Grit by Angela Duckworth. A 1 Hour Guide Summary by Anil NathooGrit by Angela Duckworth. A 1 Hour Guide Summary by Anil Nathoo

What is Grit?

“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” is a book written by Angela Duckworth and published in 2016. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist and researcher who is known for her work on the concept of grit, which she defines as a combination of passion and perseverance.

In the book, Duckworth argues that talent alone is not the sole predictor of success, but rather, grit plays a crucial role in achieving long-term goals and personal fulfillment. She draws on her research, which includes studies of various groups such as students, teachers, and professionals, to make the case that individuals who exhibit high levels of grit are more likely to achieve success in their endeavors.

Duckworth also explores the idea that passion and perseverance can be cultivated and developed over time. She discusses the importance of setting long-term goals and maintaining the motivation to work toward them even in the face of obstacles and setbacks.

Overall, “Grit” has been well-received for its insights into the psychology of achievement and its practical advice for individuals looking to cultivate grit in their own lives. The book has been influential in education, business, and personal development circles, and it has sparked discussions about the nature of talent and the importance of resilience and determination in achieving one’s goals.

Background and the Author’s Journey

The background to the book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth is deeply intertwined with the author’s own journey and her research in the field of psychology. Here’s an overview of Angela Duckworth’s background and the path that led her to write “Grit”:

  1. Educational Background: Angela Duckworth has a diverse educational background that includes a degree in neurobiology from Harvard University and a Master’s in neuroscience from Oxford University. She also completed her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Teaching Experience: Before delving into research, Duckworth worked as a math and science teacher in public schools. This experience in the classroom gave her firsthand insights into the challenges students face when it comes to learning and achieving their potential.
  3. Research on Achievement: Angela Duckworth’s research interests shifted towards understanding what factors contribute to high achievement. She became particularly interested in the idea that success is not solely determined by talent or intelligence but also by other qualities and characteristics.
  4. Grit as a Concept: Duckworth coined the term “grit” to describe the combination of passion and perseverance that she believed was a key driver of success. She defined grit as the ability to sustain effort and interest over time to work toward long-term goals.
  5. Research on Grit: Angela Duckworth conducted extensive research to explore the role of grit in various domains, including education and business. She developed measures to assess an individual’s level of grit and conducted studies to demonstrate the importance of grit in predicting achievement.
  6. TED Talk: Duckworth’s ideas on grit gained widespread attention after she gave a TED Talk on the subject in 2013. The talk, titled “The Key to Success? Grit,” garnered millions of views and further highlighted the importance of grit in achieving one’s goals.
  7. Writing “Grit”: Based on her research and the positive reception of her TED Talk, Angela Duckworth decided to write the book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” In the book, she explores the science behind grit, shares real-life examples, and provides practical advice on how individuals can develop and nurture their grit.

In “Grit,” Duckworth draws on her academic background, research findings, and personal experiences to make a compelling case for the significance of grit in achieving success. Her journey from being a classroom teacher to a renowned researcher and author has allowed her to bridge the gap between academic insights and practical applications, making her work accessible and influential to a wide audience. The book has had a significant impact on the fields of education, psychology, and personal development, inspiring individuals to cultivate grit in their own lives and pursuits.

