Book Review ‘How Children Succeed’, Paul Tough

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11+, GCSEs, A levels – it sometimes seems like the story of our children’s lives is of one academic test after another. We’re convinced that a good performance in these exams will lead to success later on in life. But what if we’re wrong?

In fact, studies are increasingly showing that the qualities most likely to ensure a better degree, a better job and, ultimately, a more fulfilling life are perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. These are qualities known to economists as ‘non-cognitive’, to psychologists as ‘personality traits’ but to the rest of us as ‘character’.

Publisher:  Random House Books

Reviewer:  Tiffany Cook

I’ve  always been a bit wary of parenting handbooks as there are so many conflicting views on what’s the best way to raise children, but I found this book really interesting and not the usual ‘do things this way or your child will fail’ kind of thing. The book looks at how character traits such as resilience, optimism, and self control can be as influential  in whether a child succeeds as academic abilities regardless of background.

Backed up by thorough scientific research and fascinating case studies, Tough gives a compelling argument for the need to prioritise the teaching of these values in order to give your child a fighting chance.  The title is a little misleading as the majority of case studies included are teenagers rather than young children.

I would definitely recommend reading this book, the clear and simple to understand scientific information and Tough’s easy to read writing style make it a compelling read.

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