How Children Succeed

How Children Succeed

Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Book - 2012
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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 How Children Succeed , Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed 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--Tough 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 Tough's extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.

This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
ISBN: 9780547564654
Branch Call Number: 372.210973 Tou
Characteristics: xxiv, 231 p.


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Jan 09, 2016

Success in education and in life involves a great deal more than having quality teachers and successfully completing schoolwork. Paul Tough compiles some fascinating research on the -- often invisible -- variables that affect how and how well children learn. From the permanent scar that numerous traumatic experiences in childhood potentially inscribe on our brains for the rest of our lives, to the ways in which challenges and failures build both character and long-term resilience. As a student who skated through K-12 with few challenges or failures and with little effort, only to find myself stumbling in a university setting, Tough's work evoked in me a number of "Aha!" moments, as well as considerations to bear in mind as I raise my own daughter.

Sep 23, 2013

Paul Tough discusses very important research on success. This is both interesting and important to parents of children, as you guide them to strive and succeed in school, sports, hobbies, and ultimately life. I also found it an interesting book to better understand drivers of success in the working world. Tough points out that character traits like perseverance, grit, and curiosity - contribute strongly to career success.

Jun 12, 2013

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

LibraryStaff May 14, 2013

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

JCLMELODYK Mar 15, 2013

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

Jan 22, 2013

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.

ksoles Oct 05, 2012

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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