• IFT: About Angela Duckworth

    Grit has enormous potential to transform our lives. Angela Duckworth has spent most of her adult life pursuing one top-level goal: using psychological science to help children thrive. Her current work — Co-Founder and Scientific Director at the Character Lab and as a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania — is doing just that.

    Watch the Video
  • Grit: What the Research Says

    Grit can be predictive of achievement, especially in challenging contexts in which stamina is key. For instance, gritty cadets are more likely to persist at West Point Military Academy, gritty students in the Chicago Public Schools are more likely to graduate, and gritty competitors are more likely to advance to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

    Watch the Video
  • MacArthur Fellows Program

    In her early work, Duckworth and colleagues devised empirical measures of grit and self-control in both children and adults and established their predictive validity for a number of dimensions of success. They found that these traits predict objectively measured success outcomes, even when controlling for cognitive ability.

    Watch the Video
  • TED Talk on Grit

    Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

    Watch the Video

Selected Articles

  • Self-Reports Spur Self-Reflection

    MIT Sloan Management Review, 2/19/19

    The act of answering survey questions can increase awareness, which opens the door to development.

    Read More
  • Organizational Grit

    Harvard Business Review, 9/18

    In health care, patients have long depended on the grit of individual doctors and nurses. But in modern medicine, providing superior care has become so complex that no lone practitioner, no matter how driven, can do it all. Institutions must exhibit grit across the entire provider system.

    Read More
  • Using Behavioral Science to Build an Exercise Habit

    Scientific American, 5/1/18

    A new scientific research project to help you get active—and keep you motivated.

    Read More
  • Is There Anything Grit Can’t Do?

    The Wall Street Journal, 6/24/17

    The Lab is an ambitious expansion of Ms. Duckworth’s work on grit. Its mission is to “advance the science and the practice of character development.” Her team, she says, relies on an “inclusive definition of character from Aristotle: everything that allows a person to live a good life.”

    Read More
  • Big Returns From Thinking Small

    Freakonomics Podcast, 3/29/17

    Milkman and Duckworth are putting together a massive project with all kinds of scholars and all kinds of partners — banks and schools and fitness centers and drugstores. Their mission: to take everything that’s been learned so far in places like the Nudge Unit, in academic research departments, and apply it to one problem.

    Read More
  • Can Grit Be Measured: Angela Duckworth Is Working on It

    EdSurge, 3/27/17

    Since launching her 2016 New York Times bestseller “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” Duckworth has been crisscrossing the United States, meeting with school officials, researchers and foundations to talk about ways of improving education. I caught up with her last month in Salt Lake City, where she was a keynote speaker at a conference hosted by survey-software maker Qualtrics. During a break between presentations, she talked about the work that she and other researchers are doing to come up with quick, unobtrusive, scalable—and reliable—tests for grit among K-12 students.

    Read More
  • J.K. Rowling’s Best Advice for Anyone Determined to Succeed

    CNBC, 4/5/17

    Rowling’s not alone in this mindset. Psychologist and MacArthur “Genius” fellow Angela Duckworth spent years researching achievement, and found that talent by itself is only one factor. Success also requires determined effort, and lots of it.

    Read More
  • Proof That Big Risks Pay Off: 3 Women Who Owe Their Success to Not Playing It Safe

    Marie Claire, 3/17

    Grit—the perfect storm of passion and practice—allows even the most mediocre of minds to achieve success, and success is attainable for everyone, says Angela Duckworth. The 46-year-old University of Pennsylvania professor and psychologist shot to national prominence when she published Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, which topped best-seller lists last year.

    Read More
  • Why Grit Isn’t Everything

    The Huffington Post, 3/23/17

    “Grit isn’t everything,” explained Professor Angela Duckworth from the University of Pennsylvania, founder and scientific director of the Character Lab, and best-selling author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, when I interviewed her recently. “There are many other character strengths you also need to be truly successful and to flourish in life.

    Read More
  • Solving an Age-Old Riddle: Why Do Some Students Succeed?

    Walton Foundation Blog, 3/6/17

    Often what distinguishes two equally capable students is that one demonstrates higher levels of purpose, grit, passion, perseverance or optimism. These and other strengths are collectively known as “character.” It was clear that if we wanted to ensure college success for all of our alumni, we needed to cultivate character in our students. What’s more, we needed to talk openly about character so that our students could recognize it and understand why it’s so important… We believe that our work will yield a new solution to an age-old challenge and help us answer the riddle that I — and many of my colleagues in education — have been working our entire careers to solve.

