October 29, 2013

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

Growing Up Well -- A young child's social and emotional development is at least equally as important as the child's intellectual and cognitive development. As a society, the United States of America has a long way to go before this scientific fact is reflected in public policies and embedded within cultural norms for how we treat and what we expect from new families. Paul Tough delves into this subject with great enthusiasm, a keen eye, and a gift for telling stories. He notes, for example, that when 16-year-old James Heckman received his Social Security card in the mail, the first thing this future Nobel Prize-winning economist did was to take his Social Security number and resolve it into primes. The guy loves math! Tough's book also features an eye-opening reminder for me: Angela Duckworth, a professor at Penn, has examined the difference between motivation and volition. Basically, a person can "want" something to change, but do they "chose" to make the change occur? Do they have a plan, a path, to actually achieve the desired change? Volition is what changes a life -- and the world.

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