Key Takeaways

  1. Grit Is a Combination of Passion and Perseverance:
    • Grit is defined as the intersection of passion (having a strong interest and enthusiasm for what you do) and perseverance (the ability to persist in the face of challenges and setbacks).
    • It’s not just talent or intelligence that leads to success; grit plays a crucial role.
  2. Effort Matters Twice:
    • Duckworth introduces the formula “Talent x Effort = Skill” and “Skill x Effort = Achievement.” Effort counts twice because it both develops skill and multiplies its impact on achievement.
    • The willingness to put in sustained, deliberate effort is key to achieving high levels of success.
  3. Grit Can Be Cultivated:
    • Grit is not entirely innate. It can be developed and nurtured over time through deliberate practice, focus, and determination.
    • Individuals can grow their grit by identifying and pursuing their passions.
  4. Interest Is a Starting Point:
    • Genuine interest in a particular area or pursuit is often the foundation of grit. When you are passionate about something, you are more likely to put in the effort required for long-term success.
    • Exploring and deepening your interests is a crucial part of the grit-building process.
  5. Deliberate Practice Is Key:
    • Achieving mastery and developing grit requires deliberate practice, which is purposeful, focused, and aimed at continuous improvement.
    • Merely going through the motions is not enough; it’s the quality of practice that matters most.
  6. Purpose Provides Motivation:
    • A strong sense of purpose, a belief that your efforts are meaningful and contribute to a larger goal, can fuel your grit.
    • Purpose serves as a source of motivation, especially during challenging times.
  7. Hope and Resilience Are Grit’s Allies:
    • Hope, the belief that the future can be better and that you have the agency to make it so, is crucial for sustaining grit.
    • Resilience, the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures, is another essential component of grit.
  8. Parenting and Environment Influence Grit:
    • Parents and educators can play a significant role in fostering grit in children by encouraging their interests, providing opportunities for practice, and creating a supportive environment.
    • Organizational leaders can shape a culture that promotes grit by setting clear expectations, recognizing effort, and fostering a growth mindset.
  9. Grit Predicts Success:
    • Grit is a strong predictor of long-term success in various domains, including education, business, sports, and personal achievement.
    • Those who consistently pursue their goals with passion and perseverance are more likely to reach high levels of accomplishment.
  10. Grit Can Be Developed at Any Age:
    • It’s never too late to cultivate grit. Whether you’re a child, a student, a professional, or someone pursuing personal goals, you can work on developing grit to improve your chances of success.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: Showing Up

In the opening chapter of “Grit,” Angela Duckworth introduces the concept of grit as the combination of passion and perseverance. She asserts that showing up consistently and committing to one’s goals and endeavors over the long term is a crucial aspect of grit.

Key Concepts:

  • Grit is defined as the sustained effort and determination to achieve long-term objectives.
  • “Showing up” implies being dedicated, not just when things are easy, but especially when faced with challenges and setbacks.
  • Grit is about stamina, the willingness to work through difficulties, and maintaining a commitment to one’s goals.


  • Duckworth shares the story of Will Smith, the actor, and how his success was built on a relentless work ethic and showing up to auditions and rehearsals even when facing rejection.
  • The example of Olympic athletes who train rigorously for years, often with little recognition or immediate rewards, illustrates the concept of showing up and persevering.

Chapter 2: Distracted by Talent

In this chapter, Duckworth challenges the common belief that talent alone is sufficient for success. She argues that relying solely on talent can distract individuals from developing grit and putting in the effort needed to achieve their goals.

Key Concepts:

  • Talent is a natural aptitude or skill, but it doesn’t guarantee success without hard work and dedication.
  • The “talent myth” can lead people to underestimate the importance of effort and perseverance.
  • Grit requires a focus on the long-term, while talent often provides short-term rewards.


  • Duckworth presents the example of basketball player Chris Bosh, who worked tirelessly to improve his game, even though he initially lacked the natural athleticism of some of his peers.
  • The story of accomplished musicians who spend countless hours practicing and refining their skills illustrates the idea that talent alone is not enough to excel.

Chapter 3: Effort Counts Twice

This chapter introduces the formula “Talent x Effort = Skill” and “Skill x Effort = Achievement” to emphasize the importance of effort in achieving success. Duckworth argues that effort counts twice because it both develops skill and multiplies its impact on achievement.

Key Concepts:

  • Skill is the result of talent combined with effort, and achievement is the result of skill further multiplied by effort.
  • Effort is the bridge between talent and achievement, making it a crucial component in the journey toward success.
  • The concept of effort counting twice highlights that success is not solely determined by innate abilities but by the dedication to improvement.


  • Duckworth discusses the story of accomplished pianist Yo-Yo Ma, who continues to practice diligently despite his immense talent, thus showcasing the idea that sustained effort is essential for mastery.
  • The chapter illustrates the concept through the experiences of individuals in various fields, emphasizing the role of perseverance in skill development.

Chapter 4: How Gritty Are You?

In this chapter, Duckworth introduces her own Grit Scale, a tool to measure an individual’s level of grit. She believes that self-assessment of one’s grittiness can be a valuable step in personal development.

