Friday, May 19, 2017

Book Review: GRIT

This is such a fascinating concept. One that was introduced to me in my developmental psychology class at University. It really was a fascinating book that intrigued me and surprised me. I really was sort of skeptical of how all this worked at first, and really thought that everything in this book would be relatively common knowledge. What surprised the most was how much I genuinely enjoyed reading about the research conducted on how important effort and perseverance is to being successful. Sure, at the surface this is such a basic concept, but the book and study really dives to the nitty-gritty scientifically on how we become successful and maintain it. 

I really believe the point of this research at first was to figure out how people become successful. Is it a deck of cards, a mix of our upbringing and resources given to us. Or by chance to we actually, make our own success? What role does luck play into all this?

"You can grow your grit 'from the inside out': You can cultivate your interests. You can develop a habit of daily challenge-exceeding-skill practice. You can connect your work to a purpose beyond yourself. And you can learn to hope when all seems lost. You can also grow your grit 'from the outside in.' Parents, coaches, teachers, bosses, mentors, friends -- developing your personal grit depends critically on other people."

That's where the book grit comes in. Duckworth calls perseverance and effort, grit. A gritty person is just simply someone that puts in a ton of effort, never gives up, and tries their best. In the end, her findings are that so-called natural talent can be helpful, but ultimately, of course, effort matters more. 

When you learn about developmental psychology, the topic of education often plays a prominent role. The current education research is almost solely based on grit. An example would be how grittier students do better, how effort matters, how teachers can cultivate grit and develop a better learning approach. Duckworth also stresses that it really isn't about those pieces of paper or grades, it's about what you really enjoy. 

I really enjoyed how this book explores the way so-called "gritty" people feel on some topics. Such as missions, or purposes in life. About how your mission outlook will directly affect your work. As a person hopefully going into the field of psychology, this was truly a fascinating topic. 

Also. One of my favorite parts of this book is when the author uses a humblebrag as a rhetorical device, '"My dad always told me I was no genius. Then I won a MacArthur Fellowship 'Genius Grant' on my research showing that hard work is more crucial to success than genius." This made me laugh a lot. The author is a little quick to pat herself on the back, it is amazing that she got an Ivy League education, but maybe she doesn't need to reference it so often in her book. There is a little name-dropping in this book, but it doesn't take away from the research and point in my opinion. 

Also, I can't finish this review without mentioning that she didn't thank her collaborators until the very end of the acknowledgments. This may be a super petty thing for me to be pointing out. It just doesn't feel very authentic and almost seems thrown in to avoid backlash. Below is what I am speaking about. 

"First and foremost, I want to thank my collaborators. I wrote this book in the first-person singular, using "I" when, in fact, pretty much everything I've done as a researcher or writer was accomplished by a plurality. The "we" who deserve credit -- in particular coauthors on published research -- are named individually in Notes. On their behalf, I extend a heartfelt thanks to our research teams who, collectively, made this research possible."

With all these useful features it is important to point out areas I feel this book could have improved on. So one of the biggest problems this book has, and a lot of psychology, self-help, productivity based books have is that they are repetitive. It is sort of a trap they fall into. They are really trying to prove their point, so they just say the same thing, over and over, again. Along the same line, this book gets a little "coach-y" it becomes a little fake and sugary at times. It isn't something that made me stop reading, but you do need to read it with the use of critical thinking. I recommend this to parents, teachers, college students. Anyone who is interested in education, psychology, theory, or research. 

Goodreads Description: 

In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people-both seasoned and new-that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.” Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own “character lab” and set out to test her theory.

Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, 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 the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

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

A Little Bout the Author: 

Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Prior to her career in research, she taught children math and science and was the founder of a summer school for low-income children that won the Better Government Award from the state of Massachusetts. 

She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, she founded the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development in children. 

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book.

Author Links: 

Goodreads // Amazon // Twitter // Website // Ted Talks 

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