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How Children Succeed

Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Tough, Paul

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
How Children Succeed
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 this book the author argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. The book 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, the author traces the links between childhood stress and life success. 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 help children growing up in poverty. Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, can not only affect the conditions of children's lives, it can alter the physical development of their brains as well. But now educators and doctors around the country are using that knowledge to develop innovative interventions that allow children to overcome the constraints of poverty. And with the help of these new strategies, as the author's reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things. This book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, how we construct our social safety net and also to change our understanding of childhood itself.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
ISBN: 0547564651
Characteristics: xxiv, 231 pages ;,24 cm


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Jun 12, 2013
  • burnabytom rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a great book. Surprising in the revelations and easy to read. If you have children, this is an important book to read.

May 14, 2013

Did you know we have this title as an ebook as well?

Mar 15, 2013

Yeah!! You do not need to know Algebra :)

Jan 22, 2013
  • danielestes rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Paul Tough's How Children Succeed challenges the conventional wisdom of educational success being significantly correlated with acquired knowledge and IQ. Character, he argues, is a much better measure even if it's not easily measurable.

I agree with Tough's assertion, and he presents a number of impressive case studies to make his point. A child raised in poverty will have many more obstacles to overcome before successfully reaching adulthood, but we must not discount the character-building worth a difficult upbringing will cause, stressful though it is. There's a value that comes from hardships of this kind, and, if channeled properly, this school-of-hard-knocks is perhaps the greatest teacher.

Oct 05, 2012
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

After reading a few reviews of "How Children Succeed," I expected a how-to book for parents and educators including tips on building character. Instead, "New York Times Magazine" editor Paul Tough presents the argument that children's non-cognitive skills like persistence, conscientiousness and grit predict success more accurately than their cognitive ones.

Tough interviewed economists, psychologists and neuroscientists, examined their recent research, and talked to students, teachers and principals before publishing this fascinating overview of a new approach to teaching struggling students. These students may lack cognitive training but Tough shows that policymakers intent on closing the achievement gap between affluent and poor children must go beyond classroom interventions and supplement the parenting resources of disadvantaged Americans. He reveals a stunning correlation between traumatic childhood events and negative adult outcomes, emphasizing the importance of close, nurturing relationships. Finally, Tough cites many examples of failing students who turned things around by acquiring character skills that substituted for the social safety net enjoyed by affluent students.

Well-written and filled with fresh ideas, "How Children Succeed" makes for a thought-provoking read.


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app14 Version ofelia Last updated 2015/03/23 12:01