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The audio version of 2009's Smart but Scattered by the coauthors of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents posits that the reason that intelligent, motivated youngsters succeed at certain things (e.g., soccer) but struggle with others (e.g., cleaning their rooms) relates to executive function-those cognitive processes that regulate delayed gratification, planning, working memory, and more. Embedded PDFs contain diagnostic components to help parents assess any lopsidedness in their children's executive functions; once problems are identified and placed within the rubric of the parents' own cognitive skills, realistic expectations can be put into play. -Susan Ericksen provides a clear, sympathetic reading. The concerned Tough presents a condensation of the issues facing contemporary American educators. Though the material is well written, listeners will soon tire of track after track of different schools' innovations and approaches. Tough recounts the struggles and achievements of giant school systems (e.g., Chicago's), elite institutions, and innovators like YAP (Youth Advocate Programs), which creates "substitute or supplemental family structures for children who don't have them." Other than advocating attachment parenting, Tough's focus is more on research and funding, obscuring identification of ways parents can help children to develop the titular grit and character. Dan John Miller provides an effective reading. VERDICT Dawson and Guare's interesting work attempts to strike a balance between providing informational background and acting as a how-to manual; the result is not enough of either. This title is best suited to motivated, college-educated readers. Listeners interested in a survey course about the plight of the educational system can do no better than Tough's book, but caveat emptor-it is not a how-to volume.-Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Middletown (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Drop the flashcards - grit, character, and curiosity matter even more than cognitive skills. A persuasive wake-up call." --People Magazine "In this absorbing and important book, Tough explains why American children from both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum are missing out on these essential experiences. ... The book illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it's a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall." --Annie Murphy Paul,ã The New York Times Book Review "An engaging book that casts the school reform debate in a provocative new light. ... [Tough] introduces us to a wide-ranging cast of characters -- economists, psychologists, and neuroscientists among them -- whose work yields a compelling new picture of the intersection of poverty and education." --Thomas Toch,ã The Washington Monthly "Mr. Tough's new book,ã How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, combines compelling findings in brain research with his own first-hand observations on the front lines of school reform. He argues that the qualities that matter most to children's success have more to do with character - and that parents and schools can play a powerful role in nurturing the character traits that foster success. His book is an inspiration. It has made me less of a determinist, and more of an optimist." --Margaret Wente,ã The Globe and Mail "How Children Succeedã is a must-read for all educators. It's a fascinating book that makes it very clear that the conventional wisdom about child development is flat-out wrong." --School Leadership Briefing "I loved this book and the stories it told about children who succeed against big odds and the people who help them. ... It is well-researched, wonderfully written and thought-provoking." --Siobhan Curious, Classroom as Microcosm "How to Succeedã takes readers on a high-speed tour of experimental schools and new research, all peppered with anecdotes about disadvantaged youths overcoming the odds, and affluent students meeting enough resistance to develop character strengths." --James Sweeney, Cleveland Plain Dealer "[This] wonderfully written new book reveals a school improvement measure in its infancy that has the potential to transform our schools, particularly in low-income neighborhoods." --Jay Mathews, Washington Post "Nurturing successful kids doesn't have to be a game of chance. There are powerful new ideas out there on how best to equip children to thrive, innovations that have transformed schools, homes, and lives. Paul Tough has scoured the science and met the people who are challenging what we thought we knew about childhood and success. And now he has written the instruction manual. Every parent should read this book - and every policymaker, too." -- Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit"I wish I could take this compact, powerful, clear-eyed, beautifully written book and put it in the hands of every parent, teacher and politician. At its core is a notion that is electrifying in its originality and its optimism: that character -- not cognition -- is central to success, and that character can be taught.ã How Children Succeedã will change the way you think about children. But more than that: it will fill you with a sense of what could be." --Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here "Turning the conventional wisdom about child development on its head, New York Times Magazine editor Tough argues that non-cognitive skills (persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-confidence) are the most critical to success in school and life....Well-written and bursting with ideas, this will be essential reading for anyone who cares about childhood in America." --STARRED Kirkus Reviews "This American Life contributor Tough (Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America) tackles new theories on childhood education with a compelling style that weaves in personal details about his own child and childhood. Personal narratives of administrators, teachers, students, single mothers, and scientists lend support to the extensive scientific studies Tough uses to discuss a new, character-based learning approach." --Publishers Weekly