Book Review: “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character”

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Last week I went to Baltimore to learn from and alongside other educators in the Expeditionary Learning Network.  The keynote speaker for the conference was Paul Tough, the author of “How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.”  Tough’s book has become quite popular among those involved or interested in K-12 education.   I finished reading it on the plane ride back to Denver and thought I would provide a quick review.

Throughout the book Tough describes how character supports academic achievement and overall success in life.  Among these skills are persistence, self-control, grit, and self-confidence.

I enjoyed how Tough shares his ideas through a series of different stories involving teachers and students he got to know while writing the book, most notably Kewauna Lerma’s story, a Chicago teenager.  In Kewauna’s story, Tough explains how the development of important noncognitive or character skills (conscientiousness, volition, ability to delay immediate gratification) can help even the most struggling students turn things around for the better.

This book was an enjoyable read that got me thinking about how we can better teach and develop important character strengths such as those Tough outlines in his book.

If you have read this book, what did you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is one of the great books for educators that I have read.  Take a look at some of my other favorite top teaching books.

Thanks for reading,


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