Book Review: Grit by Angela Duckworth

What the book is about: 

This nonfiction book explores the idea of grit – what it is, if it can be developed, or if it’s an innate characteristic and then how important grit is to achieving success in life.

Reading this book has given me a totally new perspective on grit and discipline. I talked about discipline around here a while ago and at that time, I hadn’t read this book, so I was going off whatever knowledge I had at that time.

It has since been confirmed to me that grit is a characteristic that can be grown and developed, and therefore discipline can be grown and developed. Angela Duckworth shares the conclusions from an immense amount of research in this book in a way that makes you want to continue reading instead of in a dry, textbook sort of way. She sprinkles in plenty of anecdotal evidence to illustrate research conclusions.

Included in the book is also the Grit Inventory, which is a set of questions that determine your Grit score (how gritty you are) and what that might mean for achieving your life goals.


What I liked:

  • As a nerd, I thoroughly enjoyed all the research talk in her book. I also have a psychology background, so it felt like she was speaking my language.
  • The practical nature of the book really appealed to me. Every section I read, I felt as though there was a principle I could apply directly to my own life. My life has improved because of this book.
  • The conversational tone of the book made it an easy and enjoyable read. I was also able to easily pick back up after leaving off for a few days.
  • Inclusion of her own personal story into the book also gave it an intimate feel, as though we really were just sitting across the coffee table from each other, having a conversation about it.


What I didn’t like:

  • Very occasionally, I felt that she hammered a point a little too hard and stayed on it just a hair too long.
  • The erroneous picture of her dad that she paints near the beginning of the book, but then clarifies by the end. I understand the point she was trying to make, but it was too easy to see her dad in a negative light and hold it until the end of the book.


What writers should look to include in their writing:

  • Enough personal anecdotes to feel like a real person behind the book, and not just perfection either.
  • Passion – I could sense her passion for this subject almost immediately in the book and it carried all the way through. No matter what she specifically talked about, I caught the passion.


Overall thoughts and opinions:

I enjoyed this book from the first page to the last page. All the psychology talk and terminology was right in my wheelhouse and I was able to easily keep pace with her thoughts and ideas. While some may find reciting research conclusions to be dry or boring, I find it very exciting and interesting, so there may be a requisite nerd factor to really enjoy this book.

Her conclusions were thoughtfully worked up and given practical application. I never felt like I needed to do things perfectly, but to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I also really applauded her stance on extra-curriculars for kids – that forcing them to stay in for 2 years, but then allowing for change and exploration was spot on. It can be easy to pinhole kids into tiny boxes instead of allowing them to explore a wide variety of subjects, so this method develops grit and at the same time allows for plenty of interest exploration.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone to read. I heartily give five stars.

5 star rating

Read more about Grit and Angela Duckworth.


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