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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 (472 )
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4.1 (391 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 06-09-13
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 06-09-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An excellent examination of different approaches"

    Many of the reviews I've read on this book do a lot of complaining about the lack of solutions presented. I don't have any problem with that. The fact is that it's a difficult issue, and there is no magic bullet. There will be trade offs, compromises and concessions along the way and people will have to let go of some of their firmly held dogmas in favor of what actually works.

    The benefit of this book is that it brings fresh ideas to the table and allows the listener to hear from the people who are researching these ideas. You also get to hear from the teachers, students and parents who are effected by the decisions being made. You hear first hand about the challenges they face. Additionally, the book explores the impact that education has on children's lives and on our society as a whole. The character oriented approach advocated by Mr Tough and some of the researchers profiled makes a lot of sense, and addresses a lot of what plagues society as a whole.

    This book held my interest from beginning to end and really got me thinking. The narration was excellent, and the author's attitude is flexible and unpretentious. If you have kids, especially young kids, I think you'll find this book to be quite eye opening.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Menlo Park, CA, United States 05-18-13
    Gregg Menlo Park, CA, United States 05-18-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The worst book I've ever downloaded"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    To actually discuss what the title said


    Has How Children Succeed turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no, this is uniquely bad


    Which character – as performed by Dan John Miller – was your favorite?

    none


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Anger about how bad it was


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-04-13
    04-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    1
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    Story
    "Fantastic Book, terrible reader"
    What made the experience of listening to How Children Succeed the most enjoyable?

    This is a great book.. I listened to it and actually bought the hard copy as a reference. But the reader is not great. He is fine when doing the normal book but when he tries to do the "accents" of various people in the books, particularly African American young people, it is extremely off-putting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward OMAHA, NE, United States 03-13-13
    Edward OMAHA, NE, United States 03-13-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "As an educator, this book was enlightening"
    What did you love best about How Children Succeed?

    I thought the ideas were very thought provoking.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author had very compelling real-life examples.


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

    I'm not sure I would have had time to read the book, but listening to it was very easy.


    What did you learn from How Children Succeed that you would use in your daily life?

    Many of the things he discusses in the book are applicable to my daily job in the schools.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Red SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 01-11-13
    Red SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 01-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "it sucked"
    Would you try another book from Paul Tough and/or Dan John Miller?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    i wasted my credits for this. it reads like a college thesis than anything else. it is about observed behaviors of kids who triumphed over difficulties (which i myself can deduce) as in duh, why do i need a book to show me this, i can see it with my classmates and friends. what i was looking for was a book to provide step by step instruction on how to make children succeed. super boring.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Bergdoll Calgary, Alberta Canada 12-12-12
    Frank Bergdoll Calgary, Alberta Canada 12-12-12 Member Since 2014

    LFD

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Survey of US-based, inner-city education reform"
    What did you like best about How Children Succeed? What did you like least?

    The book is very anecdotal about various programs and initiatives that have been used to assist marginalized or impoverished students rise towards success by helping build character traits that allow them to succeed in education.

    To that end, it's motivating for educators or those that are wondering where success in educational reform has occurred.

    Where the book let me down a bit was the lack of practical and specific actions to take in helping children succeed. The word "How" in the title might better be "Why" and the title itself might be more appropriately "A survey of programs instilling character traits in children for success"

    The book goes into great, specific detail on different children that have over-come obstacles in order to succeed. In some case, possibly too much detail that is not really relevant to the central theme of the book - "How".


    What other book might you compare How Children Succeed to and why?

    None.


    What about Dan John Miller’s performance did you like?

    The book was read clearly and understandably - with one very annoying exception: accents. The use of "character" voices was distracting. Ethnic accents did not add to the listening value of the text and was, in some cases, almost isolating to the stories being told.


    Was How Children Succeed worth the listening time?

    Yes. I did enjoy listening to it while commuting and it was worth the time (at double-speed)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Arapahoe, NE, United States 12-12-12
    Heidi Arapahoe, NE, United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating and motivating to read."
    What made the experience of listening to How Children Succeed the most enjoyable?

    I liked the author's motivation for writing, and I enjoyed the unexpected outcomes of his research.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I found some new energy for teaching.


    Which character – as performed by Dan John Miller – was your favorite?

    I liked the school administrators.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I have talked about this book a lot with my colleagues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer Lexington, MA, United States 11-29-12
    jennifer Lexington, MA, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent read/listen"
    Any additional comments?

    Well researched and put together, this book offers great insight into parenting and educating your own children as well as educational policy and why so many fail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Golden Valley, MN, United States 10-29-12
    Jill Golden Valley, MN, United States 10-29-12
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Okay, but nothing new"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Not time well spent. A lot of the content has been hear or read many times before.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Paul Tough? Why or why not?

    Not sure


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Dan John Miller?

    Yes, narration was fine.


    Do you think How Children Succeed needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, if new revelations or ideas can be added.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Felipe Escarra 10-29-12
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    6
    5
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    Story
    "Good Reading, Very Enjoyable"
    Any additional comments?

    Easy to read/listen. The author keeps the topic relevant and to the point. No over the top research wordings which helps to make the book easy to understand and follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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