education | April 05, 2016

First Look: Angela Duckworth’s New Book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

What really drives success? Is it our families, our cultures, our upbringings? Our socio-economic status? Raw IQ, EQ, our genetics, even genius? According to renowned psychologist and education speaker Angela Duckworth, real achievement often comes down to “grit”: a special mixture of enthusiasm and determination that, as a concept, is redefining more than just education. In her long-awaited book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (available May 3rd), Duckworth explains and dissects “grit” with personal stories, diligent research, and fascinating insights from diverse fields, exploring the secret to high-level performance and what could be the key to lasting, gratifying success.

In her effort to prove the connection between greatness and grit, Duckworth has culled data from across the country. Using examples drawn from West Point military cadets, National Spelling Bee hopefuls, teachers in the nation’s toughest schools, and NFL coaches and CEOs, Duckworth draws her conclusion—that success in life hinges on much more than your ability to learn quickly, and easily. For Duckworth, it’s all about the long game, and consistent effort, even when the going gets tough. “Grit,” as she proposes in her popular TED talk, “is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Called “a persuasive and fascinating response to the cult of I.Q. fundamentalism” by Malcolm Gladwell, Grit is perfect for educators, businesspeople, artists, and athletes—or just about anyone striving to be a top performer in their field. As she does in her thought-provoking keynotes on performance, psychology, education, and motivation, here Duckworth demonstrates that no matter your age or station in life, grit is something you can start to cultivate today.

Until Grit is available for purchase in May, here’s an extended write-up from the publisher, Simon & Schuster:

“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."

To book education speaker Angela Duckworth for a talk on her groundbreaking research on grit, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.