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How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,309 ratings  ·  189 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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Average rating 3.90  · 
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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
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
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
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 parents 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 a
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, netgalley
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.
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
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’
Karolina Šilingienė
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book on installing TRICK (trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness) values into human beings. This “parenting” book doesn’t give you any cheap advice or simple lessons and that’s why I appreciated this book, because raising a successful human means demonstrating an example and living up to TRICK values yourself aaaaalll life long!
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 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
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.
Sebastian Gebski
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Good points, good principles and ... so what?

Acknowledging these principles is just about 10% of the success - it's the execution that is a truly challenging part. Each child is different, has different personality traits, falls more or less to different tendencies - even the best effort may be fruitless if applied to a child that doesn't resonate with it.

A big plus for the chapter about the grit and referencing A. Duckworth. To be honest I've found her book (titled "Grit") much more useful and
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
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
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
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
Roberto Reynoso
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The more I read these parenting/teaching books, the more I like them. However, they have more or less the same ideas. This one in particular has a chapter dedicated to GRIT (Angela Duckworth's best selling book) and another good part to The Marshmallow Effect. It does have great examples and even provide with real camps to send your kid far, far, far away....
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.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Of course, I thought it was great and I recommend it. I wrote it!! I hope you will find it helpful and insightful. There are lots of insightful stories in the book!
Kara Fitzjarrald
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really like this book from a highly Successful parent.
Laura Cason
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one! I am surprised by the bad reviews. Yes, it's a little long winded, but it is full of some great wisdom. The key with parenting books including this one is to find the nuggets you want to implement in your own family.

I found Esther's take on raising her daughters refreshing for the most part and I whole heatedly agree parenting is never just about children - it's about the adults and citizens they become. Letting children be within reason and encouraging them to creativ
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. Her ideas reflect her own personality and experience very much, as well as a privileged adulthood (though not childhood), but are a good corrective to the constant worry and inability of parents to allow their children independence -- for example, letting elementary-age kids walk places or go into stores by themselves. However, society's attitudes toward child rearing have changed so much that many things people thought nothing of when I was a kid would now be reported by "good sama ...more
Marina Biljak
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I am still not sure what to think about this. I will give 3*, but I would say it's more 3.5.

I don't really like parenting books but I thought this one will be somehow different. And it was - with all the famous names Wojcicki included in her book. Little bit too much bragging?

Even though most of the stories were interesting, sometimes it sounded like she wrote her autobiography, and not a parenting book.

I will still take some of Esther's advice, such as things about letting our kids be more i
Rasa Svelnikaite Pieslike
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Author uses TRICK methodology to describe how to raise children, what values to bring and how to shape personalities. Lovely written book with many personal examples. Author raised 3 successful and highly achieved daughters, worked as teacher and putted all her knowledge into book.
It was easy-reading. I’d say it’s more inspirational material than teachable one. At least for me.
4/5 because I liked it, because it’s good, but it didn’t reshaped my as a reader and usually I expect that from the bo
Michael Forsyth
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Seems very true; Mrs. Wojcicki's 'trick' system rings true. However, she repeats herself a lot, and it feels very lacking in terms of any understanding of a final destination. It feels a bit like she's also patting herself on the back a bit much for her legitimately successful practices; and her placing of companies like Google on an ethical pedestal is a bit eyebrow raising.
Joseph L.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Watch a detailed review along with my favorite ideas and takeaways at:
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
Maritza Soto
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Currie
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
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8 likes · 2 comments
“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.” 1 likes
“THERE ARE NO NOBEL Prizes for parenting or education, but there should be. They are the two most important things we do in our society. How we raise and educate our children determines not only the people they become but the society we create.” 1 likes
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