We have gathered here tonight (today? depending on where you are at) to talk about Non-fiction!
Usually when I see non-fiction book stands at the stores I automatically turn away and go look for genres I am more interested in, i.e. everything else. But when I saw this book on NetGalley many many months ago, it instantly caught my attention. Who doesn’t want to get into an inner circle of successful people and learn their secrets? I surely did!
The title already revealed the truth, I DNF (did not finish) this book at around 30-40%. Turns out I am not even gritty enough to finish the book that teaches you how to be gritty! A very upsetting thought, but it is what it is and I will hope that I will be grittier when it comes to things I care about.
Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own “character lab” and set out to test her theory.
Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
Even though I didn’t finish reading this book I don’t have many bad things to say about it, on the contrary actually. Not finishing it is completely on me and should not influence your decision whether to pick it up or not.
Let’s start with a few things I really enjoyed!
1 – The first and most important, the writing was kept as clear as possible, considering that many subjects had a touch of science, the text was simple and accessible so no one would feel left out.
2 – The whole book (well the 30% that I read) had tons of real example from various successful people around the globe, written in a “storytelling” style to captivate the interest of the audience.
3 – To not get too overwhelmed with the amount of information that we get, there were a few tests, diagrams, tables and other means of presentation to make the whole reading and learning experience more dynamic.
4 – The chapters and subjects were well defined, it was almost like reading a manual or a school book on a certain subject. (this I had a problem with). The separation of different topics and the way they were constructed to lead to certain conclusions made easier to assimilate information.
5 – There were quite a lot of quotes and mottos that I ended up highlighting, that inspired me to stay focused on things I loved. For example:
Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.
Talent – how fast we improve in skill – absolutely matters. But effort factors into the calculations twice, not once. Effort builds skill.
Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.
Thanks to this book I learnt (A) to split my goals in smaller ones and (B) how to build a ladder of smaller goals that will eventually get me to my final destination. Applying this to practice is still very hard, but I now have the knowledge to attempt building myself the yellow brick road.
This is not a book to read in one sitting, it’s more of a “read a chapter, take notes, think few days” kind of book and maybe I will continue reading it in the future. I still highly recommend this to anyone who is interested by the topics studied by Angela Duckworth.
Thank you NetGalley and Vermilion for a free ARC of this book. It might deserve a higher rating that what I am giving it today, but there is always a chance that in the future I will actually finish it and change my opinion.
⭐⭐ / 5
Let me know in the comments down below what is your favourite non-fiction. And if you don’t read it at all, what is the reason behind that choice.