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Book Reviews

Open Book

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

In the past few years, we have learned a lot about GRIT and growth mindset thanks to research presented by Angela Duckworth.

In GRIT, Angela Duckworth explores the curious predicament of how good grades in middle school math students didn’t necessarily come from talent but from effort. She goes to report findings from West Point, business owners and athletes in training, explaining why success doesn’t come from social intelligence, health or IQ. She argues that passion and perseverance for long-term goals, working hard, intentional practice, and treating live like a marathon, not a sprint are keys to progress.


I would recommend this book to any adult curious about the psychology behind hard work and determination. This research is especially helpful for teachers and leaders who are trying to help others reach their potential.

Knowing the ins and outs of this strange characteristic called GRIT may unlock the door of true potential and achievement.

Start with the TED Talk video and if you want to learn more, check out this book. 


Related: Mindset by Carol Dweck


Angela Duckworth GRIT Ted Talk

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Dr. Brené Brown- Daring Greatly and Rising Strong

Dr. Brené Brown is the leading researcher on shame, vulnerability, courage, and connection. She has the wonderful ability to take facts drawn from research, combine them with personal, heartfelt stories and deliver them to the reader in a relatable way.

Daring Greatly might be one of the clearest depictions of how shame affects our lives. Brown dredges up the difficult issues but presents them with such grace that forces you to stop and think about how shame and vulnerability may have a stronghold. She encourages opening up about the hard things instead of pushing them deeper inside.

This is of course a difficult thing to do!

But with her encouragement, it doesn’t take long to see how beneficial this is to our well being and our relationships.

Rising Strong is a follow up to leading a vulnerable life, and its main premise is to own up to our failures and learning from them. Her teaching in this book is much kinder, gentler, and more personal. She really challenges you to “rumble” with your mistakes, taking them apart bit by bit so you can see what went wrong, how you feel, and how you can do something different next time. The result is a much more honest and open life, cracking the door to wholehearted living with those who mean the most to you.


Rising Strong:


Daring Greatly:

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Teach with your Heart by Erin Gruwell

Teach with your Heart is a memoir written in 2007 by a teacher in Long Beach, California. Her miraculous story begins with her first day as a teacher, clutching a pearl necklace and filled with unrealistic expectations and hope for the school year. As she tried to teach students literature, she was astounded to find that most weren’t given real books to study. They also struggled inside and outside of school with drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, homelessness, domestic abuse, and gang violence.

A lot of these kids were just trying to survive.

This book will take you on a journey that starts in the classroom but reaches into the inner-workings of real life. The emotional roller coaster has heartbreaking twists and turns, but learning from an amazing woman like Erin Gruwell will give you the strength and inspiration to keep fighting your battles too. 


Related: Freedom Writer’s Diary: Essays from her students published in a book. (Content Advisory)


Freedom Writers: Movie starring Hillary Swank (Rated PG-13)

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