Key Concepts:

  • The Grit Scale is a self-assessment tool designed to gauge an individual’s passion and perseverance.
  • Grit is not a fixed trait but can be cultivated and developed over time.
  • Self-awareness regarding one’s level of grit can lead to intentional efforts to enhance it.


  • Duckworth presents examples of people who have used the Grit Scale to assess themselves and make changes in their lives to become grittier.
  • The Grit Scale provides a practical way for individuals to reflect on their commitment to long-term goals and identify areas for improvement.

Chapter 5: Grit Grows

In this chapter, Duckworth explores the idea that grit can be nurtured and developed over time. She emphasizes the importance of finding and nurturing one’s passions to build grit.

Key Concepts:

  • Passion is a key component of grit, and individuals are more likely to persevere in areas they are deeply interested in.
  • Grit can grow through a process of discovery, development, and deepening of one’s interests.
  • The chapter encourages readers to explore their passions and invest time and effort into activities that truly matter to them.


  • Duckworth shares her personal journey, explaining how she transitioned from a career in teaching to becoming a psychologist focused on the study of grit, demonstrating that personal interests can evolve.
  • The story of a successful chef who started with a basic interest in cooking but developed passion and grit through years of dedication illustrates the growth of grit over time.

Chapter 6: Interest

Theory: Chapter 6 of “Grit” focuses on the role of interest in developing grit. Duckworth argues that a deep and abiding interest in a particular area is a significant driver of passion and perseverance.

Key Concepts:

  • Interest is a natural curiosity and enthusiasm for a subject or activity.
  • Passion and grit are more likely to develop when individuals are genuinely interested in what they are pursuing.
  • Developing grit often begins with exploring various interests and allowing them to flourish.


  • Duckworth shares the story of Jamie, a young woman who discovered her passion for science through a high school internship. Her newfound interest led to perseverance and eventually a successful career in research.
  • The chapter discusses the experiences of Nobel laureates who pursued their interests passionately, highlighting the connection between interest, grit, and high achievement.

Chapter 7: Practice

Theory: Chapter 7 delves into the concept of deliberate practice as a crucial factor in building skills and grit. Duckworth emphasizes that it’s not just the quantity of practice but the quality and purposefulness that matter.

Key Concepts:

  • Deliberate practice involves focused, structured, and purposeful efforts to improve in a particular domain.
  • Achieving excellence requires thousands of hours of deliberate practice.
  • Gritty individuals embrace the grind of deliberate practice as a means to mastery.


  • Duckworth discusses the experiences of accomplished musicians who dedicate countless hours to perfecting their craft through focused practice.
  • The chapter presents the story of Bill Bradley, the former NBA star, who attributed his success to relentless, deliberate practice.

Chapter 8: Purpose

Theory: In this chapter, Duckworth explores the significance of having a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s pursuits. She argues that a strong sense of purpose can enhance grit and motivation.

Key Concepts:

  • Purpose is the feeling that what you do has a meaningful impact on the world.
  • A clear and meaningful “why” behind one’s goals can provide the necessary motivation to endure challenges and setbacks.
  • Grit is strengthened when individuals connect their efforts to a broader purpose or cause.


  • Duckworth shares the story of Katherine, a math teacher who found her purpose in helping students from underprivileged backgrounds excel in math, and how this purpose fueled her commitment to teaching.
  • The chapter discusses the experiences of social entrepreneurs who demonstrate how a strong sense of purpose drives their relentless pursuit of making a positive impact on society.

Chapter 9: Hope

Theory: Chapter 9 explores the role of hope in sustaining grit. Duckworth highlights that having optimism and resilience in the face of setbacks is a key component of grit.

Key Concepts:

  • Hope is the belief that the future can be better, and that one has the agency to make it so.
  • Gritty individuals maintain hope even when facing adversity, as it provides the strength to persevere.
  • Hope can be cultivated through positive self-talk, goal-setting, and resilience.


  • Duckworth presents the story of Florent Groberg, a U.S. Army captain who displayed incredible grit and hope after being severely injured while saving the lives of fellow soldiers during combat.
  • The chapter discusses research on hope and how it influences an individual’s ability to overcome challenges and setbacks.

