How to Raise Successful People

An informative book that could have been distilled into an article. Of the 336 pages in the book, I ended up with about seventeen pages of printed highlights.

That’s most of the “meat” of the book. My distilled notes are just over a page.


Helicopter parents, bulldozer parents, and tiger parents are suffocating kids and not letting them develop into the people they are supposed to be.

If you want “successful” (not clearly defined in the book, but it appears to simply mean “good”) kids, then you need to instill certain values in them.

The values Esther “Woj” promotes follow an easy-to-remember acronym: TRICK.

Trust — more than trusting your kids to do what they say they will do, trust that your kids will figure stuff out on their own time. Teach your kids to trust other people.

Trust is a form of social currency. Don’t squander it.

Respect — respect your children’s choices, even if they don’t align with what you want for them.

Model respect if you want to receive it from your children. One of the biggest takeaways here was the skill of disagreeing without being disrespectful.

Independence — this was probably the most insightful section of the book. Helicopter parents and Tiger parents tend to strip their kids of independence and live vicariously through them.

The major lesson — let your kids explore. Let them develop into their own people. Provide support when necessary, but don’t coddle or drill your children. Find the balance where they develop their own skills in their own interests.

Collaboration — builds on the first two principles of the book. We can’t do anything as a society without collaboration, and you can’t collaborate with people you don’t trust and respect.

Collaboration is an important skill and value for kids to adopt — finding how to work with other people toward common goals is essential for any type of change.

Kindness — This is my one rule for life. Don’t be a dick. If you seek to understand before you seek to be understood, you’ll be on the right track.

Woj extends the idea of kindness to “giving a damn” about causes that light you up. I agree with this. Developing a spirit of service is how the world gets better and instilling that value in our kids is how the future becomes better.


My gripe with this book is: most journalists turned nonfiction authors have incredibly tight prose.

Woj has written a book that I distilled into a one-pager.

The thesis of the book is solid. The execution was too flowery and full of brags.

It also didn’t discuss the role luck played in her daughters’ success. Being in the right place at the right time did not hurt their career trajectories.

Should parents understand TRICK? Definitely. Is this book the best resource to deliver that message? I don’t think so. I’m giving this book 6 stars instead of 9 because of the delivery.

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