Book in 1 paragraph

As a society we over-estimate the notion of genius & talent, over hard work & grit.

Every single success we see in this world came from hard work. Not just talent

This book summaries Dr Duckworth’s decades of research and empirical evidence that perrservence will win over talent over time.

Note: Research in this area is still in its infancy. Most of the evidence in the book is <20 years of research, or empircal


5 Key Ideas

β€’ Grit is the determining factor for a success. Trump's all else. Hard work, plus constant competition will bring out the best. The world is abound with examples of hard work by the less Talented beating out the Talented in quantitative measurements

β€’ It’s possible to measure, train and improve Grit

β€’ The 4 stages of Grit are: Interest, Practice, Purpose and Hope. There are ways to maximise one’s approach to each of those stages to improve grit and the virtuous cycle of success

β€’ Culture for Grit comes from setting clear expectations from leadership level, lead by example, and set out explicitly to build a gritty team (which in turn will attract others)

β€’ Parenting can be both affectionate and with clear expectations of grit. Lead by example and rules in households that everyone can follow


‍John Irving the novelist had dyslexia and often thought to be dumb and lacy in school - he was neither. He became an exceptional writer through sheer effort. Rewriting and editing his manuscripts up to 10 times. His belief was in his stamina to be able to edit.

Do the precociously talented ever identify the bed to exert great effort and realise that success only comes after exceptionally painful work?

Grit is about stamina. Not intensity. It's about staying in love, and not just falling in love (with something)

Grit like all psychological traits, both genetic and environmental, it’s also polygenetic (affected by more than 1 gene, like height which is affected by 250 different genes, along with other effects combination of genes produce)

Social Multiplier Effect

β€’ Virtuous cycle where as each of us got better, we uplift the capability of those around us in the same environment, on and on like a ripple in a pond it lifts everyone. This is why average IQ has increased by 50 points over the last century for kids, specifically in abstract reasoning.

β€’ TV was a big change, in broadcasting things like Basketball techniques (and other things) to kids the world over, without having to attend a live game. Now all kids knew how to do a line up, or a left handed line up, etc. And levels of the game rose

Formula for Growth

Talent x effort = skill

Skill x effort = achievement

β€’ Talent is how quickly we improve when applied Effort.

β€’ Achievement is when we take our skills and use them and be acknowledged for our contributions.

β€’ Note: That first 10,000 hours may only improve Skill. After that continued effort may see us Achieve

How to foster grit

β€’ Change environment where we're forced to have more grit

β€’ Identify

4 Stages of Grit


where passion begins. The activity has an element of play, fun and even obsession that draws us in

β€’ "just because you like something doesn't mean you're good at it" Amy Chu to Angela

β€’ Becoming skillful takes work. So at this stage is all about fostering interest

β€’ Is not an instant event. Will take time to unearth and discover

β€’ Play is an essential part of building interest

β€’ Kids with over bearing parents will turn kids off the hobby. Whereas kids whose parents who allow them to make their own choice is faster at building interest

β€’ How to foster interest?

β€’ What triggered my interest in childhood

β€’ What triggers my interest now?

β€’ Experiment with different things. How do I feel about the novelty, the skills used?


Expert: Ericsson - deliberate practice

"whatever it takes I want to improve". Hours and hours of deliberate practice is a must

β€’ Not just quantity of practice, but quality (deliberate practice)

β€’ "deliberate practice is for preparation, and flow is for performance"

β€’ Deliberate practice used to take in all instillation and working on improving a specific Suk

β€’ Flow is the feeling of doing something and is just at the right level of skills for us. And feels pleasurable.

β€’ Need Deliberate practice to improve quickly. Need Flow when producing work steadily

β€’ Deliberate practice ingredients

β€’ A clear goal with focus on a small, chunked skillset too work on

β€’ Constant feedback - mostly negative on how to get better

β€’ Mentally (and physically) draining training - Max 1 hope before meeting break even for experts

β€’ A world class coach

β€’ Forming habit and a daily routine helps deliberate practice. Won't be as hard to start and keep it going. Virtuous cycle upwards


A deeper meaning to improving the world will drive us in the long run - "must be personally interesting and integral to the well being of others"

β€’ What is a job

β€’ I’m laying bricks - Job

β€’ I’m building a Church - Career

β€’ I’m building the house of God - Calling

β€’ Those working toward a Calling (good or bad) are more gritty, take less sick days, feel happier & more fulfilled

β€’ Whether it’s a Job, Career, or Calling is totally dependent on personal opinion. Not the actual job or role

β€’ Similar to interest, Is not an instant event. Will take time to unearth and discover


Hope that things will improve, and we’ll get better. Essential for every stage of grit.