Chapter 10: Parenting for Grit

Theory: Chapter 10 of “Grit” focuses on the role of parents in fostering grit in their children. Duckworth discusses how parenting practices can influence a child’s development of passion and perseverance.

Key Concepts:

  • Parents can play a significant role in nurturing grit by encouraging their children to pursue interests, practice diligently, and set long-term goals.
  • A balance between supporting and challenging children is essential for their grit development.
  • Parents should provide a growth-oriented and effort-praising environment.


  • Duckworth shares stories of parents who supported their children’s interests and passions by providing opportunities for learning and growth.
  • The chapter discusses research on effective parenting strategies that promote grit in children and adolescents.

Chapter 11: The Playing Fields of Grit

Theory: Chapter 11 explores how extracurricular activities and interests can contribute to the development of grit, particularly in children and adolescents. Duckworth discusses the importance of structured activities that allow individuals to develop skills and passion.

Key Concepts:

  • Extracurricular activities provide a structured environment for practice, skill development, and the cultivation of passion.
  • A “match quality” between the individual’s interests and the activity is crucial for sustained commitment.
  • Grit can be honed through consistent engagement in activities that align with one’s passions.


  • Duckworth presents examples of young athletes who dedicated themselves to their sports and developed grit through years of rigorous training and competition.
  • The chapter explores the experiences of individuals who discovered their passions and developed grit through participation in clubs, organizations, or hobbies.

Chapter 12: A Culture of Grit

Theory: Chapter 12 delves into how organizations and institutions can create a culture that supports and encourages grit among their members. Duckworth discusses the role of leaders and the broader environment in fostering grit.

Key Concepts:

  • Organizational culture plays a pivotal role in shaping individuals’ beliefs and behaviors regarding grit.
  • Leaders can influence culture by modeling grit, setting clear expectations, and providing support and resources.
  • Building a culture of grit requires a shared commitment to long-term goals and continuous improvement.


  • Duckworth presents case studies of companies and schools that have successfully cultivated a culture of grit, emphasizing the impact on employee or student performance and satisfaction.
  • The chapter discusses strategies for leaders to foster grit in their teams, such as recognizing and rewarding effort and perseverance.

Chapter 13: Conclusion

Theory: The final chapter of “Grit” serves as a conclusion to the book, summarizing key points and reinforcing the overarching message that grit is a powerful predictor of success and personal fulfillment.

Key Concepts:

  • Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance that leads to the achievement of long-term goals.
  • Effort and dedication matter more than innate talent in the pursuit of excellence.
  • Grit can be developed and nurtured through various means, including interest, practice, purpose, hope, and a supportive environment.


  • Angela Duckworth reflects on the lessons learned throughout the book and reiterates the importance of grit in personal and professional growth.
  • The conclusion emphasizes that grit is a quality that can be cultivated by anyone willing to invest the time and effort required for long-term success.

Additional Reading

  1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
    • Carol Dweck explores the concept of mindset and how having a growth mindset can lead to greater achievement and resilience.
  2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Malcolm Gladwell delves into the factors that contribute to extraordinary success, emphasizing the role of practice, opportunity, and hard work.
  3. “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg
    • Charles Duhigg explores the science of habit formation and how understanding and changing habits can lead to personal and professional success.
  4. “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
    • The book delves into the concept of deliberate practice and how individuals can achieve extraordinary levels of performance through purposeful practice.
  5. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
    • Daniel Pink examines motivation and the factors that drive individuals to excel, including autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
  6. “The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.” by Daniel Coyle
    • Daniel Coyle investigates the science of skill development and how talent is cultivated through deep practice, ignition, and master coaching.
  7. “Mastery” by Robert Greene
    • Robert Greene explores the path to mastery in various fields, drawing insights from historical and contemporary figures who achieved greatness through dedication and perseverance.
  8. “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph” by Ryan Holiday
    • Ryan Holiday examines the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and how adversity can be transformed into opportunities for growth and success.
  9. “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown
    • Brené Brown discusses the power of vulnerability and how embracing it can lead to greater courage, resilience, and success in various aspects of life.
  10. “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk
    • While not a self-help book, this novel by Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk explores themes of determination, resilience, and the pursuit of justice.