How Children Succeed Book Summary - How Children Succeed Book explained in key points
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How Children Succeed summary

Paul Tough

Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

4.4 (141 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

How Children Succeed by Paul Tough presents eye-opening research and insights into the qualities that lead to success, including perseverance, curiosity, self-control, and grit. It provides practical strategies for parents and educators to cultivate these skills in children.

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    How Children Succeed
    Summary of 9 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 9

    Traumatic childhood experiences have a lasting negative impact.

    Thinking back on your childhood, could you say it was a happy one? Are there any traumatic experiences that stick out in your memory? While every good parent strives to create a safe and happy environment for their children that’s as free from worries as possible, children are nevertheless sometimes confronted with traumatic events, such as the death of a parent or familial separation.

    One way to measure the quality of one’s childhood is to use the “Adverse Childhood Experience” (ACE) questionnaire, which measures how many traumatic events someone has experienced during their childhood. These traumatic experiences include things like direct abuse, such as physical or sexual abuse and emotional neglect, as well as other kinds of household dysfunction, such as a separated family, mental illness or addiction.

    High ACE scores, which indicate traumatic childhoods, correlate with behavioral problems later on. For example, students with high ACE scores find it more difficult to concentrate in class and also suffer from an inability move past disappointments. They are also more likely to engage in bullying.

    High ACE scores can also contribute to juvenile delinquency. A study of detainees at a juvenile detention center found that 84 percent of detainees had undergone at least two serious childhood traumas and that the majority had experienced at least six.

    Alas, the effects of childhood trauma do not end after adolescence: high ACE scores correlate to both mental and physical health problems in adulthood. For example, those who scored high on the ACE are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as smoking and drug abuse in adulthood.

    Even if someone does not engage in these risky behaviors, high ACE scores themselves imply a significantly increased likelihood of suffering from ischemic heart disease and various other chronic disorders.

    These physical and mental health problems in adulthood show us that childhood trauma can have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for those children affected.

    Traumatic childhood experiences cause both behavioral and health problems that persist even in adulthood.

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    What is How Children Succeed about?

    These blinks explore the reasons why some people struggle in school and later on in life, and why others thrive and prosper. Using scientific studies and data from real schools, the blinks dive into the hidden factors that affect the success of children.

    How Children Succeed Review

    How Children Succeed (2012) explores the crucial factors that contribute to a child's success beyond academic achievements. Here's why this book is worth a read:

    • The book delves deep into the importance of character traits like resilience, grit, and curiosity, and how they can make or break a child's future.
    • Through inspiring stories and research, Paul Tough sheds light on how adversity and failure can actually be beneficial in cultivating necessary skills.
    • It offers practical insights for parents, educators, and policymakers to help children thrive, emphasizing holistic development over mere test scores.

    Who should read How Children Succeed?

    • Anyone who is or is going to become a parent, grandparent or godparent
    • Anyone who works with children, especially teachers and coaches
    • Anyone who wants to develop oft-neglected skills that are just as important as cognitive skills to their future success

    About the Author

    Paul Tough is a Canadian-American author. His previous publications include Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America.

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    How Children Succeed FAQs 

    What is the main message of How Children Succeed?

    The main message of How Children Succeed is that true success comes from qualities like grit, curiosity, and resilience.

    How long does it take to read How Children Succeed?

    The reading time for How Children Succeed varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is How Children Succeed a good book? Is it worth reading?

    How Children Succeed is worth reading because it offers valuable insights into the factors that contribute to children's success, backed by compelling research.

    Who is the author of How Children Succeed?

    The author of How Children Succeed is Paul Tough.

    What to read after How Children Succeed?

    If you're wondering what to read next after How Children Succeed, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber
    • The Self-Driven Child by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson
    • 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan
    • The Yes Brain by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
    • How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims
    • Thrivers by Michele Borba
    • The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt
    • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
    • Tiny Humans, Big Emotions by Alyssa Gloria Campbell & Lauren Stauble
    • Theories of Childhood by Carol Garhart Mooney