• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Hard work, interest, and commitment are essential to achievement, and Duckworth traces her research and offers interviews with various highfliers to illustrate the point.

In researcher and professor Angela Duckworth's nonfiction work Grit, she explores the combination of passion and commitment that is a key component in success.

Through mining past research and history on the matter as well as interviewing individuals who have reached elite levels of success, Duckworth explores what characteristics and habits support tenacity and achievement; asks whether these habits and tendencies can be cultivated; and suggests ways to boost grit.

Duckworth highlights psychological research, unique examples of superlative accomplishment, and practical methods of achieving the type of grit that allows for significant achievement--for our children and ourselves.

The essence of the book could be summed up in a few sentences, but I found Duckworth's account of her growing research and her evolving thinking about grit interesting.

Throughout Grit, people who love what they do and who have worked tirelessly to get where they are expound upon their passions, and I enjoyed Duckworth's interviews with highfliers and successful individuals across varied disciplines. Some of these interviewees share short mottoes or snippets of "go get 'em" attitudes that feel like bumper-sticker guidance, and others explain in more depth the gritty cultures they encourage on the teams around them or cultivate within themselves. The combination of enthusiasm and determination necessary in each case felt in line with these individuals' and groups' unrelenting work and resulting measures of success.

Grit offers universally useful--if not wholly surprising--lessons about locking in and not giving up, but Duckworth carefully emphasizes hard work as more necessary to the pursuit of achievement than talent or desire alone.

I was thinking about my kids as I read Grit, and what I found most meaningful as I listened to it was a secondary message: the reinforcement of the belief that exposing kids to many experiences--and encouraging at least temporary commitment to them, if not immersion--can zigzag young people toward potentially unanticipated pursuits that may bring them long-term joy and fulfillment.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Angela Duckworth's father used to tell her "You're no genius." This spurred her to work hard enough to found a nonprofit, teach children math and science, and eventually become a MacArthur Fellow and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

For more nonfiction books, check out the Greedy Reading List Six Compelling Nonfiction Books that Read Like Fiction.