How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Paul Tough

How character is formed has been a topic of interest for a long time. But if we are to guide children and youth towards success in adulthood we need to explore the question, “Are these traits teachable?”. In How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough determines that qualities, also called non-cognitive skills - such as persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence - are the key drivers behind why some children do better than others as adults. More importantly, Tough draws attention to studies that explore this question, and interventions that aim to instill these traits in children and youth. This is especially relevant for children who grow up in poverty or conflict environments that do not necessarily nurture this type of skills development. Although Tough focuses on evidence from the US, he brings to light several areas for further exploration which are highly relevant to international youth workforce development.

For a full review of Paul Tough’s most recent work, How Children Succeed, click here, or purchase the book here.

Want to learn more? Join researchers and practitioners from around the globe at Making Cents’ 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, where Tough will keynote a session that synthesizes research findings about critical soft skills, strategies to teach, and how to measure progress, and what this means in practice.