Book Review #10/50 – Grit by Angela Duckworth

This book from the cover to the notes page is life changing ! The last time Krishnan and I have said this for a book is 29 years back when we first read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by the late Stephen Covey. After that, its this book that will be added to our forever reference list.

I completed reading the book almost two weeks back but was re-reading portions of it almost everyday. So bottom line on top – THIS IS a MUST READ for almost everyone and especially for parents. Today’s children are being brought up to have almost no resilience in the face of failures and thats a dangerous parenting trend. Do read this book to learn how to develop grit in your children and the good news is, it can be done at any time… its not like a physical or mental attribute that you are born with and cannot change, its something that can be developed.

I have almost highlighted the whole book and whatever I left out was highlighted by Krishnan. So am just going to quote some of the statements from the book that bring out the essence of it.

Right in the “Preface” this caught my attention and set the tone for the rest of the book – “……what we eventually accomplish may depend more on our passion and perseverance than on our innate talent.”

“Some people are great when things are going well, but they fall apart when things aren’t”

If I had to choose just one statement in a book full of spectacular statements, then I would choose this on page 14 … “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” So many examples of people with high potential not going too far because they either lacked the passion or the perseverance or both, in other words, potential with no “grit” doesn’t go too far.

The world over we focus on “natural abilities” and “talent”. A beautiful statement shows our flawed approach – “….By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors-including grit – don’t matter as much as they really do.” Then the quote from Nietzsche on page 39, “..Our vanity, self-love, promotes the cult of the genius,” Nietzsche said.”For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking.” “…In other words, mythologizing natural talent lets us all off the hook. It lets us relax into the status quo.”

Yet another gem on page 50 – “… As any coach or athlete will tell you, consistency of effort over the long run is everything.” This is so true especially for maintaining our health and exercising. Consistency of effort matters and produces results and never some shortcut diet, pill or fad.

If I could choose two statements then the second one would be this, on page 58 – “… Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”

And the good news about “Nature Vs nurture”… on page 86 “.. In dozens of studies that have followed people over years and decades, the trends are clear. Most of us become more conscientious, confident, caring and calm with life experience. A lot of that change happens between the ages of twenty and forty, but, in fact, there’s no epoch in the human life span where personality stops evolving.” Then again on page 92 – “The four psychological assets of interest, practice, purpose and hope are not You have it or you don’t commodities. You can learn to discover, develop and deepen your interests. You can acquire the habit of discipline. You can cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning. And you can teach yourself to hope. You can grow your grit from the inside out.”

Read the rest of the book to learn to do all of the above :):).

To the author Angela – thanks for writing this book. You have validated some of our beliefs with research and given us hope that anyone can learn to be gritty and successful. Thank you.

To my friend Amit who suggested I read this book – a big thank you !. This is the second outstanding book recommendation from him.


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