In this must-listen book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, students, and businesspeople - both seasoned and new - that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called "grit".
Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur "genius" Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial, such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not genius but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own "character lab" and set out to test her theory.
Here, she takes listeners into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she's learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers - from J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Winningly personal, insightful, and even life changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.
©2016 Angela Duckworth (P)2016 Simon & Schuster
"Psychologist Angela Duckworth's winning performance is a nice blend of confidence in her scientific findings and humility about her personal and professional journey. Her accessible writing and speaking charm help her research on character reveal much about why people with the same abilities get vastly different results." (AudioFile)
Urban planner. Environmentalist. Geek.
Duckworth demonstrates her own grit by giving an expert performance narrating her own book. It's clear she put considerable work into learning to narrate effectively. She does a great job.
To me, this book has two distinct halves.
The first half is excellent and easily deserves 5 stars. She shows that a simple, self-reported test on people's willingness to stick with goals carries significantly more predictive power than more traditional predictors, such as SAT scores or athletic ability. I walked away from this section with an all new appreciation of how crucial it is for me to focus on a few, high-priority things in my own life if I ever want to achieve greatness. Her work here is based on sufficiently strong research that it forces the reader to rethink their assumptions about talent and accomplishment.
The second half is based less on research, and more on anecdotes. As a result, it reads a bit like a fluffy self-help book. The chapter on the importance of "purpose" to success is basically unsubstantiated. None of the testimonials prove that "purpose" is important to success because the people she interviews could equally just want to rationalize their story in a way that makes them feel good. While purpose may be important to some people, Duckworth failed to convince that pure self-interest would have been an insufficient motivator for plenty of the successful people she interviewed. Her interviews with investment bankers made me throw up in my mouth a bit.
It is also seems counter-productive to include purpose and passion in the definition of grit. The ability of people to push themselves through tasks they do not enjoy is itself an important, distinct quality to understand, and it would be valuable to have a word that refers specifically to that. I know that part of my own success rests on the fact that I have been willing to do unpleasant tasks that I felt no passion or purpose for, but which I felt were necessary. I have also felt passion and purpose for some goals, but lacked the grit to withstand the pain of putting in the effort to achieve them. Passion and purpose may indeed be motivators of grit, but to say they are part of it causes the term to lose its distinct meaning.
This book should perhaps be called "Persistence", of which grit, passion and purpose are three parts. As it stands, "Grit" is, in effect, defined by grit, passion and purpose. The fact that the term appears to be operating as part of its own definition shows that there is a conflation of concepts at play.
This is an excellent book that pulls together several concepts and their role in perseverance and success. Concepts that are becoming well known are: people can score higher on IQ tests when they have a growth mindset (believing that they can learn more instead of believing that they are born intelligent or not) and people can become experts through deliberate practice. An average person can become better than a "talented" person through many hours of practice and guidance from coaches and teachers who can provide precise feedback on what to work on. "Grit" takes it to the next step - how to stay motivated to spend all those hours practicing and focused on the goal (or as the author would say, be gritty). There is also a 10-question test on the author's website to measure grit. If you answer honestly, it provides a basis for which to measure yourself over time of your perseverance.
The steps are simple but hard to do. Experiment and explore to find an area of interest. Practice to overcome obstacles. The more you accomplish, the more passionate you'll feel and the more committed you'll feel to the purpose. Determination and direction are what will lead you to success.
Go download the free Freakonimics podcast episode "How to Get More Grit In Your Life". It sums up everything you need to know and won't take 9 hours. I have around 100 books in my Audible Library. I have only returned 1 book to date. I'm returning this.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
When I picked up "Grit", I was pretty sure I was going to feel pretty crummy as I was one of those kids who flunked 'The Marshmallow Test', like, bad (I don't wanna talk about it...). But it turns out that you can learn grit (and that you get grittier as you get older through bouncing back from all of life's pitfalls and disappointments. BUT! You have to make sure you keep getting up after you're knocked down).
Sure there is growing grit from the outside-in: parents, mentors, teachers play a very important role, but that's not anywhere near the half of it. You can also grow grit from the inside-out: by cultivating your interests (Do it! Very, very few people know what their one 'top-level' goal through life will be); by challenging your skills every day; by connecting your work to a purpose beyond yourself (This was so wonderful and important to me. I started seeing my self-worth at work, and want to make myself worthier to the kids I work with and to my co-workers); and by learning to hope when all seems lost. Learned helplessness? Sure. Learned hopefulness/optimism? Now we're talking!
Through the book, examples are given, people are talked or referred to, entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos, creative types like John Irving. It's fascinating and inspiring.
And make sure you don't forget to download the PDF materials. You'll find a way to rate yourself on the Grit Scale, a reflection of who you are now and which can grow over time.
Learn to do the hard work; learn to pare down your goals; learn to develop your one guiding principle, and you're golden.
The only flaw in this book is that it's a study, rather than your usual how-to book. That's not a bad thing, it just means that the jury's still out on a few of the developing stats. Most importantly, is living with a paragon of grit easy to do? Duckworth asked her two daughters, and though she said they love it, the way she quoted them, I dunno. Sounds like her daughters wanted her to relax a little.
That won't be a problem with me. Sometimes I'm so relaxed, I'm darned near comatose. But "Grit" was just the passionate and enlightening study I needed to hear about. I'm really, really glad I listened to it.
"Fall seven; Rise eight...!"
I've been a fan of self-help and psychology books for a long time. I learned a lot of the lessons in this book from an old baseball coach when I was 13 or 14. I took a lot of those lessons from baseball and taught myself (with help) how to play guitar, how to build websites and code, how to start a business, and even soft skills like how to be more persuasive.
I heard about this book from the Freakonomics podcast and being a fan of Gladwell's Outliers and Dan Coyle's The Talent Code, I added it to my wish list.
This book is an essential piece for anyone that's working consistently to get better at a skill. Entrepreneurs, teachers, musicians, athletes and tech people will definitely find it valuable.
I'm sure I'll go back and listen to it at least a dozen times.
I have followed Dr Duckworths's work for years. If one incorporates what Dr Duckworths's research has shown, the answer to how to lead a happy, satisfied, and fulfilled life is at hand
It turns out, perseverance is a useful tool for succeeding in a vast array of subjects. Hardly Earth shattering news, but Duckworth has the data to back this up! There are a few early chapters that talk about her models and their predictive value, but that's not enough for a whole book, so it's padded with endless sports celebrity anecdotes ("paragons" of grit), personal experience hideously contorted to relate to the subject, and lavish praise for perhaps the grittiest thief of the century, Jamie Dimon.
The book offers an overall insight into the research completed on the topic, but the substance gets lost in all the stories and research details shared by the author. Would have appreciated a more direct and practical approach. Grit is about focused approached not jumping a over the place.
Crisis? What Crisis?
Grit seems a simple concept, but that powerful. Angela Duckworth deconstructs why grit is one of the key differentiators for achieving success and fulfillment in life. the numerous examples and studies show how grit is important and critical. I particularly appreciated the chapters on parenting and how intentionally to grow grit with kids. A must read for everybody and particularly parents!
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