How Children Succeed

  • by Paul Tough
  • Narrated by Dan John Miller
  • 8 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: Success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of scientists and educators who are radically changing our understanding of how children develop character, how they learn to think, and how they overcome adversity. It tells the personal stories of young people struggling to stay on the right side of the line between success and failure. And it argues for a new way of thinking about how best to steer an individual child - or a whole generation of children - toward a successful future. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage listeners; it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

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What the Critics Say

"Well-written and bursting with ideas, this will be essential [listening] for anyone who cares about childhood in America." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heavy on Anecdotes, light on data

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I am not sure it was worth my time, to be honest. While there were some interesting tidbits and I generally agree with the book's premise, I think there are better books on a similar topic. I enjoyed Brain Rules for Baby more. This book is written by a journalist rather than a scientist or doctor and it shows. He clearly put a lot of time and effort in the book and it is loaded with interesting anecdotes, but I would have rather heard a book based in more science and data.


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

More studies and research and less personal stories.


What does Dan John Miller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought the narration was certainly adequate.


Did How Children Succeed inspire you to do anything?

I think it reminded me that I should emphasize perseverance more to my children as they grow up.


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- Gregory

Interesting but scattered

This book raises some key points about what attributes in children predict success in adult life, and they are not what we tend to expect (name, not IQ). But it is also a somewhat scattered and unfocused book, sort of a sampling or anecdotes on the central theme. It spends a lot of time on the personalities and situations of the specific teachers, students, and researchers in the stories rather than driving home the central idea.

This is not really a parenting how-to book, and it tends to focus on older children, about age 10 or above. It is also not really a scientific book. It tends to feel more like journalism, maybe a very long article from a magazine.

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- Patrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-04-2012
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio