Esther Wojcicki's book How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results is available for purchase on amazon.com

By Jen Juneau
June 26, 2019 02:05 PM
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Esther Wojcicki
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Esther Wojcicki has one simple acronym that guides her parenting secrets: TRICK.

In her book How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results, the journalist and educator opens up about how she raised three successful children — Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; Janet Wojcicki, a professor of pediatrics; and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe — by leveraging the technique.

“Through my decades of experience as a mother, grandmother and educator, I’ve identified five fundamental values that help us all become capable, successful people,” Esther, 78, says in the book, as excerpted by TIME, of the acronym that stands for trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness.

She also admits that “parents constantly ask [her] for advice,” curious about how she “escaped being a disciplinarian and instead found a way to guide students who are genuinely passionate about the work they’re doing.”

“Without really intending to, I found I’d started a debate about how we should be raising our kids and how to make education both relevant and useful,” Esther says, explaining elsewhere that one huge key was trusting her own gut about how to arm her children with the tools for success and speaking to her daughters “as if they were adults from day one” instead of using baby talk.

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From L to R: Susan, Anne and Janet Wojcicki
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

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“I respected their individuality from the beginning,” she adds in the book. “My theory was that the most important years were zero to five and I was going to teach them as much as I could early on. What I wanted more than anything was to make them first into independent children and then into empowered, independent adults.”

In an interview with FORTUNE ahead of her book release, Esther opined that “trust” is the most difficult TRICK principle for employers to embrace, with kindness coming in a close second “because we don’t have a word in the English language that expresses happiness when other people succeed.”

“I can understand why [trust is] hard because there are people out there who don’t do what they’re supposed to do,” she said. “But I would suggest explaining the culture of the company and talking about how you’re giving people more trust and respect, and how you’re expecting people to honor that. If there are violations, then you do have to change the rules. But I would say that most people work really hard.”

How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results by Esther Wojcicki
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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During a speech at FORTUNE‘s Most Powerful Women dinner last month, Esther insisted that “kids model after their parents” and recommends putting the phone down at dinnertime.

And of giving “freedom, respect and trust” to Anne, 45, Janet, 49, and Susan, 50, she confidently proclaimed about her goal of empowering her daughters from the get-go, “I knew what I was doing worked.”

How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results is available now on amazon.com.

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