How Children Succeed
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.