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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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The 30 Best Self Help Books
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"Angela Duckworth [is] the psychologist who has made 'grit' the reigning buzzword in education-policy circles...Duckworth's ideas about the cultivation of tenacity have clearly changed some lives for the better...In this book, Duckworth, whose TED talk has been viewed more than eight million times, brings her lessons to the reading public."
—Judith Shulevitz, The New York Times Book Review
"It really isn't talent but practice—along with passion—that makes perfect, explains psychologist Duckworth in this illuminating book. Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere."
“Psychologists have spent decades searching for the secret of success, but Angela Duckworth is the one who found it. In this smart and lively book, she not only tells us what it is, but also how to get it.”
—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Grit is a persuasive and fascinating response to the cult of IQ fundamentalism. Duckworth reminds us that it is character and perseverance that set the successful apart.”
—Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers
“Impressively fresh and original…Grit scrubs away preconceptions about how far our potential can take us.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
“Fascinating. Angela Duckworth pulls together decades of psychological research, inspiring success stories from business and sports, and her own unique personal experience and distills it all into a set of practical strategies to make yourself and your children more motivated, more passionate, and more persistent at work and at school.”
—Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed
"If you have recently bumped into that word, grit, Duckworth is the reason...In education and parenting circles, her research has provided a much needed antipode to hovering, by which children are systematically deprived of the opportunity to experience setbacks, much less overcome them...What sticks with you [in Grit] are the testimonials, collected from sources as disparate as Will Smith, William James, and Jeff Bezos's mom, that relentlessly deflate the myth of the natural."
"Grit is a useful guide for parents or teachers looking for confirmation that passion and persistence matter, and for inspiring models of how to cultivate these important qualities."
—The Washington Post
“This book will change your life. Fascinating, rigorous, and practical, Grit is destined to be a classic in the literature of success.”
—Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive
“Utterly captivating, inspiring and original…Once you pick up Grit, you won't be able to tear yourself away.”
—Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School professor and author of Presence
“Enlightening…Grit teaches that life’s high peaks aren’t necessarily conquered by the naturally nimble but, rather, by those willing to endure, wait out the storm, and try again.”
—Ed Viesturs, Seven-Time Climber of Mount Everest and author of No Shortcuts to the Top
“I kept wanting to read this book aloud—to my child, my husband, to everyone I care about. There are no shortcuts to greatness, it's true. But there is a roadmap, and you are holding it.”
—Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way
“Readable, compelling and totally persuasive. The ideas in this book have the potential to transform education, management and the way its readers live. Angela Duckworth’s Grit is a national treasure.”
—Lawrence H. Summers, Former Secretary of the Treasury and President Emeritus at Harvard University
“Masterful…Grit offers a truly sane perspective: that true success comes when we devote ourselves to endeavors that give us joy and purpose.”
—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive
“I’m convinced there are no more important qualities in striving for excellence than those that create true grit...I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.”
—Brad Stevens, Coach of the Boston Celtics
“Empowering…Angela Duckworth compels attention with her idea that regular individuals who exercise self-control and perseverance can reach as high as those who are naturally talented—that your mindset is as important as your mind.”
—Soledad O’Brien, Chairman of Starfish MediaGroup and former co-anchor of CNN’s “American Morning”
"Engaging...With strong appeal for readers of Daniel H. Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain, this is a must-have."
“Invaluable…In a world where access to knowledge is unprecedented, this book describes the key trait of those who will optimally take advantage of it. Grit will inspire everyone who reads it to stick to something hard that they have a passion for.”
—Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy
“A combination of rich science, compelling stories, crisp graceful prose, and appealingly personal examples…Without a doubt, this is the most transformative, eye-opening book I’ve read this year.”
—Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor, University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness
“Incredibly important…There is deeply embodied grit, which is born of love, purpose, truth to one's core under ferocious heat, and a relentless passion for what can only be revealed on the razor’s edge; and there is the cool, patient, disciplined cultivation and study of resilience that can teach us all how to get there. Angela Duckworth's masterpiece straddles both worlds, offering a level of nuance that I haven’t read before.”
—Josh Waitzkin, International Chess Master, Tai Chi Push Hands World Champion, and author of The Art of Learning
“A thoughtful and engaging exploration of what predicts success. Grit takes on widespread misconceptions and predictors of what makes us strive harder and push further…Duckworth’s own story, wound throughout her research, ends up demonstrating her theory best; passion and perseverance make up grit.”
—Tory Burch, Chairman, CEO and Designer of Tory Burch
“I love an idea that challenges our conventional wisdom and 'grit' does just that! Put aside what you think you know about getting ahead and outlasting your competition, even if they are more talented. Getting smarter won't help you—sticking with it, will!”
—Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last
"An informative and inspiring contribution to the literature of success."