β€’ Can be cultivated

β€’ Comes from growth mindset - cultivated through failures and learning to get up again, realising effort can have positive impact on outcome.

β€’ Just as helplessness leading to eventual depression can be cultivated in continuous exposure to negative situations where we have no control

β€’ Self talk: Optimists when criticising self focus on recent action (I didn't manage my time). Pessimists focus on Β characteristic that we can't change Β (I'll a loser)

β€’ Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to improve self talk, and reduce depression better than anti depressants

β€’ The major worry are those who crusted through life without failures (will be scared by first failure), and those with fixed mind set who never learnt to get up from a failure (will be afraid to try)


Parenting for Grit

β€’ Possible to be both affectionate and have firm expectation with our kids

β€’ Class is boring, texting friends is fun, but it doesn't foster learning. Extra curricular activity is both learning inducing and fun. Offering a structured path to grit (assuming we can Β find a nurturing and strict teacher)

β€’ Extra-curricula activity is a shortcut way for kids to build confidence & grit in themselves to try other hard things

β€’ socially: something poor kids & their schools don’t offer - β€œthe worst playing field” ever

β€’ Angela’s grit rule for her home

β€’ Everyone at home must choose a hard thing they practice every single day with discipline

β€’ Everyone must stick with the hard thing to a natural conclusion (giving up is ok, but must be at natural milestone). β€œNatural” as in when term, tuition is due.

β€’ Can’t give up hard thing on a particular bad day

β€’ Everyone gets to choose their own hard thing

β€’ Once in high school, kids must stick with a hard thing for a year


A Gritty (Company) Culture

β€’ Grit in a business setting is more effective than theory in a University setting

β€’ "lectures don't have half the effect of Β consequences"

β€’ businesses only want outcomes. Theory means little

β€’ Join an environment / team for grit and we can become grittier

β€’ Likewise, someone who has more grit than their peers could push the whole team forward

β€’ A gritty culture starts with the leader who intentionally goes out to build the culture

β€’ Be clear with language - no synonyms. Consistent messaging

β€’ A focus on talent, especially rewarding top performer and culling the bottom will foster a culture of smugness, eliteism and ongoing deception for those at the top for deceit. Better to focus on Β provide one challenge after another to your team in a supportive environment, and offer help where needed

β€’ Leading from the front (lead your charges facing the same dangers), is a better strategy than fear driven motivation (an attrition model) - this was applied at West Point to create better leaders

β€’ This also means sitting down with as struggling team mate to work out a plan for unpretentious that boats confidence do they can find their feet to eventually progress independently
Β  Β β€’ It's a mindset and culture of belief & support (yes, you can), than one of fear driven hazing (get up here you maggot)

Grit and Happiness

β€’ Being Gritty, and having the courage and discipline to carry on something is very very hard.

β€’ But it offers a sense of fulfilment that people crave.

β€’ Being Gritty = being much happier with life

β€’ Too much Grit: not enough evidence say it’s a bad thing. But it’s ok to give up on things to allow room for new activities



"As much as talent counts. Effort counts twice”


"Enthusiasm is common, endurance is rare”


"Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quiet another”


"hiring McKinsey meant hiring the brightest. As if being the brightest made us the best”


β€œ...there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time―longer than most people've got to apply those skills and produce goods or services that are valuable to people....Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you're willing to stay loyal to's doing what you love, but not just falling in love―staying in love.”


β€œI won’t just have a job; I’ll have a calling. I’ll challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I’ll get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I’ll strive to be the grittiest.”


β€œWhen you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them. When you stop searching, assuming they can’t be found, you guarantee they won”


"We prefer or excellence fully formed. We prefer mystery to mundanity”


"greatness is doable. Greatness is many many individuals feats and each of them is doable”


"just because you love something doesn't mean you'll be great" Amy Chu to Angela


"how you see yourself is more important than job title”


Quote: "Bill [gates] only hired programmers who finish what they started”


[Parenting] "My goal was to provide them discipline. To go at things hard, you have to learn those things. They don’t just happen. It’s important for me to teach the kids you finish what you begin.” - Quote from Sherry and β€œGrit”


β€œIf you define genius as accomplish great things in life without effort. Then, I’m no genius, and neither is he. But if instead, if you define genius as working toward excellence with every fibre of your being. Then in fact, my dad is a genius, then so am I. And so is Coates, and if you are willing, so are you."