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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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One of "The Hottest Spring Nonfiction Books"
—The Wall Street Journal
A "Leadership Book to Watch for in 2016"
—The Washington Post
A "Must-Read Business Book for 2016"
One of "The Year's Best Life Hacks"
"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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I think it would be good if teachers would get more "grit" and rebel against hunger in their schools, undrinkable water in their schools, ceilings falling down, gym floors torn up. Books like this simply reinforce teachers in their docility. It's a racist, classist narrative, inexcusable to be getting play among so-called "educators" in this day and age.
Duckworth repeatedly genuflects to the idea that grit isn't the only thing that matters. But she undermines this with an endless parade of Horatio Alger stories about people who triumphed over adversity to become extraordinarily successful by demonstrating grit. There's no room in her universe for people who try over and over again but still fail because of macroeconomic conditions, discrimination, illness, disability, or misfortune. The idea that there are any limits to the power of grit exists only as an abstract possibility, to be mentioned and then ignored.
The book has some good parts. In particular, the sections where she discusses experiments and field studies are informative and well-written. Unfortunately, there's no discussion of anything critics might have to say.
The chapter on a culture of grit is particularly weak. It is mostly based on interviews of professional coaches and Fortune 500 CEO's, who provide predictably self-serving accounts of their sports and corporate cultures.
If Duckworth had written an informational book that aimed to make her research accessible to a lay audience, I would likely have given the book a high rating. But her decision to package the book as self-help ruins the enterprise.
(F.D.: I have been personally acquainted with Dr. Duckworth for several decades.)
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.