How Children Succeed is well done. I'm not a big fan of education books because they almost always involve test scores, which I find boring.
But Paul Tough is a journalist, a great writer and takes a different tack. Maybe natural ability, great genes and high SAT scores are not the best way to predict success in kids.
Tough argues that skills which include, curiosity, perseverance, optimism and self-control are better predictors. And he says those traits can be taught.
"[Science] says that character strengths that matter so much to young people's success are not innate; they don't appear magically, as a result of good luck or good genes," writes Tough. "And they are not simply a choice."
Tough says society can do a lot to influence the development of children by providing support to low-income families. Parents may lack the ability and the resources to offer their children what they need to succeed, and that includes being a good role model.
He says making this effort will not just be good for the kids, but good for society too because it would lessen the need to pay for remedial education and job training. In fact, one program was determined to provide "seven and twelve dollars of tangible benefit for every dollar invested."
Invest your time in this book and learn about what Paul Tough is proposing.