    Read More
  • 4 Things You Can Do to Be Grittier

    TIME Money, 6/27/16

    In this edition of MONEY’s Summer Reading List, author Angela Duckworth sits down to discuss her new book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Duckworth explains how we can apply “grit” to our everyday lives.

    Read More
  • Don’t Have a Passion? Now’s the Time to Foster One

    CBS, 6/21/16

    “When you look at gritty people in full maturity, adults, they do one thing really well. It’s their passion,” Duckworth explained on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday. But what if you have yet to discover your passion? “When you’re a kid, you don’t know what that passion will be, so you have to try things,” Duckworth said. Duckworth said now is the perfect season to “foster” a passion.

    Read More
  • Why Rituals and Habits Are Essential to a Creative Life

    Elle, 6/6/16

    A few years ago, after taking a tumble down the stairs, I was laid up in bed for days. The book I’d started just before that misfortune was called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey. I found relief in reading that book, page by page, as mindfully as possible. Essentially, Daily Rituals describes the idiosyncratic routines of writers, artists, and other creators. Currey is a collector of habits, documenting the typically monotonous routines that seem to enable fiercely original creativity.

    Read More
  • Character-driven: Why Never Giving Up Is a Worthwhile Goal

    The Economist, 6/4/16

    Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, once stated that there was a universal tendency to see success as the result of innate talent, rather than effort. Today it is still common to think of the straight-A pupil as having a “gift” for learning, or of the sports star as miraculously skilful. Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that talent is overrated.

    Read More
  • Graduating and Looking for Your Passion? Just Be Patient

    The New York Times, 6/4/16

    For all their grandeur and euphoria, graduation ceremonies can be harrowing. Until that momentous day, you’re a student whose job is to do what your teacher asks. Now you have to ask things of yourself — but what? If you’re relying on a commencement speaker to set your compass, you may still be confused at day’s end. In my experience, it’s common to hear “Follow your passion” from the podium. This is great counsel if, in fact, you know what that passion is. But what if you don’t?

    Read More
  • How Grit Sets Winners Apart

    WBEZ Chicago, 5/24/16

    In her new book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that getting a leg up in today’s society isn’t based on natural aptitude, test scores or physical ability.  Instead, it’s based on good old-fashioned grit, which she describes as the drive to pursue one’s long-term goals despite setbacks along the way.

    Read More
  • The Secret Ingredient Of Successful People And Organizations: Grit

    Forbes, 5/23/16

    Angela Duckworth was an outstanding student growing up, so much so that she was admitted to Harvard University. All the while, however, she was reminded often by her beloved father that she was “no genius.” Many years later, she was selected as a MacArthur Fellow. Rather ironically, given her father’s reminder, she was officially a genius, as the MacArthur Foundation confers “genius grants.”

    Read More
  • Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll and Dr. Angela Duckworth Discuss Grit in Town Hall Event, 5/20/16

    With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror and free agency having slowed down, this is the time of year when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll likes to broaden his horizons. And that’s the short way of explaining why a Super Bowl-winning coach was on stage at Seattle University with a University of Pennsylvania psychology professor for a town hall event to promote Dr. Angela Duckworth’s new book, “Grit.”

    Read More
  • Grit: The Key to Success — A Conversation with Angela Duckworth and Maria Konnikova

    Big Think, 5/18/16

    Duckworth realized that hard work without direction would not ultimately lead to real lifelong achievement. She realized that finding passion — an essential part of grit — was more difficult than finding the determination to work hard. Her conversation with Konnikova reveals a human portrait of grit as well as the scientific findings which underpin her important work.

    Read More
  • Why Angela Duckworth Thinks “Gritty” Leaders Are People to Emulate

    The Washington Post, 5/12/16

    We spoke with Duckworth, who also founded Character Lab, a nonprofit that aims to advance research on character development, about why she thinks leaders shouldn’t measure grit in high-stakes situations, her response to some of the criticism her ideas have received, and why she shares her rejection letters with the people who work for her.

