Willpower Wednesday: A Gritty Library


No, I don’t mean what happens when you leave the book depository door open during a sandstorm…

Angela Duckworth, PhD, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance Dr. Duckworth is really the researcher who popularized grit with her TED talk. This is the “big one” from the researcher who really brought Grit to the forefront.

Carol Dweck, PhD, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dr. Dweck’s work is really foundational to grit, both in the sense that it is impossible to have grit without having a growth mindset, and in the sense that it’s almost impossible to understand grit without understanding the growth mindset.

Erik Weihenmayer and Paul Stoltz, PhD, Adversity Advantage. Weihenmayer was the first blind man to climb the highest mountains in the world. Dr. Stoltz is a business writer who’s studied perseverance and adversity.

Paul Stoltz, PhD, GRIT: The New Science of What it Takes to Persevere, Flourish, Succeed. Stoltz has a lot of credentials in his field, but I find his writing style difficult. He writes in what I call a “business buzzwords” style, turning grit into an acronym (Growth, Resilience, Intuition, Tenacity), and using phrases like Grok-Gauge-Grow and “Optimal Grit.” I’m certain there is good material in there (his work comes highly recommended by educators and academics that I trust), but as an academic and introvert by nature, I’m having trouble pushing through the sales pitch to find it.

I’m also looking into a few books about self-control:

Reg Dawson and Richard Guare, The Smart But Scattered Guide to Success. An expansion of their guide to helping ADD/ADHD students learn self-regulation, this book is aimed at adults with or without ADD/ADHD. I haven’t finished reading it, but so far it’s empathetic, intelligent, practical, and easy to grasp.

Dr. Kevin Leman, Have a New You by Friday. This is a pretty fluffy popular self-help book, but it wasn’t bad. It involves a lot of stuff about birth order and personality types that isn’t really empirically solid, but a lot of the advice is good anyway.

Most of us don’t have a passion so all-consuming it motivates us to practice constantly. Most of us need to push ourselves forward sometimes. That’s why the next two books are good.

Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

Kelly McGonigal, PhD, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It.

Well, that ought to keep you busy for a little while. I’ll review/summarize some of these in later posts, but right now I’m still very much in the research phase.

Honestly, I probably shouldn’t be trying to write about grit and research it at the same time. But I’ve already started, so I’ll keep the posts like this, more a matter of passing along information and resources than proclaiming new insights or assessments.

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