Book Review: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
By Angela Duckworth
For this book review, I have taken a quick departure from fiction and fitness, and instead delved into the world of mental fitness and resilience. Angela Duckworth has written a fantastically straightforward and engaging book that encapsulates her research and interviews into the study of what she calls “Grit” or the power and capability to continue working at something until you master it, if ever (paraphrased).
Let’s begin with understanding who she is and why is she credible as a source of information? For starters, Angela is actually Dr. Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also been named a MacArthur Fellow. Prior to this position, she was also a science and math teacher in New York City, and runs a non-profit that helps identify insights that help children thrive so as to reach their full potential.
So we get it; she knows her stuff.
I would easily divide this book into three large segments:
- What is grit and how did I (she) find it?
- Grit and the individual
- How to create a culture and identity of grit to get the most out of someone?
She starts off by explaining her own personal history and what brings to identify that there is a component out there that is not just natural talent that eventually yields success. Turns out, that even the most talented can still fail if they don’t do one specific thing… work. There is another element that combines attributes of discipline, hard work, resilience, and more to create what she calls Grit: the ability to succeed.
In doing so, Dr. Duckworth walks us through her research at the US Military Academy at West Point, the US National Spelling Bee, and Young athletes. She also interviews and conducts research with sports teams, coaches, and explains preceding research of other psychologists in similar vains.
Finally, she interviews what she refers to as paragons of Grit in those that have demonstrated Grit and succeeded; CEOs of JP Morgan, a New Yorker Magazine cartoon editor, or even the Seattle Seahawks’ Coach.
In all this she demonstrates:
- that talent helps but is not enough. Disciplined work is needed to get you the rest of the way.
- grit is not inherent but can be learned – giving everyone a chance to do their best
- tips for building resilience and grit in children, and guiding them to be gritty adults
I will admit that I listened to the book on loan from my local public library rather than open the book. But, this is something I will make sure is on our bookshelf too. I have sections I intend to review and reread – as well as adopt the Hard Thing Rule that she has implemented in her family to teach her daughters. (In this rule, everyone must commit to a self-identified “hard thing” that they intend to do or practice for the accepted amount of time regularly – which they cannot arbitrarily quit).
I highly recommend this book for any adult or teenager. I wish I had known that it wasn’t just talent that would let me coast in life, but rather hard work that would help me succeed.
Ultimately, her research can be boiled down to grit being the best indicator for success. Period.
Interested in the topic, but don’t know if you want to commit to a full book? Start with her TED talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance?language=en
Here is her personal website: https://angeladuckworth.com/
Don’t know if you want to commit to a new book? As of today, it’s available on Thriftbooks.com for less than $6.00 US.
Lastly, as always,
Stay say and successful everyone!