Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Book Notes

20: Barking up the Wrong THREE #

Sun’s up WHAT’S UP. Welcome to ANOTHER episode of Active Recall. We tried a third time with Barking Up the Wrong Tree. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s better than our first and second attempt.

  • I recorded in Washington again. Just some podcast equipment nerdery: I used a Zoom H1 to record but ended up just using the backup audio with a stock Earpod headset.
  • Four metrics to measure your life with: happiness, achievement, significance, and legacy. We talked about this last week also.
  • We talk about how life achievements relate to achievements in game. It’s important to celebrate the small badges along the way and not just completing the game. There is no peak achievement that keeps you happy for the rest of your lifetime.
  • We are all significant. You don’t have to count to millions of people. It’s more important to count to the people you care about.
  • Legacy. A few years ago my cousin said “You’re my hero”. I’d love to someday earn that title but it means a lot to know that I’m setting a good example for someone I care about.
  • Introverts and extroverts. One of us is an introvert and the other is an extrovert. Can you guess who’s who? (Here’s a clue: I’m writing this on my couch and it isn’t the first thing I wrote on my couch today. And I consider this a good day.)
  • WNGF: Winnable, novel challenges, goals, and feedback. It’s a good idea to give your work some elements from good games. Wally talks about how he’s turned some elements of his job into a game.
  • Grit or quit. Wally pulled a quiz from the book. We get closer to whether I should continue with writing or quit writing.
  • Toronto ra..coons?
  • WOOP: Wish, outcome, obstacle, plan. Wish: be an awesome writer. Outcome: I stand in the airport and admire my book sitting in like a Hudson News or whatever then get on the first class seat and read my book in front of the peasants walking by while sipping the complimentary champagne. Obstacle: I am a bad writer. Plan: I’ll become a better writer.

We’re gritting along and adding an episode at a time. Thanks for checking this out!

19: Barking up the Wrong Tree, Again! #

We tried having Barking Up The Wrong Tree as our book of the week again because we weren’t satisfied with our first attempt. Our hunch was that we’ve got a few months of experience podcasting so we’d do a better job this time around.

Our hunch was wrong.

Still, we showed up and it’s an episode. Here’s what we discussed in the episode.

  • Spider-Man and his alien symbiote suit. Sometimes we mess up work/life balance and end up with work being more like an alien symbiote suit. It drains you.
  • Four metrics to have a successful life: happiness, achievement, significance, legacy. Perfectly balancing these metrics probably isn’t possible. It’s good to keep an eye on which ones you’re furthest behind on.
  • This podcast will be the entirety of our legacy. Okay, maybe not. But it will be some part of it. It’s part of why I consider this podcast a success even if we aren’t nailing the more traditional metrics of podcast success (e.g. actual listeners, interesting episodes). By next year, we’ll have 40+ hours of audio that we can pass on and bore future generations with. What’s more successful than that?
  • The top 0.1% in many fields are available to see online. Through the internet, top performers are more accessible than they were at any time in history. Don’t measure your success against them. Or at least don’t base your happiness on that comparison. If you’re inspired by it, good. If you’re depressed by it, stop.
  • Einstein’s not-so-romantic letter to his wife

Someday we will do a better job with this book. I believe that. It’s 100x better than our shows about it. As mentioned in the show, go check out Eric Barker’s blog. It’s the best newsletter on the internet.

Video: Book notes for “Barking up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker #

I want to keep things consistent and I want to prioritize consistency over quality right now. I’m going to look that story of the pottery teacher whatever it was. Right now I am making those first few dozen garbage ceramic cereal bowls.

Hopefully by episode say 20 things will start looking less like they’re full of trash plain Cheerios and more like bowls worthy of a Honey Bunches of Oats. I’m focusing on making things easy for myself right now so that I can get the reps in.

I made this with Notability. I used a storyboard template then I copied and pasted the images to a blank page to hide the storyboard lines. I then recorded while panning around the screen.

I would rather get really good at process than get really good at, say, After Effects. Quick math: I think After Effects would mean the video would take 5X as long but it wouldn’t be more than 2X better.

The outline, structure, and words are more important to how good the video is, so I’m going to focus my time toward improving there. I’ll write a little bit more before doing the actual recording. That means that I’ll know what I’m going to say and I can keep it more concise.

I don’t want to start editing the “umms” and “likes” and things like that out. That’s tedious. I’ll practice not saying them in the first place.

One day I hope I will look back at this and the embarrassed by it. Actually I’m already a little embarrassed by it right now so I can put the check that one off immediately.

03: Barking Up the Wrong Tree #

(Check us out on iTunes!)

Wally and I discussed Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker. We focused on the first chapter, which explains filtered leaders, unfiltered leaders, and the environments they succeed in. Filtered leaders get filtered through school, more school, and then the corporate ladder. These are your valedictorians. The only issue? They end up successful, but they aren’t the world changers. Unfiltered people shake things up. They make their own ladder and come in through the window. So you should quit your job and aim to be unfiltered to really succeed, right? Well… Barking Up the Wrong Tree reminded me to think about what success really means. The first chapter talks about unfiltered leaders changing the world. A few chapters later you see unfiltered people going too far to succeed. They aren’t happy and they can make the people around them miserable. Maybe a filtered approach is better in the long run. I’d bet the answer is somewhere in the middle. Which, of course, gives us a lot of choices. I loved this line from the book:

“Here’s the problem: We love


choices. We hate



Good choice: reading this book. If reading alone led to results, I’d be captioning a sponsored post of my 8-pack for fitness IG instead of writing this. Good choice: applying principles from this book.

  • You: Learn who you are so you know which pond to swim in
  • Your friends: Be grateful for the friendships you have with good people
  • Your work: Align your work with your values

Easier said than done, but the effort will lead to success. However you define it.

As far as the podcast goes, we’re applying some advice from the book:

“Good enough is good enough.”

It’s a great book and this episode doesn’t do it justice. I want to do another episode down the line when we get more reps in and are better at this. I tried out using podcast chapters to help jump through parts of the episode. Then I learned that Apple’s Podcast app stopped supporting chapters a few versions ago. I’ll list them out here:

  • 0:00 – Wally talks lengua and Ces talks podcasts
  • 5:40 – Do you remember your graduation walk?
  • 7:34 – Ces sends Wally a book: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
  • 16:11 – Sorting out the clip mic situation
  • 20:26 – One book at a time or many?
  • 33:04 – Getting back to the book
  • 39:09 – Ces talks Drama

And some links from the show.

Next week we’ll be talking about The Slight Edge. Thanks for listening!