“Plays Well With Others” by Eric Barker

Book Notes

Relationships are all that matter (this is both good and bad) #

The header image is a bunch of Eric Barker’s previous book—but I’m talking about his current book. It’s like those mind bender things where green text says “RED” and it’s impossible to read.

Anyway, that picture is from 5 years ago when I went big for the pre-order bonus to chat with him for 30 minutes and he graciously went for an hour. I probably have handwritten notes somewhere but otherwise was in some kind of starstruck state and can’t remember specifics.

In any case, I was excited to see his new book come out this week and thought I’d get back to writing notes as I read through books.

(I also just finished Chuck Klosterman’s “The Nineties” so I’ll get to doing some book notes on his book soon as well.)

First reminder from Barker’s book: relationships are all that matter.

From “Plays Well with Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong”:

Yet when George Vaillant, who led the study for much of his own life, was asked what he learned from decades of studying these men, he replied with one sentence: That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.

In the same way that you can map your current desires back to some other person’s (your parents’ first, then your friends’) desires, you can map your problems to different relationships in your life. You’re letting someone down. They’re letting you down.

The upside: you can map most of your happiness to different relationships in your life.

From “The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness”

PHILOSOPHER: As I have been saying all along, Adlerian psychology has the view that all problems are interpersonal relationship problems. Interpersonal relations are the source of unhappiness. And the opposite can be said, too—interpersonal relations are the source of happiness.

Looking forward to reading the rest of “Plays Well with Others” so that I can make friends with people who aren’t old, wisened Aldlerian philosophers.