After watching her TED talk on The Power of Passion and Perseverance, I knew it was a matter of time before reading her book on the same topic.

Angela Duckworth defines grit not as “genius” but rather a combination of passion & long-term perseverance. She uses study after study to show how grit leads to success much more than talent or natural ability does.

Success is a number of things and one of those things is grit, perseverance.

Duckworth shares a study looking at why one person would grow up to be an optimist and another to be a pessimist.

An excellent read. Some takeaways:

– Why effort is important [effort can make a change to the brain structure, as the brain is remarkable adaptive].

– Why deliberate practice is a crucial part to experience the “flow” condition.

– Why we have to learn how to fail and look back to our mistakes and ask: “what did I learn, how can I make it better the next time, how to make the right kind of effort”.

– IQ is not fixed, so are other qualities.

– The circle of struggle, followed by progress, followed by trying something even harder.

– Talent is common, attitude is more important.

– How should you parent for grit. What are the “wise” type of parents?

– Character is plural. There are intrapersonal character [including grit, self-control…], interpersonal character [gratitude, social intelligence), and intellectual character (curiosity, zest].



I felt like this book was very impactful. Duckworth simplified the message, shared many examples, and showed the way to grow and cultivate grit.

The book increased my hope that I can become more gritty and to reach my most important goals. That hope by itself increases my grittiness a touch.

There was so much meat in this book. Each chapter had me thinking and reflecting about the value and necessity of trying again.

There were some areas in the book where I felt like is written for the American environment. In Africa, specifically, coming from a poor environment, just having grit is not sufficient. The environment you are located in has an impact on the achievement of people.

There are many people who work hard, persevere over a longer period of time but have not achieved the level of success that is worth writing home about.

Favourite Quotes:

  • “As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
  • “To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”
  • “Language is one way to cultivate hope. But modelling a growth mindset — demonstrating by our actions that we truly believe people can learn to learn — may be even more important.”
  • “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
  • “Gritty people do more deliberate practice and experience more flow.”
  • “(H)ere’s what science has to say: passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening.”
  • “There’s a vast amount of research on what happens when we believe a student is especially talented. We begin to lavish extra attention on them and hold them to higher expectations. We expect them to excel, and that expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

One thought on “Book Review: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

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