Grit

by Angela Duckworth

This was a really interesting book about the role that perseverance plays in the development of successful people across a variety of disciplines. Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and addresses this topic with a very disciplined academic analysis of statistical data, but she also incorporates plenty of anecdotal examples to illustrate her findings and really engage her readers. She describes “grit” as a combination of passion and perseverance common to high achievers in academics, sports, business, and various other endeavors.

The author actually developed a scale to objectively measure grit in individuals and gives some guidelines for readers to evaluate their own grittiness. She also provides recommendations for developing four aspects of grit: interest, practice, purpose, and hope.

I took a lot of great ideas and encouragement from this book. In particular, as it relates to my own ambitions for going to Mars, I know that I have a deep passion for this project, but I I want to make sure that passion endures through the challenges and hard work that will be required to achieve that goal. With regard to practice- specifically practice at a high level- I need to find someone to act as a coach or a mentor to provide a different perspective, help me chart a course, hold me accountable, and help gauge my progress. This was probably my biggest take away from this book. The discussion of purpose ties in with another book that I just finished reading, Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Together these two books prompted me to explore my motivations with more intention. I also really liked the discussion of hope and having a growth mindset. She points out that high achievers aren’t spared from failure, but tend to be intentional about learning from their failures to overcome adversity. Furthermore she suggests that happiness may be a catalyst for success rather than a result of achievement.

I really enjoyed this book and will probably read it again. There is a lot of scholarly description of different psychology studies and statistical trends, but it’s all distilled down to layman’s terms. I especially like the recommendations that readers can take to develop grit in themselves and other individuals that they teach, mentor, or parent. ⭐⭐⭐⭐