Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: Week 2

Summer Reading Week 2

Join us as we continue reading this summer! Check the Summer Reading page for a recap.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

In her late twenties, Angela left a demanding job as a management consultant to teach math to seventh graders in the New York City public schools. Several years in the classroom taught her that effort was tremendously important to success. To begin to solve the mystery of why some people work so much harder and longer than others, Angela entered the PhD program in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now a professor. She is also a 2013 MacArthur fellow and founder and scientific director of the Character Lab.

Amazon’s description: In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, 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 JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Among Grit’s most valuable insights:

  • Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal   
  • How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
  • How lifelong interest is triggered
  • The magic of the Hard Thing Rule
  • How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
  • Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards

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.

"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

Want to learn more?
I first became aware of the work by Angela Duckworth in the summer of 2015. I was hosting a campus book club and we were reading the book Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck. The material inspired one of the faculty to do some more research into the topic and her research led her to Angela Duckworth’s work. At the time we had mostly online resources to read and look at, and we spent quite a lot of time reviewing her work and watching her TED talk. I should note that Duckworth does NOT claim that grit is the only key to success (as some may believe). There are many factors that go into being successful (whether as a student, a West Point cadet during Beast Week, or Seahawks coach Pete Carroll). We were so excited about the book that several of us got on the wait list for Grit!

Book club questions:
1. Take the Grit quiz – find out how gritty you are!
2. Watch this short video on the Money website: Which of the 4 things to be grittier are you willing to work on?
3.   Read this article from Forbes online: The secret ingredient of successful people and organizations-grit. What is the “Hard Thing Rule” that Duckworth developed for her family, and do you buy into that? Can you see yourself practicing this with your family/students/yourself?
4.   Here’s a great Op-Ed article from the New Your Times  by David Brooks: putting grit in its place. Do you agree with Brooks when he says, “In life we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the G.P.A. system encourages students to be deferential and risk averse, giving their teachers what they want”? How do you feel about de-emphasizing the GPA?
5.  And here’s one of my favorite articles from the New York Times: Secret to Success - Failure. What do you think of the idea of a “character report card”?

Other related books (from Amazon)
Grit: How to Keep Going When You Want to Give Up by Martin Meadows  
How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough
Grit, Discipline, Perseverance: The Emotional Habits That Drive Success by Steve Williams (Author)
Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Linda Kaplan Thaler

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