How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

83%

10 Critic Reviews

...any social or financial observer, as well as those who are compelled by human-interest stories, would be wise to hear what Tough has to say.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

“Drop the flashcards—grit, character, and curiosity matter even more than cognitive skills. A persuasive wake-up call.”—People

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

“Illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it’s a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall.”—New York Times

“I learned so much reading this book and I came away full of hope about how we can make life better for all kinds of kids.”—Slate
 

About Paul Tough

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PAUL TOUGH is an editor at the New York Times Magazine and one of America's foremost writers on poverty, education, and the achievement gap. His reporting on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone originally appeared as a Times Magazine cover story. He lives with his wife in New York City.
 
Published September 4, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 256 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Science & Math, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Oct 14 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for How Children Succeed
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Geraldine Brennan on Jan 20 2013

The author has followed some of urban America's poorest young people...and revealing how their teachers are compensating for the missing investment in their early years by fostering what Tough sums up as "character".

Read Full Review of How Children Succeed: Grit, C... | See more reviews from Guardian

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by ANNIE MURPHY PAUL on Aug 23 2012

Though the title “How Children Succeed” makes the book sound like an instruction manual for parents, it’s really a guide to the ironies and perversities of income inequality in America.

Read Full Review of How Children Succeed: Grit, C... | See more reviews from NY Times

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Dr Joseph S Maresca on Jun 16 2013

...an important educational resource on child development which every parent and educator should read.

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The Economist

Good
on Jan 19 2013

After decades of failed efforts to improve the lives of poor students, Mr Tough has written a fine and provocative book about the kind of work that seems to be making a difference.

Read Full Review of How Children Succeed: Grit, C... | See more reviews from The Economist

Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Judy Bolton-Fasman on Sep 21 2012

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, rises to the top of the parenting book pile for its deep exploration of failure and the ways in which it builds character in our kids.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Natalie Wexler

...it’s not obvious from this book exactly what teachers and school systems should do to implement Tough’s findings. It’s clearly not enough to festoon the halls with slogans like “Work Hard” and “Be Nice.”

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Claudia Gold on Sep 03 2012

He is bringing this issue to the forefront of public discussion. I am thrilled to be in the company of Tough

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Mother Jones

Excellent
Reviewed by Deanna Pan on Sep 03 2012

Tough mines the literature and powwows with scientists, high school principals, and a middle-school chess team to show why it's likely these "noncognitive" skills, not measures like IQ, matter most.

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Joseph Cotto on Nov 28 2012

...any social or financial observer, as well as those who are compelled by human-interest stories, would be wise to hear what Tough has to say.

Read Full Review of How Children Succeed: Grit, C... | See more reviews from Washington Times

Washington Monthly

Excellent
Reviewed by Thomas Toch

an engaging book that casts the school reform debate in a provocative new light.

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