Grit

The Power of Passion and Perseverance

LIST PRICE $13.99

About The Book

In her instant, multi-month New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” “Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere” (People).

The daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Angela Duckworth is now a celebrated researcher and professor. It was her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience that led to her hypothesis about what really drives success: not genius, but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.

In Grit, she takes us 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.

“Duckworth’s ideas about the cultivation of tenacity have clearly changed some lives for the better” (The New York Times Book Review). Among Grit’s most valuable insights: any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal; grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances; when it comes to child-rearing, neither a warm embrace nor high standards will work by themselves; how to trigger lifelong interest; the magic of the Hard Thing Rule; and so much more. 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. This is “a fascinating tour of the psychological research on success” (The Wall Street Journal).

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Grit includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Angela Duckworth’s Grit, a longtime New York Times bestseller, is a master class in the components of grit: the combination of passion and perseverance that can take a life from good to great to exceptional. From studies of spelling bee champions to Olympic athletes to her own life as a researcher and mother, Duckworth takes the reader through a fascinating landscape of experiments and experiences, unlocking the psychological secrets of success. At once a primer in what makes a person gritty and a toolkit for cultivating that complex of skills, Grit is essential reading for any student, professional, or parent—or anyone who strives for a more demanding, fulfilling, and rewarding life.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. In the preface to Grit, Duckworth describes her father repeatedly calling her “no genius” as a child—ironic because she was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in mid-career. How were your intellectual merits evaluated when you were a child? What impact do you think that had on you?

2. Duckworth’s formula for achievement is that talent combined with effort equals skill and skill combined with effort equals achievement, meaning that effort counts twice (page 42). Does this resonate with you? Can you think of any examples of this formula in your own life?

3. Describe the difference between passion and perseverance.

4. The variance of the Grit Scale scores by age can be explained either by cultural changes or the “maturity principle”—so, either older adults are grittier because they were raised in a different, more grit-focused culture, or people become grittier as they age (page 85). How does the research support each of these theories? How does your own experience support them?

5. Duckworth identifies four characteristics that particularly gritty people tend to have: interest in what they do, the capacity to practice, a sense of purpose in their work, and hope for the future (page 91). Can you think of any examples in this book, from Olympic athletes to schoolchildren, who exhibit or don’t exhibit these qualities? From your own life?

6. Do you think passion is necessary to have a happy or successful career? What do you make of the formula that passion is built through discovery, development, and then deepening?

7. What distinguishes deliberate practice from other kinds of practice? Do you believe deliberate practice and flow are incompatible?

8. Consider the parable of the bricklayers (page 149). Is it possible for everyone to treat their job like a “calling”? What social forces prevent or encourage that possibility?

9. What distinguishes a growth from a fixed mindset? Do you believe intelligence is something that can change over a lifetime?

10. Are you a psychologically wise parent? Were you parented in a psychologically wise way? Take the quiz (page 214) and discuss.

11. There’s a positive correlation between Grit Grid scores and family income. Why do you think this is?

12. How might you apply the Hard Thing Rule in your life? If you have children, how does it compare with your parenting style?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Measure your own grit by taking the Grit Scale quiz (55). Discuss whether your score matched or failed to match your expectations.

2. Watch Angela Duckworth’s TED talk at www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverence.

3. Invite a particularly gritty friend to come speak at your book club and discuss what you can learn from their experiences.

About The Author

Photograph by Zach Teris

Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. She is also the Founder and Scientific Director of the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book and an instant New York Times bestseller.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (May 2016)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501111129

Raves and Reviews

One of "The Hottest Spring Nonfiction Books"
—The Wall Street Journal

A "Leadership Book to Watch for in 2016"
—The Washington Post

A "Must-Read Business Book for 2016"
—Forbes

Grit delves into the personal ingredients of great success. It’s worth reading…the gist is that talent and skill are less valuable than effort.”
—Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times

"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."
—People

Grit is a pop-psych smash.”
—The New Yorker

“With Grit, Duckworth has now put out the definitive handbook for her theory of success. It parades from one essential topic to another on a float of common sense, tossing out scientific insights.”
—Slate