“Profoundly important. For eons, we've been trapped inside the myth of innate talent. Angela Duckworth shines a bright light into a truer understanding of how we achieve. We owe her a great debt.”
—David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ
“An important book...In these pages, the leading scholarly expert on the power of grit (what my mom called 'stick-to-it-iveness') carries her message to a wider audience, using apt anecdotes and aphorisms to illustrate how we can usefully apply her insights to our own lives and those of our kids.”
—Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard and author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids
“This book gets into your head, which is where it belongs…For educators who want our kids to succeed, this is an indispensable read.”
—Joel Klein, former Chancellor, New York City public schools
"[Blends] anecdote and science, statistic and yarn...Not your grandpa's self-help book, but Duckworth's text is oddly encouraging, exhorting us to do better by trying harder, and a pleasure to read."
“Grit delivers! Angela Duckworth shares the stories, the science, and the positivity behind sustained success…A must-read.”
—Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and Love 2.0 and President of the International Positive Psychology Association
"A fascinating tour of the psychological research on success...A great service of Ms. Duckworth's book is her down-to-earth definition of passion. To be gritty, an individual doesn't need to have an obsessive infatuation with a goal. Rather, he needs to show 'consistency over time.' The grittiest people have developed long-term goals and are constantly working toward them."
—The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. She is also the Founder and Scientific Director of the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book and an instant New York Times bestseller.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a measure of inspiration in her foundational message that, through hard work and persistence, you can become the best version of yourself. Her main point is that it's unlikely that you know your own limits, and that the act of striving against them each day can take you to an unexpectedly good place. However, the true value of this book would have been to teach us the best methods for increasing and maintaining our own grit, and to show that those methods are proven through research. Unfortunately, that doesn't yet exist because the research hasn't been conducted, except in a preliminary fashion.
Because that answer doesn't exist, the book and stories are reduced to a collection of recitations of interviews of successful people, not unlike other business and self-help books. It has a dusting of authority from the author herself, since she has substantially contributed to the field. An interested reader can glean their own lessons from that material, in additions to the insights the author provides. Still, the book lacks true weight, and would be greatly served by an update in a few years as the author and her peers conduct more research on the subject.
Peter Smith, Author, Sell Something, Principles and Perspectives of Engaged Retail Salespeople
"Grit" fits wonderfully with two other powerful books I have recently read: "Mindset" and "The Talent Code." In "Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck posits that one can learn to develop a growth mindset that allows each obstacle and setback in life to be viewed as an opportunity for growth and refinement of existing skills, and the development of new skills. In "The Talent Code," Daniel Coyle lays out a case showing that deep practice triggers growth in the myelin sheath that surrounds neurons, further insulating them and speeding up the rate at which signals are passed along the neural pathways. With an appropriate ignition event to allow a person to have the persistence to engage in deep practice, one can develop extraordinary levels of talent. The final piece of the triple ecosystem that Coyle describes is a world class coach to keep a person fully engaged in the ongoing process of improvement and refinement of talent.
In "Grit," Dr. Duckworth emphasizes the importance of persistence, perseverance, and passion in determining success in life. She shares many examples and case studies, including the experiences of West Point cadets, and NFL players for the Seattle Seahawks under the coaching of Pete Caroll, whose philosophy of leadership is in harmony with Duckworth's premise.
Throughout the book, the author points out that achieving true grit results from a combination of inner drives and external impetuses. The most effective external dynamics include becoming part of a group or tribe in which all of the members are striving for excellence. She quotes sociologist Dan Chambliss in describing how this works in practice: "It seems to me . . .that there's a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity - the basic human drive to fit in - because if you're around a lot of people who are gritty, you're going to get grittier." (Page 247)
Dr. Duckworth devotes several key pages to the case study of Coach Anson Dorrance, who has led the women's soccer team from UNC Chapel Hill to many national titles. He inspires grit in his players in a number of ways, including having them memorize 12 key literary quotes that together define the culture of the team. I was struck by the quote about whining penned by George Bernard Shaw: "The true joy in life is to be a force of fortune instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." (pages 257-8)
Finally, the author quotes Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, Superintendent of West Point. In describing the culture of West Point that inculcates leadership in the men and women who make it through the grueling four year curriculum, Caslen points to the words of one of his predecessors, General John Schofield: "The discipline which makes soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment."
"Schofield goes on to say - and the cadets must memorize this, too - that the very same commands can be issued in a way that inspires allegiance or seeds resentment. And the difference comes down to one essential thing: respect. Respect of subordinates for their commander? No, Schofield says. The origin of great leadership begins with the respect of the commander for his subordinates." (Page 258)
This book and its insights will be the topic of several gatherings that I will be hosting in the next few weeks. It is a treasure trove of wisdom, encouragement, and challenge.