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How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  335 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The Godmother of Silicon Valley, legendary teacher, and mother of a Super Family shares her tried-and-tested methods for raising happy, healthy, successful children using Trust, Respect, Independence, Curiosity, and Kindness: TRICK.

Esther Wojcicki—“Woj” to her many friends and admirers—is famous for three things: teaching a high school class that has changed the lives of t
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2019)
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3.94  · 
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 ·  335 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book in one sitting. I will start by saying that I am not a fan of parenting books in general. I find that they are either written by people who aren't parents or people who tell you there's one right way. Neither of which works for me. I have a teenager who rolls his eyes each time he sees me look at a parenting book and tells me that they are not worth it.

Alas, I picked up this book anyway because I am always open to learning, growing and trying to do better. There's much in this b
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wojcicki's basic concept is great. She advocates for the importance of teaching children about trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness, and explains how she did so with her own children and her students. Though the concept is important, I found the personal stories she told to support her ideas came across more as bragging. She has good reason to brag - she has raised three very successful kids and is clearly doing something right as a parent and teacher. However, I had trouble ...more
Erin Bomboy
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Esther Wojcicki seems like a nice enough lady, and she should rightly be proud of her three daughters' success, but this was a slog from beginning to end.

First, I'm not sure why she chose TRICK as her acronym. The word carries such negative connotations (turn a trick, play a trick) that it casts a pall over what is an approach to positive parenting. Furthermore, the values (trust, respect, independence, collaboration, kindness) are the vague ones of seemingly all corporations and for-profit ente
Rob Anderson
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This one is tough to review. It’s an interesting book with lots of individual parts that succeed, but I’m not sure it works as a whole. As a parenting book, it is a bit frustrating. Obviously there isn’t a “silver bullet” method for raising “successful” kids and it’s unrealistic to expect any magic answers to common parenting challenges, but I was hoping for something a little more well-defined than what Wojcicki offers. That said, I like her TRICK concept and their are some very good (and inter ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, parenting
This book is full of helpful, accessible, practical advice. The author's TRICK (Trust, Respect, Independence, Curiosity, and Kindness) method is great. The very long personal introduction from the author felt unnecessary as did the many personal anecdotes, which is why I dropped my review to 3 stars.

I received an ARC from NetGalley.
Dion Lim
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Esther Wojcicki is the most credible author I have come across in terms of her real world success as 1) a noted mother who has raised three daughters (CEO of YouTube, Founder/CEO of 23andMe, UCSF researcher) who are making a big impact on the world and 2) a decorated teacher (California Teacher of the Year) who has educated thousands of high school students of diverse race and income over 37 years
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
It wasn’t terrible, and I got most of the way through, but the incessant name dropping and self-aggrandizing was too much for me to take. Some good tricks (ha) for both parenting and teaching, though, but not a book’s worth.
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m kind of at the tail end of the whole parenting job, but this book is full of good advice for use as a grandparent, mentor and even self-improvement. She does come off as a little braggy and know-it-all, but she kind of deserves to.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly enjoyed this book and agreed with the techniques discussed. However, I did have a few issues. She calls her philosophy TRICK, which stands for Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness.

First, I enjoyed the introduction and the author's personal stories. I also liked her suggestion of really thinking about your own childhood and using experiences from your own childhood to more purposely parent your own children.

The Trust and Respect sections felt pretty similar to me. I
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really thought I would love this book but it is full of bragging and name dropping. Not really what I was expecting at all.
Vishal Talreja
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Simple and easy to read book. Written largely for a western, privileged audience. Definitely some insights there about bringing up children growing up in highly sheltered and privileged families, especially the last section on Kindness has some nuggets of gold. However, where it fails is unwrapping some of the fundamental causes why children are not growing up with Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness and how the society we have created has largely contributed to it. It stays ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting but flawed.

Wojciki puts together a framework for child raising which is almost diametrically opposed to the “Tiger Mother” approach. It’s an interesting take (particularly the emphasis on kindness), but the tone is maddening. Wojciki is the mother of three incredibly successful women, and a celebrated educator and speaker in her own right, and boy does she let you know it. There’s a heavy strand of smug self-congratulation which runs all the way through this: “… and who knew that I’
Ryan Monson
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall I liked the content in this book and will use many of the strategies with my own children. I gave the book a 3, not because of the content, but because of how it is written.

The book started out strong and has a lot of really good ideas but it really struggles with its identity and audience. I think Wojcicki should have written two separate books; "How to Raise Successful People" and "How to Teach Successful People". Early on, most of the examples/stories that she relayed in the book were
Mary Webb
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I borrowed it, but now I think I'd like to own a copy to reread and use as a reference book. Esther Wojcicki is a spirited, grounded, honest, kind, vocal and brave person. I'm grateful to her that she spent her time and energy writing this book to share her knowledge with the world. I think her goal with writing this book was to use whatever influence she has to make our world better.
Parenting has its challenges, and every generation thinks they have it harder than t
Krishna patel
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had suggestions and science-backed tactics to help build strong, independent, and kind individuals. Woj doesn't cite everything in the book as it's mentioned but there is an appendix and that makes it super easy to read without feeling lost or that you need a child development degree or more.

Trust, Responsibility, Independence, Collaboration, Kindness. These are highly categories that scratch the surface of basic human needs. I love that it offers a collaborative approach to raising k
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you'

It took me a long time to read this book, because for whatever reason, my copy would repeat itself every few pages. And when I got to the part of 'if you don't act as your own therapist, and interrogate your own childhood, you won't be the best parent you can be'. Scary stuff. So I took time to find a couns
Jul 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
I felt like this book by Esther Wojcicki ran the gamut of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First, the good: There is some valuable advice in these pages, and I particularly appreciated the focus on parenting working through their own trauma and the chapter on trusting your kids.

