"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough

            Paul Tough's How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character is an eye-opening look at what causes students to not only attend college, but to graduate from college.  This book is a must-read for educators and parents alike.

           Reading this book, I felt like Tough was writing what I've been thinking for years.  Intelligence is certainly a key factor in student success, but it isn't everything.  We all know extremely intelligent people who have floundered through life, allowing drugs and other addictions to take the place of worthwhile pursuits.  And we all know less intelligent people who have done extremely well in their chosen fields. 

            What makes the difference?  Tough examines anecdotal evidence and research alike to come to the conclusion that it is character traits that cause people to succeed - not just at college, but in life in general.  These character traits aren't just morals like honesty and generosity.  They are things like stick-to-it-ness (grit), curiosity, and a strong work ethic.

            This book does not answer the question of how to teach people these traits.  But it makes a strong case that they can be learned.  Anyone who does not understand why education is so deeply linked to psychology will learn a great deal from this book.  It is a wonderful springboard for a vital conversation - what should we be teaching our children.

            Well done, Mr. Tough.  Someone finally said it!

Five out of Five Stars