Eric Barker

Eric Barker

Eric Barker

Eric Barker is the author of “Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong.” He is also the author of the website by the same name.

Articles by Eric Barker

Family Life

6 things the happiest families all have in common

Family life is hectic. Most of play it by ear and hope it works out well. Are there legit answers about what creates the happiest families? Yes, there are.


This is how to overcome social anxiety: 5 powerful tips backed by research

There’s a way to deal with fear and anxiety that neuroscientists, the ancient Stoics and mindfulness experts all agree on. And it’s not that hard. Let’s get to it…

The Whole Human

This is how to deal with passive aggressive people

We’ve all dealt with it. The subtle manipulations. Always angling to get what they want, but still looking like a little angel.

The Whole Human

How to stop worrying: 7 powerful secrets from mindfulness

We all worry. At one point or another, almost one-third of people have dealt with a level of anxiety that would qualify as a disorder.


4 books that will show you how to create the best morning ritual

We do know morning is a special time. Research shows your mood when you wake up affects how you feel the entire day — and how productive you are. And we know rituals are powerful. Used properly, they have been shown to increase happiness, reduce procrastination, and boost confidence as well as performance.

The Whole Human

4 harsh truths that will make you a better person

Nobody recommends denial — but nobody recommends procrastination, either. And we’re all prone to both. Denial is existential procrastination. But issues aren’t scary when we know there are solutions. It’s much easier to face harsh truths when we know there’s a roadmap, and that we’ll come out the other side stronger.


This is how to be charming: 5 secrets from research

It’s how others judge you and how you judge others. And, amazingly, we get it wrong almost every time…

The Whole Human

Ancient wisdom reveals 7 rituals that will make you happy

You and I are not the first people to wonder, “How can I live a happy, more fulfilling life?” Not by a long shot. Stoicism and Buddhism are both a few thousand years old and I write about them a fair amount because both have core elements that have been validated by modern science.

The Whole Human

5 fascinating books on how to break bad habits

Let’s look at 5 books that will teach you how habits work, why your brain won’t do the “right” thing, how to address these issues, and how to defeat the dark forces that are actively working against your best intentions.

The Whole Human

This is the morning ritual that will make you happy: 4 secrets from stoicism

Many of the greats embraced the concept of “Amor Fati.” To not only accept everything that life brings you, good or bad, but to love it. To embrace it. To revel in it. Every single bit of your life. Yes, even the truly horrible, awful, regrettable, don’t-ever-want-to-think-about-it-again moments.

The Whole Human

This is the deadly sin that makes life awesome: 3 proven secrets

When you think about the deadly sins, pride’s actually kinda confusing. Few ethical people are running around advocating greed. Wrath isn’t going to make you a lot of friends. And, as the saying goes, envy is the one deadly sin that’s no fun at all.

The Whole Human

How to be happy in today’s crazy world: 3 secrets from research

The modern world promotes a culture of “be yourself.” But if you want to be happy, that isn’t always the best idea. To find more joy, spend a little less time being you and little more time being us.


This is how to sleep better: 5 secrets from neuroscience

I’ll bet you’re not getting enough sleep. Honestly, I’m kind of cheating — it’s a pretty safe bet. And this is the one post where if you fell asleep while reading it, well, I’m not offended.

The Whole Human

This is how to make close friends: 4 surprising secrets from research

In many cases, we make mistakes that prevent us from really connecting with others and end up with lukewarm friendships but no idea how to deepen them. Time to fix that.

The Whole Human

This is how to become mentally strong: 3 secrets from neuroscience

Ever get to the point where your brain is just pooped? The ol’ grey matter is waving the white flag. You’re exhausted. You can’t go on. You’ve got no more mental energy. Well, sorry, but that’s just not true.


This is how to increase your attention span: 5 secrets from neuroscience

So how do you go about increasing your attention span? First step: don’t waste what little you have …

The Whole Human

This is how to easily make your relationships awesome: 4 secrets

But what makes them work? What makes them fail? What’s the essential building block of a relationship? Why do some spark and others fade? You might have a theory or two but I don’t think we know what really keeps love, friendship, and family going.


This is how to find joy: 4 simple secrets to the good life

Four things we can learn about happiness from our elders.


This is what the best teams and families do: 3 rituals from research

There are three key elements the best teams and families all have in common that boost trust, cooperation, motivation and overall performance. And they’re going to surprise you.


This is how to “work smarter not harder”: 3 secrets from research

Get better work done in less time — and even achieve that mythical “work-life balance” unicorn everyone is always talking about.


Interesting people: 7 things they all have in common

The most interesting people may be compelling for different reasons but they have 7 basic traits all in common.


How to be your best self: 3 secrets backed by research

Research shows the benefits of caring for yourself the same way you care for your friends, pets and family.


7 surprising books that will make your life better

These 7 books can help you cheat at life by spending less time frustrated, and more time living well.


6 ways, backed by research, to goof off and get more done

Research showing that being a touch lazy might be beneficial at times. Here are 6 of the best ways to slack off to be more productive.


Difficult relationships: 5 easy ways to improve them, backed by research

Relationships — whether with coworkers, friends or lovers — are a mash-up of cooperation and competition. Here are 5 steps to happiness and healthier connections.