The bad: As noted by other reviewers, Wojcicki's tales of her children and her students often come across as bragging. The points she's making are valid. This is an issue not so much of the what as the way. I also didn't
Mark Manderson
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Top takeaways

A 2015 Pew Research study found that only 52 percent of people in the United States agree that they can trust their neighbors. And most shockingly of all, just 19 percent of American millennials believe that most people are trustworthy.
By preventing our children from doing things independently, we are not only teaching them that the world cannot be trusted – we are also teaching our children that they themselves cannot be trusted.
This is an issue. It’s crucial for children’s self-
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
She has a lot of great ideas, but there was just way too many side stories that just honestly seemed like bragging and forced. I found myself forgetting the original point she was trying to make while reading those personal stories.

Also, this book is seems directed to a certain affluent audience. I got tiring reading "In Palo Alto......)". Palo Alto and the Stanford area is like a different dimension to most people (myself included, I'm a California native too, but I can't relate), I'm not sure
John Thurlbeck
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Esther Wojcicki has condensed years of caring, teaching and nurturing into her acronym TRICK - and it works! Though straightforward, these principles, when combined and applied in a common-sense fashion, have the potential to help children to thrive and grow in any environment.
In many ways, Wojcicki’s TRICK approach is typical of the type of parenting that characterised the generations before the digital age.
The author illustrates her points with examples from both her personal and professional
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Nicely written. There was some useful information about raising kids and what we can do to improve everyone's lives by being good first teachers for our children. The author was a bit opinionated (which she's entitled to, of course), but it showed through too much in the narrative and I sometimes wondered if her views on things were too narrow given the environment in which she teaches and her own personal experiences. It all sounds rosy and good when you're a well-to-do American living in a wea ...more
Jerry Smith
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019_fav, 2019
I kept seeing this book mentioned in articles and whatnot. I wanted to wait for my library to pick it up but decided to go ahead and purchase and donate when done.

This is probably the best parenting book I've ever read, it comes across as knowledgeable without being "this is the only way."

I scrolled through other goodread reviews and agree with the criticism that it's a little wordy and has a few too many anecdotes that have a humblebrag feel, in particular towards the end the "give a damn" chap
Ralf Lippold
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The is not just for parents, who try to figure out how to prepare their kids for the future.

Esther Wojcicki's approach is what she calls TRICK, which consists of five specific skills that every one of us (as we are all kids ;-)) can and should learn:

- Trust
- Respect
- Independence
- Collaboration
- Kindness

The book is enriched by very personal stories she shares about her own family and the challenge raising three daughters in the early 70s.

You'll probably find yourself in some of these stories (
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Here "Woj" shares her tried-and-tested methods for giving our kids the values and skills to succeed as adults. Her focus is raising happy, healthy, successful children using Trust, Respect, Independence, Curiosity, and Kindness: TRICK.

I especially appreciated the chapters on grit and independence. Woj lets the kids lead in many ways, respects who they are, and encourages them to take risks and be independent at a young age. Her personal stories and examples really hit home and add so much to her
David Wygant
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reflect on your childhood so you can identify parenting behaviors to emulate and not. Constantly teach kids to exert control over their own lives by making choices. Develop their decision-making abilities by asking them choice questions. It’s crucial for children’s self-esteem that they feel as if their parents believe in their abilities and trust them to do things. Respect their preferences to reduce resentment and isolation. With collaborative parenting, the parent works with the child to get ...more
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness are the "TRICK" to raising successful people and I thank the author for the useful reminder of these values. While I can adopt many of the techniques and related to many of the stories, this book is probably most useful for people in the upper middle class without kids with special needs of any kind. The techniques don't address the struggles of many families and it has the luxury of being "tested" in Palo Alto, California--not exactly a ...more
Cassandra Wortham
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I thought this book was going to be a lot more than it was. Ester respectfully informs the reader that the book is meant to be guidelines for what worked for her. Due to this fact the book had no substance, no guidelines, just stories. She provides some interesting questions to think about in her initial checklist but after that the book went downhill. I’d prefer the book to have more tips but I understand to do that she would have needed to work with someone credentialed. I also found some of h ...more
Amanda Wolfley
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because it’s full of basic principles that can be applied to every child and family situation, and all relationships for that matter, not just parenting. I feel inspired as I am just starting out on my parenting journey to follow the principles of TRICK. At times I did feel that the author was (unintentionally) bragging a bit, about her own kids and how she just instinctively knew how to teach these principles, but her methods have obviously been effective and are worth reading ...more
Emil Petersen
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
At the bottom line, the message of Esther Wojcicki's book is actually pretty good. The problem is that this takes up about a quarter of the book; the last three quarters are filled with self-indulgence and bragging. I found it very annoying. Small stories of the form "this person such and such had a big problem that nobody could figure out. Then I met that person and could see right away that the solution was such and such. I have always been like this and have raised my three daughters like thi ...more
Raquel Coelho
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books I wish everyone could read. It's a fast read full of wisdom, and then, of course, it is up to you to trust yourself and bring in what you want to your life and to the lives of those you touch. I think you do not need to be a parent nor a teacher to appreciate this book; you just need to be a person who believes they can have an impact in this lifetime. The time is now!
I love Esther's TRICK: trust, responsibility, independence, collaboration, and kindness. If we put these
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“says she commonly sees children at eight, nine, and ten months old who wake up throughout the night. There are even one-, two-, and three-year-olds who don’t sleep through the night. Why? Because they haven’t been taught. “Sometimes as parents we’re frightened to give our kids the opportunity to learn,” she says. “We feel like we’re harming them, and that we’re not supporting them in the way they need to be supported.” 0 likes
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