August 26, 2019

Book Review and Infographic: Grit by Angela Duckworth

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

by Angela Duckworth

Genres: Nonfiction, Self Help
Publisher: Collins
Length: 352 pages
Published: May 3, 2016
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 or 4 out of 5 stars (infographic down below!)

Official Book Summary:

"In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, students, and business people both seasoned and new that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called grit.

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not genius, but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own character lab and set out to test her theory.

Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, 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 the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that not talent or luck makes all the difference."


"Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare."

Excerpt (from Chapter One):

"Why were the highly accomplished so dogged in their pursuits? For most, there was no realistic expectation of ever catching up to their ambitions. In their own eyes, they were never good enough. They were the opposite of complacent. And yet, in a very real sense, they were satisfied being unsatisfied. Each was chasing something of unparalleled interest and importance, and it was the chase--as much as the capture--that was gratifying. Even if some of the things they had to do were boring, or frustrating, or even painful, they wouldn't dream of giving up. Their passion was enduring.

"In sum, no matter the domain, the highly successful had a kind of ferocious determination that played out in two ways. First, these exemplars were unusually resilient and hardworking. Second, they knew in a very, very deep way what it was they wanted. They not only had determination, they had direction.

"It was this combination of passion and perseverance that made high achievers special. In a word, they had grit."

My Book Review (Plus My Infographic!):

The premise for Angela Duckworth's Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a great idea. Duckworth proposes many valid points about our individual ability to develop and increase grit to help further personal character. However, I'm not fully satisfied with many of her examples. Duckworth places extreme value and repeated emphasis on fame, celebrity, and money. She also dances around fully addressing issues like mental health, life-work balance, socio-economic disadvantages, gender, race, and prejudice.

I've translated some of my thoughts about Duckworth's key ideas and my responses into this infographic below:



  1. This is, perhaps, one of the most detailed review of a book I've ever read. Well done.

  2. I am also very concerned about this book's omissions. For its intended audience (the self-help crowd, presumably), the advice will do well enough. But sociologically it seems to also have all the flaws of any theory that supports meritocracy - for example, a crucially flawed method of measuring success.

  3. Thank you so much, i decide to buy this book soon