    Read More
  • When to Quit, From an Expert on Grit

    PBS News Hour, 5/12/16

    Is quitting ever a good thing? I study grit, a quality you can think of essentially as the opposite of quitting. Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. To have grit is to wake up thinking about the same questions, the same challenges you were working on yesterday — and to do the same tomorrow, and the next day, on and on and on for years.

    Read More
  • Putting Grit in Its Place

    New York Times, 5/10/16

    We all know why it exists, but the grade-point average is one of the more destructive elements in American education. Success is about being passionately good at one or two things, but students who want to get close to that 4.0 have to be prudentially balanced about every subject.

    Read More
  • Don’t Believe the Hype About Grit, Pleads the Scientist Behind the Concept

    New York Magazine, 5/9/16

    Recently, Angela Duckworth — the scientist behind the buzzy term “grit” — was planning her tour to promote her new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, which was published last week. Someone floated an idea: Wouldn’t it make sense for Duckworth to visit the schools that had applied her grit curriculum?

    Read More
  • How to Get More Grit in Your Life

    Freakonomics, 5/6/2016

    The psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that a person’s level of stick-to-itiveness is directly related to their level of success. No big surprise there. But grit, she says, isn’t something you’re born with — it can be learned. Here’s how.

    Read More
  • ‘Grit,’ by Angela Duckworth

    New York Times, 5/4/16

    Grit: The word has mouth feel. It sounds like something John Wayne would chaw on. Who wouldn’t want grit? Wusses. ­Forget ’em. Angela Duckworth, the psychologist who has made “grit” the reigning buzzword in education-policy circles, would surely recoil at any association between it and Wayne’s outmoded machismo. Duckworth is a scholar you have to take seriously.

    Read More
  • Do You Have the “Grit” It Takes to Succeed?

    CBS, 5/3/16

    More Americans are likely to single out “natural talent” as the best predictor of success, but psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that talent is overrated in our society. In her new book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” she explains why they are wrong. “Really, what matters in the long run is sticking with things and working daily to get better at them,” Duckworth told “CBS This Morning” Tuesday.

    Read More
  • The Virtue of Hard Things

    Wall Street Journal, 5/3/16

    Most people would think of John Irving as a gifted wordsmith. He is the author of best-selling novels celebrated for their Dickensian plots, including “The Cider House Rules” and “The World According to Garp.” But Mr. Irving has severe dyslexia, was a C-minus English student in high school and scored 475 out of 800 on the SAT verbal test. How, then, did he have such a remarkably successful career as a writer?

    Read More
  • Why Millennials Struggle for Success

    CNN, 5/3/16

    “What’s wrong with millennials?” This is a question many older Americans are asking. Why do they keep changing their minds about what they want to do with their lives? Why does even a hint of critical feedback send them into a tailspin of self-doubt? In a word, why don’t they have more grit?

    Read More
  • Raising a Child With Grit Can Mean Letting Her Quit

    New York Times, 4/29/16

    The rule at the “grit” expert Angela Duckworth’s house? You can quit. But you can’t quit on a hard day. Few parents who pick up Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” will be thinking about raising a quitter. But Dr. Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has some unexpected advice.

    Read More
  • Angela Duckworth on Passion, Grit and Success

    New York Times, 4/8/2016

    Angela Duckworth was teaching math when she noticed something intriguing: The most successful students weren’t always the ones who displayed a natural aptitude; rather, they displayed something she came to think of as grit.

    Read More
  • The Power and Problem of Grit

    Hidden Brain, 4/5/16

    Before she was a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth was a middle school math teacher. As a rookie teacher, she was surprised when she calculated grades. Some of her sharpest students weren’t doing so well, while others who struggled through each lesson were getting A’s.

    Read More
  • Don’t Grade Schools on Grit

    New York Times, 3/26/2016

    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once observed, “Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” Evidence has now accumulated in support of King’s proposition: Attributes like self-control predict children’s success in school and beyond.

    Read More
  • Grit Trumps Talent and IQ

    National Geographic, 10/14/2014

    MacArthur Foundation “genius” award winner and research psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth is a reluctant star. Her pioneering studies at the University of Pennsylvania into how character relates to achievement have been going on for 12 laborious years now, and she expects to die doing them, but you can spare her the fanfare.

    Read More
  • What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

    New York Times Magazine, 9/14/11

    People who accomplished great things, she noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. She decided she needed to name this quality, and she chose the word “grit.”

    Read More