"If you have recently bumped into that word, grit, Duckworth is the reason...In education and parenting circles, her research has provided a much needed antipode to hovering, by which children are systematically deprived of the opportunity to experience setbacks, much less overcome them...What sticks with you [in Grit] are the testimonials, collected from sources as disparate as Will Smith, William James, and Jeff Bezos's mom, that relentlessly deflate the myth of the natural."
—The Atlantic

"A fascinating tour of the psychological research on success...A great service of Ms. Duckworth's book is her down-to-earth definition of passion. To be gritty, an individual doesn't need to have an obsessive infatuation with a goal. Rather, he needs to show 'consistency over time.' The grittiest people have developed long-term goals and are constantly working toward them."
—The Wall Street Journal

“Duckworth is the researcher most associated with the study and popularization of grit.  And yet what I like about her new book, Grit, is the way she is pulling away from the narrow, joyless intonations of that word, and pointing us beyond the way many schools are now teaching it…Most important, she notes that the quality of our longing matters.  Gritty people are resilient and hard working, sure.  But they also, she writes, know in a very, very deep way what it is they want.”
—David Brooks, New York Times

“Offers invaluable lessons to business leaders, parents, recruiters, and almost anyone who wishes to have a roadmap to achieve greater levels of success.”
—Forbes

"A fascinating tour of the psychological research on success...A great service of Ms. Duckworth's book is her down-to-earth definition of passion. To be gritty, an individual doesn't need to have an obsessive infatuation with a goal. Rather, he needs to show 'consistency over time.' The grittiest people have developed long-term goals and are constantly working toward them."
—The Wall Street Journal

“[Have] no doubt: Grit is great. It's a lucid, informative, and entertaining review of the research Angela has assiduously conducted over the past decade or so. The book also includes suggestions on how to develop grit, and how we can help support grit in others. There are few people who wouldn't learn something from this book.”
Scientific American (blog)

"An informative and inspiring contribution to the literature of success."
—Publishers Weekly

"Grit is a useful guide for parents or teachers looking for confirmation that passion and persistence matter, and for inspiring models of how to cultivate these important qualities."
—The Washington Post

"[Blends] anecdote and science, statistic and yarn...Not your grandpa's self-help book, but Duckworth's text is oddly encouraging, exhorting us to do better by trying harder, and a pleasure to read."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Engaging...With strong appeal for readers of Daniel H. Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, and Susan Cain, this is a must-have."
—Booklist

“Imagine that: a Philadelphia psychology professor setting the education world on fire with a one-syllable noun that just happens to define the city she currently calls home….Her book gives cause for hope and an immediate path to action.”
Philly.com

“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

“A robust and engaging read, as Duckworth intersperses her own research with stories from her Chinese-American background, as well as interviews with high achievers in sport, business and the military…[The book includes a] riveting section on raising gritty children. When Duckworth suggests trashing the common parenting line ‘That’s OK, you tried your best’ and replacing it with the demanding yet supportive ‘That didn’t work. Let’s talk about how you approached it and what might work better,’ she made me want to cheer.”
—The Toronto Star

“A contemporary classic—a clarifying and deeply-researched book in the tradition of Stephen Covey and Carol Dweck. For anyone hoping to work smarter or live better, Grit is an essential—and perhaps life-changing—read.”
—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times-bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human

Grit is a persuasive and fascinating response to the cult of IQ fundamentalism. Duckworth reminds us that it is character and perseverance that set the successful apart.”
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers

"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

“Impressively fresh and original…Grit scrubs away preconceptions about how far our potential can take us.”
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“Fascinating. Angela Duckworth pulls together decades of psychological research, inspiring success stories from business and sports, and her own unique personal experience and distills it all into a set of practical strategies to make yourself and your children more motivated, more passionate, and more persistent at work and at school.”
Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed

“This book will change your life. Fascinating, rigorous, and practical, Grit is destined to be a classic in the literature of success.”
Dan Heath, co-author of Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive

“Utterly captivating, inspiring and original…Once you pick up Grit, you won't be able to tear yourself away.”
Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School professor and author of Presence

