also touches on what success means for you - what's on your resumé vs what's in your eulogy helps with that, and segues into gamification and when to quit.

It's very readable, and quick, chock full of motivation, and it appealed to me. The only problem is that title, and the word science in the subtitle.

4 stars

ISBN: 9780062416049

You may also enjoy Seeing What Others Don't by Gary Klein.

No comments: