This book focuses on a simple question: “what are the skills that children need to be successful, particularly in college?”
Tough summarizes the best current research in Education, Cognitive Development, Developmental Psychology and Youth Development. The conclusion of the research was unexpected and remarkable and is as follows:
We, as a society, have placed too much emphasis on the “cognitive theory” that holds that success in college is a function of IQ, academic skills and SAT scores. These measurements have some relationship to collegiate success, but not as much as certain “non-cognitive skills”, including grit, self-control, optimism and gratitude. Tough also calls these “character skills”.
In short, a student with self-control, grit and optimism is more likely to graduate from college than a student with high IQ or top SAT scores.
The research is essentially indisputable and leads us to a tricky question: if these are the most important skills, then how do we foster them in our children?
The good news is that these “character skills” are, in fact, skills and not inherited attributes. Children can develop grit, learn self-control and cultivate optimism.
People who engage in these and other similar exercises develop increased optimism that remains in place even if they stop or reduce the exercises.
Since we are always looking for ways to help our campers grow at Camp Champions, this research has been quite inspirational to us.
We have introduced “evening rituals” that help the campers ritualize many of these exercises. Of course, the campers get regular exercise and discover activities that they enjoy enough to continue after camp that will keep them active. We have even worked directly with Shawn Achor to study optimism at camp and develop practices to cultivate optimism.
Steve Sir, The Camp Geek
I had the chance to speak with Dr. Madeline Levine, author of “The Price of Privilege” and “Teach Your Children Well”. She was a keynote speaker at the American Camp Association’s National Conference.
Her books do an exceptional job describing the challenges of successful people raising children. She has excellent advice on academic pressures, family values, the importance of sleep and (ultimately) the goals of parenting.
She also describes many of the failings of our education system and various other sources of stress that affect our children.
During her talk, she detailed the summer camp experiences of her three (very different) children. Each of them had grown meaningfully during their time at camp. What struck me was the fact that each of them had been impacted in very different ways. For her over-achiever, camp was a place to set and accomplish goals (which led to increased confidence) and to experience occasional failures (which led to resilience). Her introverted and “unusual” child found friends and acceptance. The third child had struggled to understand his place in the world. At camp, he found significance impacting other people, particularly younger campers.
In this instant New York Times bestseller, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.
In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with agrowth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.