• 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 — as co-founder and CEO of Character Lab and a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania — is doing just that.

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  • MacArthur Fellows Program

    In her early work, Angela Duckworth and colleagues devised empirical measures of grit and self-control 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.

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  • 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.

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Selected Articles

  • Don’t Ban Chatbots in Classrooms—Use Them to Change How We Teach

    The Los Angeles Times, 1/19/23

    An op-ed that explains how to use tools like ChatGPT to catalyze, not cannibalize, deeper thinking.

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  • On Psychology, Parenting, and Great Teachers

    The 74, 1/19/21

    A wide-ranging interview that touches on criticism of grit, what makes a great teacher, and modeling behavior for kids.

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  • Three Things We Have to Do to Get People Wearing Masks

    The New York Times, 5/27/20

    This op-ed argues that persuasion works better than compulsion to fight the spread of COVID-19.

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  • New Evidence for the Power of Grit

    The Wall Street Journal, 12/19/19

    A study of West Point cadets shows that perseverance is just as important to success as brains or brawn.

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  • Angela Duckworth Will Teach a New Penn Course Next Spring Focused on “Grit”

    The Daily Pennsylvanian, 10/13/19

    The course, “Grit Lab: Fostering Passion and Perseverance,” will be open to 64 students from all four schools.

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  • Angela Duckworth: Explaining Grit

    The Dave Chang Show, 10/10/19

    Chef and restaurateur Dave Chang and Angela discuss mentoring, nature versus nurture, and raising gritty kids.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Is There Anything Grit Can’t Do?

    The Wall Street Journal, 6/24/17

    Character Lab is an ambitious expansion of Angela 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.”

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  • Big Returns From Thinking Small

    Freakonomics Podcast, 3/29/17

    Katherine Milkman and Angela 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 academic research and apply it to one thing that, if fixed, could solve every social problem.

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  • 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,” Angela Duckworth has been crisscrossing the United States, meeting with school officials, researchers and foundations to talk about ways of improving education. Here, she discusses 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.

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  • 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.

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

    CNBC, 4/5/17

    “Do not ever quit out of fear of rejection, ” says J. K. Rowling. She’s not alone in this mindset. Psychologist and MacArthur “Genius” fellow Angela Duckworth spent years researching achievement and found that talent is only one factor. Success also requires determined effort, and lots of it.

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  • Why Grit Isn’t Everything

    The Huffington Post, 3/23/17

    Angela Duckworth’s research has found that character is plural and that grit is just one aspect of character, along with other strengths such as hope, optimism, social intelligence, curiosity and gratitude. 

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  • 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—strengths that, along with others, are collectively known as “character.” It’s important to talk openly about character so that students can recognize it and understand why it’s so important.

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  • 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 explains how we can apply “grit” to our everyday lives.

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  • 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, as adults, they do one thing really well. It’s their passion,” Duckworth explained on “CBS This Morning.” 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, and summer is a great time to do that.

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  • Why Rituals and Habits Are Essential to a Creative Life

    Elle, 6/6/16

    Creative magic comes from doing the same thing in the same place every day, says Angela Duckworth.

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  • Character-Driven

    The Economist, 6/4/16

    Why never giving up is a worthwhile goal: a review of Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

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  • Graduating and Looking for Your Passion? Just Be Patient

    The New York Times, 6/4/16

    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?

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  • 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. WBEZ’s Jenn White talks with Duckworth about the concept of grit and why she thinks it’s so crucial to success.

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.”

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

    The Washington Post, 5/12/16

    We spoke with Angela Duckworth 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.

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  • When to Quit, From an Expert on Grit

    PBS News Hour, 5/12/16

    Is quitting ever a good thing? There are certain situations in which blind passion and perseverance can make things worse. Having studied grit for more than a dozen years, here is my advice on quitting.

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

    Big Think, 5/10/16

    Angela Duckworth realized that finding passion—an essential part of grit—was more difficult than finding the determination to work hard. Her conversation with Maria Konnikova reveals a human portrait of grit as well as the scientific findings that underpin her important work.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.” Someone floated an idea: Wouldn’t it make sense for Duckworth to visit the schools that had applied her grit curriculum?

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  • 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.

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  • “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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Grit Trumps Talent and IQ

    National Geographic, 10/14/2014

    MacArthur Foundation “genius” award winner and research psychologist Angela 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.

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  • What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

    New York Times Magazine, 9/14/11

    People who accomplished great things, Angela Duckworth 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.”

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