Two decades of research led to his latest book, which provides a roadmap for young people to achieve their dreams and a fulfilling life.
Everything about Barry Franklin screams superachiever. He is the director of Preventative Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation for Beaumont Health and a professor of internal medicine at Oakland University’s William Beaumont School of Medicine. He received bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Kent State, University of Michigan and Penn State University.
Franklin has been honored with a laundry list of awards, served on expert panels, written or edited more than 700 publications (including 27 books); and his career motivating people to make lifestyle changes to prevent or halt heart disease has saved or prolonged countless lives.
So, what does a person like that do in his “spare time?” He studies uber-successful people and organizations, of course.
“Superachievers are people who are highly productive, they love what they do, and they make a difference in people’s lives. It’s as simple as that,” Franklin explains. “These people all feel to a large extent that they make their own luck in life. They take 100% responsibility for their outcomes, and they focus on serving others.”
Franklin, 74, of West Bloomfield, began analyzing these exceptionally successful people in his late 20s. He says it started as an exploration of how to be and do better.
“I came to the sobering realization that 11 years of college hadn’t prepared me for the real world of work,” Franklin says. “I realized I lacked many skills, including understanding the importance of preparation, goal setting, persistence, interpersonal skills, communications skills and more.”
So, he scoured the world’s literature and began interviewing superachievers, filling folders and notebooks with observations, stories and key traits they shared. Those traits include being goal- and action-oriented, a person of integrity, hardworking, collaborative and an outstanding communicator.
Two decades of research led to his latest book, GPS for Success: Skills, Strategies and Secrets of Superachievers, (Productivity Press, NYC, NY), which provides a roadmap for young people to achieve their dreams and a fulfilling life.
“Life’s opportunities, career advancement and financial success don’t just happen — you create them,” Franklin says. “I want this book to be a resource for recent graduates and young professionals. It’s my way of giving back, helping young people to help themselves.”
The book is based in part on a GPS for Success course Franklin developed and taught for many years at Central Michigan University. He sat down and finally put all the chapters together during COVID-19 when his office closed and he had some downtime.
“Barry has done these three things for you: He did the work … He saved you time … He provides ideas you can use to be more successful,” writes leadership speaker and bestselling author Mark Sanborn in the book’s foreword.
Successful in his personal life, too, Barry and his wife, Linda, have been married 51 years. They have two adult children and four grandchildren ages 13, 10, 7 and 5. They are members of Temple Israel in West Bloomfield.
Franklin says there a correlation between Judaism and superachievers; the two go hand-in-hand.
“Education is a very strong component of Judaism,” he notes. “I know many people who really strive to be the best they can be and that’s another common denominator in Judaism. Early on, one of the major things I got out of Judaism is serving others.”
Franklin says he’s achieved about 95% of what he set out to do in life. He’s been inspired and encouraged along the way by fellow superachievers who are his friends. They taught him some additional secrets — that setbacks line the road to success, to ask for the things you want, be interested in others, make others feel important and exceed people’s expectations.
“Early in your career, do everything possible to work with people you want to emulate,” Franklin adds. “Improve your writing, speaking and communication skills. Set goals and set them in writing; ‘If it’s not on paper, it’s vapor.’”
“GPS for Success: Skills, Strategies and Secrets of Highly Successful People” can be purchased at healthylearning.com, through Productivity Press at routledge.com, and through Amazon. Learn more about the author at drbarryfranklin.com.