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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character | [Paul Tough]

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.
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Publisher's Summary

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of scientists and educators who are radically changing our understanding of how children develop character, how they learn to think, and how they overcome adversity. It tells the personal stories of young people struggling to stay on the right side of the line between success and failure. And it argues for a new way of thinking about how best to steer an individual child - or a whole generation of children - toward a successful future. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage listeners; it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

©2012 Paul Tough (P)2012 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Well-written and bursting with ideas, this will be essential [listening] for anyone who cares about childhood in America." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (537 )
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4.1 (444 )
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Performance
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  •  
    R. Jones Chicago, IL 11-13-12
    R. Jones Chicago, IL 11-13-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I expected"
    Any additional comments?

    It has some good anecdotes and supporting tales, but I was expecting more guidance as a parent. Look for it to be entertaining and well written with relevant stories, but not as a parental guide on "How Children Succeed". Also, it was read fairly slowly - this was the first audiobook I listened to at 1 and 1/2 speed for the book's entirety. Performance was fine, just slower than I wanted.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 09-08-13
    André ORLANDO, FL, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2011

    I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    283
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    "The Right Formula"

    It's the second time that I've read this book. And what a difference it takes, because the first time I thought this book was too dark, talking about poor, addicted, minorities. A very hard to change environment, a very hard to succeed in life. Now, I see another angle. It's full of data and it can build the basis for a great life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Briana Melissa Ford Carson, CA USA 05-13-13
    Briana Melissa Ford Carson, CA USA 05-13-13 Member Since 2015

    Book nerd for life!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Okay...Get 30 Min Summary"
    What did you like best about How Children Succeed? What did you like least?

    Best - focusing on what people can do in regards to teaching character development in schools
    Least - don't go off on tangents. Are we focusing on character development, or poverty?


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The case studies were good but what can we learn from them? Seemed more like storytelling.


    What three words best describe Dan John Miller’s voice?

    Stop. Mimicking. Characters. He would use a different voice for the students he talked about which was extremely distracting.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I wouldn't mind a documentary version of this because of how many different stories there were.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall a bit disappointed in the book. I suggest getting the 30 minute summary

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Justin casper, WY, USA 04-20-13
    Justin casper, WY, USA 04-20-13 Member Since 2006

    Being a heavy equipment operator with long night shifts, good books are essential to me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Invest yourself in childrens lives"

    I enjoyed this book and I agree with most points. I have 5 kids and have my own ideas. I enjoyed the book in this way, as long as we all try harder for the sake of our children things will improve for the future of the human race. We do need more attention on our children and that seems to be the spirit of this book. I say invest that credit and pay attention.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle union city, CA, United States 04-19-13
    Michelle union city, CA, United States 04-19-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    3
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    "Narrator offensive"
    What would have made How Children Succeed better?

    I will be requesting a refund for this audio book. Each time the male narrator quoted an African American female he raised his voice in a high-pitched voice and tried to fake an African American "accent." This was quite distracting, and even offensive, especially when he would not change his voice when quoting a presumably non-African American female. (Either way, please don't try to put on a high-pitched voice when quoting a female, regardless of race; it sounds quite ridiculous.) All he has to do is say that he is quoting an African American female. He does not need to use a fake voice. It's too bad, because there was quite a bit of substance that was interesting. I may decide to purchase the written version instead.


    Would you recommend How Children Succeed to your friends? Why or why not?

    No.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dan John Miller’s performances?

    No.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrei Kouznetsov 08-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Not practical"

    Many important and political issues raised, yet no solution for everyday parenting.
    Interesting stories of different people fro al walks of life, but, again, too circumstantial and without practical application to a parent.
    Overall, felt like the author was exploiting well-known issues and doing a meta analysis of someone else's research.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mas 05-23-15
    mas 05-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    3
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    "Please Record This Again"
    Would you try another book from Paul Tough and/or Dan John Miller?

    The narrator fancy's himself an actor. This is not a dramatic interpretation-it is a nonfiction book! It sounds more like a Saturday Night Live sketch when the narrator uses a high pitched stereotypical African-American female voice for quotes from a young girl and when he uses his British accent for the voice of a researcher. Out of place at best- offensive and insensitive at worst.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GardenBirthMama New York 04-18-15
    GardenBirthMama New York 04-18-15
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    5
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    "Incredible"

    READ READ READ. One of the best books on this topic I've ever read. Wow. Heart, soul, science & research with powerful conclusions. Absolutely loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CharityP 02-03-15
    CharityP 02-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "To much research, not enough "bringing it home""

    This book is ridiculously long and the author introduces to many long stories which are unnecessary. To much research and not enough of explaining what that research means or how to apply it to your child. Here is the gist of it.

    How to have a Brave and curious child: protect them from serious trauma, stress and provide a secure nurturing relationship. When a kid is stressed out we need to help them calm down and teach them how to deal with stress and tantrums. Lots hugging and listening during 0-3 is the most important.

    Needs child size adversity growing up. Especially in 10-18. Teach them how to manage failure and learn from failure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PhilMac HAZEL CREST, IL, United States 07-21-14
    PhilMac HAZEL CREST, IL, United States 07-21-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm just a simple man who is trying to be water.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent - Refreshing - Insightful"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How Children Succeed to be better than the print version?

    Didn't read the print version. But can't imagine it could be be better or worse. This is about the information and I felt it so compelling I listened twice already.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How Children Succeed?

    The story about the young lady from one of Chicago's roughest inner city schools. At some point she developed the grit to push on and change her circumstance. Although she didn't get into Duke, she got into school. Story is inspiring.


    What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Like Medina wrote in "Brain Rules", hearing the information is basically a more efficient way to learn. I believe this whole-heartedly.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Developing the grit to succeed is as important as the success itself.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a great read. Success is relative but the book provides interesting perspective into the idea of maintaining success and how those that might have had the tougher journey are more likely to hold onto it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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