Grit Reading Guide: Unlocking the Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” is a groundbreaking book by Angela Duckworth that explores the concept of grit and its impact on success. In this compelling and insightful book, Duckworth challenges the conventional beliefs about talent, IQ, and the factors that contribute to achievement. Drawing on her extensive research and personal experiences, she argues that it is not only talent or intelligence that determines success, but rather a unique combination of passion and perseverance known as grit. Throughout the book, Duckworth presents compelling evidence, real-life examples, and practical strategies to cultivate grit in individuals, whether it be in the classroom, workplace, or personal pursuits. With its practical insights and thought-provoking ideas, “Grit” has emerged as a powerful guide to unlocking potential and achieving long-term goals.

Grit List

1. Introduction: What is grit and why is it important?

2. Chapter 1: Showing up – The importance of perseverance and passion

3. Chapter 2: Distracted by talent – Why talent alone is not enough

4. Chapter 3: Effort counts twice – How effort and skill interact to lead to achievement

5. Chapter 4: How gritty are you? – Assessing and developing your own grit

6. Chapter 5: Grit grows – Cultivating grit in yourself and others

7. Chapter 6: Growing gritty kids – Strategies for fostering grit in children

8. Chapter 7: A culture of grit – Creating environments that promote grit

9. Chapter 8: Gritty leaders – The role of grit in leadership

10. Chapter 9: Conclusion – The power and potential of grit.

Author Background

Angela Duckworth is an American psychologist and researcher known for her work on the psychology of achievement and success. She is the author of the widely acclaimed book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” which explores the concept of grit and its role in achieving long-term goals.

Duckworth completed her undergraduate studies in neurobiology at Harvard University and later earned a master’s degree in neuroscience and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, she has conducted extensive research on traits like self-control, perseverance, and passion, aiming to understand what drives individuals to achieve high levels of success.

Duckworth has received numerous accolades for her work, including a MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the “Genius Grant”) in 2013. Her book “Grit” has been widely praised for its insightful exploration of the psychological factors behind success and its practical advice on how to develop and cultivate grit in individuals of all ages.

In addition to her research and writing, Duckworth serves as a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she continues to study and teach on the topics of grit, self-control, and achievement. She is also the founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing scientific research on character development and providing educators, parents, and policymakers with evidence-based tools to foster character growth in children.

Grit Book Club Questions

1. Is grit something that can be developed, or is it solely determined by nature and genetics?


The question of whether grit is a trait that can be developed or is solely determined by nature is a complex and controversial one. Angela Duckworth herself emphasizes the importance of effort and perseverance in building grit, suggesting that it is a malleable quality that can be cultivated. However, some argue that certain individuals may be inherently predisposed to greater levels of grit due to their genetics or upbringing.

Based on research, it seems that a combination of both nature and nurture play a role in the development of grit. While genetics may contribute to certain personality traits and predispositions, it is clear that environmental factors, upbringing, and personal experiences also shape an individual’s grit. Factors such as having supportive mentors, a challenging but supportive educational environment, and exposure to real-world experiences that require perseverance can all contribute to the development of grit.

Ultimately, it is important to recognize that while some individuals may have a natural inclination towards grit, it is a quality that can be nurtured and developed through intentional effort and practice. Grit is not solely determined by genetics, but rather a complex interplay between innate traits and external influences.

2. How can grit be balanced with the need for flexibility and adaptability in a rapidly changing world?


Grit is often associated with perseverance and a steadfast commitment to long-term goals. However, in a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt and be flexible is equally important. This begs the question of how grit can be balanced with the need for adaptability.

To strike a balance between grit and adaptability, individuals must learn to differentiate between “core” goals and “means” goals. Core goals represent the deeply held values and aspirations that are enduring throughout life, while means goals are the specific strategies or plans employed to achieve those core goals. By maintaining a focus on core goals while remaining open and flexible in the pursuit of means goals, individuals can embody both grit and adaptability.

Another key aspect is the willingness to re-evaluate and adjust goals when necessary. This requires an ability to recognize changing circumstances and priorities, and to adapt one’s plans accordingly. Being gritty does not mean being stubborn or inflexible; it means being persistent in the pursuit of core goals while being adaptable in the methods used to achieve them.

Developing a growth mindset, which emphasizes learning, experimentation, and embracing failure as an opportunity for growth, is also crucial in balancing grit with adaptability. Gritty individuals should be open to new ideas and willing to pivot when needed, without losing sight of their core goals.

3. Is there a dark side to grit, and if so, how should it be managed?


While grit is often celebrated as a positive and desirable quality, it is important to acknowledge that there may be a dark side to it as well. The relentless pursuit of goals can lead to sacrificing personal well-being, relationships, and ethical considerations. Consequently, the question arises of how to manage this potential dark side of grit.

Firstly, it is essential to cultivate self-awareness and ensure that goals align with one’s values and overall happiness. By regularly reflecting on one’s motivations and considering the potential consequences of one’s actions, individuals can avoid blindly pursuing goals that may be harmful in the long run.

Secondly, establishing boundaries and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial. Striving for long-term success does not mean neglecting other important areas of life, such as relationships or self-care. By setting limits and prioritizing self-care, individuals can prevent burnout and maintain overall well-being.

Moreover, fostering empathy and compassion alongside grit is important. By considering the impact of one’s actions on others and actively practicing kindness, individuals can avoid tunnel vision and ensure their pursuit of goals does not come at the expense of others’ well-being.

Lastly, seeking support and feedback from trusted mentors, friends, or family can provide valuable perspective and help individuals maintain a balanced approach. Accountability and guidance from others can prevent the negative aspects of grit from taking hold and ensure that one’s pursuit of goals remains ethical and beneficial for both oneself and others.

In summary, acknowledging and managing the potential dark side of grit involves self-awareness, establishing boundaries, cultivating empathy, and seeking support from others. This ensures that grit is channeled in a way that maximizes positive outcomes while minimizing potential harm.

Grit Similar Books

1. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck

This book explores the concept of having a growth mindset, emphasizing the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and perseverance. Similar to “Grit,” it helps readers understand how their mindset can impact their success in various areas of life.

2. Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

In this book, Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success, including hard work, opportunity, and cultural advantages. It provides insights into the role of dedicated practice and perseverance, aligning with the themes discussed in “Grit.”

3. “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

“Drive” explores the science behind motivation, unveiling the importance of intrinsic motivation, autonomy, and mastery. It provides a deeper understanding of the factors that fuel tenacity and perseverance – key elements in developing grit.

4. The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (TED Talk) by Angela Duckworth

In this 6-minute TED Talk, Duckworth shares her research findings on the concept of grit and offers insights into how it can be cultivated and developed. It serves as a great companion to her book “Grit” and allows readers to hear firsthand from the author on this topic.

5. “Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

This book explores the transformative power of gratitude, encouraging readers to cultivate a grateful attitude in all circumstances. While not directly related to “Grit,” it focuses on the mindset of appreciation and resilience, complementing the themes of perseverance and positive thinking discussed in Duckworth’s book.

6. “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.” by Daniel Coyle

“The Talent Code” delves into the idea that talent isn’t solely determined by genetics, but by deep practice, a supportive environment, and intentional effort. Coyle provides various examples to illustrate how individuals can develop their abilities through deliberate practice, aligning with the themes of growth and perseverance in “Grit.”

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