The Must-Read Book Club


Esther Palmer: I discovered this book through a Freakonomics Podcast, although I had also listened to her TED talk years ago.

YCNYC: Favorite quote?​

EP: "'Shame doesn't help you fix anything'" (Duckworth quoting from an interview with Deborah Leong):

"Elena Bodrova and Deborah Leong, psychologists who've devoted their careers to studying how children learn, agree that learning from mistakes is something babies and toddlers don't mind at all. And then...something changes. According to Elena and Deborah, around the time children enter kindergarten, they begin to notice that their mistakes inspire certain reactions in grown-ups. What do we do? We frown. Our cheeks flush a bit. We rush over to our little ones to point out that they've done something wrong. And what's the lesson we're teaching? Embarrassment. Fear. Shame. ... 'Shame doesn't help you fix anything,' Deborah told me. So what's to be done? Elena and Deborah ask teachers to model emotion-free mistake making. They actually instruct teachers to commit an error on purpose and the let students see them say, with a smile, "Oh, gosh, I thought there were five blocks in this pile! Let me count again! One...two...three...four...five...six! There are six blocks! Great! I learned I need to touch each block as I count!"

YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?

EP: Teenagers. Business owners. Students. Creatives.

YCNYC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?

EP: The end of chapter 7 on our inborn instinct to practice!

I hesitated a long while before buying Grit. I thought it'd be all about how "working harder is better" and championing the "super human" among us. I don't need more of that lesson in my life! Instead, the way I read it, this is a book about joy. Duckworth invites us to discover passion through action. What's more, she celebrates the ability each of us has to learn how to live through our passions, the ability to become "super" in the ways we choose.

You can purchase GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance here.

Have a Must-Read book to recommend? Email us here.

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