“Enlightening…Grit teaches that life’s high peaks aren’t necessarily conquered by the naturally nimble but, rather, by those willing to endure, wait out the storm, and try again.”
Ed Viesturs, Seven-Time Climber of Mount Everest and author of No Shortcuts to the Top

“I kept wanting to read this book aloud—to my child, my husband, to everyone I care about. There are no shortcuts to greatness, it's true. But there is a roadmap, and you are holding it.”
Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

“Readable, compelling and totally persuasive. The ideas in this book have the potential to transform education, management and the way its readers live. Angela Duckworth’s Grit is a national treasure.”
Lawrence H. Summers, Former Secretary of the Treasury and President Emeritus at Harvard University

“Masterful…Grit offers a truly sane perspective: that true success comes when we devote ourselves to endeavors that give us joy and purpose.”
Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive

“I’m convinced there are no more important qualities in striving for excellence than those that create true grit...I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.”
Brad Stevens, Coach of the Boston Celtics

“Empowering…Angela Duckworth compels attention with her idea that regular individuals who exercise self-control and perseverance can reach as high as those who are naturally talented—that your mindset is as important as your mind.”
Soledad O’Brien, Chairman of Starfish MediaGroup and former co-anchor of CNN’s “American Morning”

“Invaluable…In a world where access to knowledge is unprecedented, this book describes the key trait of those who will optimally take advantage of it. Grit will inspire everyone who reads it to stick to something hard that they have a passion for.”
Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

“A combination of rich science, compelling stories, crisp graceful prose, and appealingly personal examples…Without a doubt, this is the most transformative, eye-opening book I’ve read this year.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor, University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness

“Incredibly important…There is deeply embodied grit, which is born of love, purpose, truth to one's core under ferocious heat, and a relentless passion for what can only be revealed on the razor’s edge; and there is the cool, patient, disciplined cultivation and study of resilience that can teach us all how to get there. Angela Duckworth's masterpiece straddles both worlds, offering a level of nuance that I haven’t read before.”
Josh Waitzkin, International Chess Master, Tai Chi Push Hands World Champion, and author of The Art of Learning

“A thoughtful and engaging exploration of what predicts success. Grit takes on widespread misconceptions and predictors of what makes us strive harder and push further…Duckworth’s own story, wound throughout her research, ends up demonstrating her theory best; passion and perseverance make up grit.”
Tory Burch, Chairman, CEO and Designer of Tory Burch

“I love an idea that challenges our conventional wisdom and 'grit' does just that! Put aside what you think you know about getting ahead and outlasting your competition, even if they are more talented. Getting smarter won't help you—sticking with it, will!”
Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last

“A combination of rich science, compelling stories, crisp graceful prose, and appealingly personal examples…Without a doubt, this is the most transformative, eye-opening book I’ve read this year.”
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor, University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness

“Profoundly important. For eons, we've been trapped inside the myth of innate talent. Angela Duckworth shines a bright light into a truer understanding of how we achieve. We owe her a great debt.”
—David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ

“An important book...In these pages, the leading scholarly expert on the power of grit (what my mom called 'stick-to-it-iveness') carries her message to a wider audience, using apt anecdotes and aphorisms to illustrate how we can usefully apply her insights to our own lives and those of our kids.
—Robert D. Putnam, Professor of Public Policy at Harvard and author of Bowling Alone and Our Kids

“This book gets into your head, which is where it belongs…For educators who want our kids to succeed, this is an indispensable read.”
Joel Klein, former Chancellor, New York City public schools

Grit delivers! Angela Duckworth shares the stories, the science, and the positivity behind sustained success…A must-read.”
Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and Love 2.0 and President of the International Positive Psychology Association

“Profoundly important. For eons, we've been trapped inside the myth of innate talent. Angela Duckworth shines a bright light into a truer understanding of how we achieve. We owe her a great debt.”
—David Shenk, author of The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ

Grit delivers! Angela Duckworth shares the stories, the science, and the positivity behind sustained success…A must-read.”
Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and Love 2.0 and President of the International Positive Psychology Association

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images