(Book by Angela Duckworth).

💫 Rating

My personal rating: 9 out of 10.

📖 Summary

The book made an impact on me by reinforcing my knowledge that talent, IQ are not the most important things to succeed, effort with a few additions aka grit is.

Not only it tells you what is important, it also tells how to unlock these important systems in your life to better shape your thinking around passion, goals and judgements. What’s the best way to grow yourself as a gritty person and help others whether it’s your company or family to do the same.

The book is filled with studies and insightful data to back statements up.

⌥ P.S. Fast interactive check: you can tell your current grit score from Angela’s website https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/

📝 Chapter-by-chapter personal notes (raw)

Part I — What grit is and why it matters

Wiki def: Grit in psychology is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie on the path to accomplishment and serves as a driving force in achievement realization.

Chapter 1 — Showing up

aka “Eighty percent of success in life is showing up”:

“My observation was that once a person actually completed a play or a novel, he was well on his way to getting it produced or published, as opposed to a vast majority of people who tell me their ambition is to write, but who strike out on the very first level and indeed never write the play or book. In the midst of the conversation, as I’m now trying to recall, I did say that 80 percent of success is showing up.” - 1989 August 13, New York Times, On Language: The Elysian Fields by William Safire

SAT is actually inversely correlated to grit. “Out potential is one thing, what we do with it it’s quite another.”

Chapter 2 — Distracted by talent

Naturalness bias: people who announcned to achieve an important milestone through hard work are rated worse than those who’ve done the same milestone as explained “through natural ability, innate ability”.

Aggressively promoting only talanted employees while culling the least talanted kills the company over time. Practice of firing bottom 15% (Enron example “rank-and-yank”) reduced company integrity and rewards deception.

The focus on talent distracts from more important — effort.

Chapter 3 — Effort counts twice

“The Mundanity of Excellence”: most dazzling human achievements are the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is simple and ordinary.

Talent * Effort = Skill

Skill * Effort = Achievement

Talent you have naturally. Skill is only developed by hours and hours.

Without effort, your talent is no more than your unmet potentioal.

Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.

With effort, talent becomes skill and, at the versy same time, effort makes skill productive.

Chapter 4 — How gritty are you?

GRIT score. Grit can be measured and changes over time, see quiz and percentile table on 55-56 pages.


Goals can be divided into low, mid and high level for the abstraction. You can have many more levels and even gradient.

High-level goals usually contradict each other, count should be minimized as it’s hard to compete for 3+ high-level goals.

  • When people are told to outline their goals, mid level goals are written down -> think of high level goals
  • Don’t be afraid to remove low-levels goals from time to time and define better ones.

  • Don’t forget to define low level goals at all.


High IQ matters until some bar, then preservance matters (top players group IQ 150, low players IQ 145).


Passion in the GRIT scale:

  • Degree to which one works with distance objects in view, preparation for later life. Working towards goal.
  • Tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability. Not seeking something fesh because of novelty.


Preservance in the GRIT scale:

  • Degree of strength of will. Determination to stick to a course once decided upon.
  • Not abandoning tasks in the face of obstacles

Chapter 5 — Grit Grows

Flynn effect aka people IQ rises up. In the whole world.

Grit grows over time. Grit changes as a function of the cultural era which we live in (new generations — less gritty?).

Psychological assets to grow grit:

  1. Interest — even if small things in your work are not intersting, whole piece should be fun
  2. Practice — ‘whatever it takes, i want to improve’ stance
  3. Purpose — work connected to well-beign of other people, serve others. ‘my work is important for me and others’ – tied to high-level goals
  4. Hope — to get through bad times and when stuck

Part II — Growing grit from inside out

Chapter 6 — Discovery

Sampling passions and different skills. Play comes before the hard work.

Hard-to-notice sampling (casually browsing NASA website -> became astronaut) over time can trigger hard interest.

Follow your passion, and foster it before.

Discovering passions asking questions:

  1. What do I like to think about?
  2. Where does my mind wander?
  3. What do I really care about?
  4. What matters most to me?
  5. How do I enjoy spending my time?
  6. What do I find absolutely unbearable?

Chapter 7 — Practice

Resisting the plateau — Kaizen.

Persisting desire to do better.

Delibirate practice: set a narrow goal, put in hours but no more than 2-3 a day.

Challenge-exceeding-skill practice (years) – challenge-meeting-flow skill (days) aka “Years of challenge-exceeding-skill practice leading to moments of challenge-meeting-skill flow explains why elite can look so effortles”.

Deliberate practice:

   	1. Clearly defined goal
    	2. Full effort
     	3. Immediate feedback
     	4. Repetition with reflection and refinement 

Make deliberate practice a habit.

Book reference: “Daily Rituals” by Malson Currey.

Practice emotion free mistake-making.

Chapter 8 — Purpose

Three levels of purpose in your work:

Low: I’m coding.

Mid: I’m completing a feature.

High: I’m allowing people to communicate with each other better and in a new way.


Low: I’m laying bricks.

Mid: I’m building a church.

High: I’m building the house of God.


Cultivate sense of purpose:

1) Think on how in small ways you can change your current work to enhance its connection to your core values. What are your core values?

2) Reflect on how the work you’re already doing can make a positive contrib to society

3) Find inspiration in a purposeful role model

Chapter 9 — Hope

Suffering you can’t control leds to helplessness. – learned helplessness

Suffering you can control makes you stand against setbacks better, especially if you experience it in adolecense.

Keep working hard and learning, everything will work out-mindset.

Growth mindset over fixed mindset: intellegence and IQ, skills change over time, you can change that.

Ask for help to get up.

Part 3 — Growing grit from outside out

Chapter 10 — Parenting for Grit

It’s the nicest if you met someone in life who showed the right support at the right time, be that guy for others.

One should aim for wise parenting style. I rank parenting styles like that:

Wise: supportive and demanding.

Permissive: supportive and undemanding.

Authoritarian: unsupportive and demanding.

Neglectful: unsupportive and undemanding.

“Stay positive, ignore what’s impossible and give it a try” Tobias Lütke

Chapter 11 — The Playing Fields of Grit

Stick to grit, extracurricular and skill-focused activities for longer time.

Children context:

  • School — demanding not fun
  • Texting friends — not demanding fun
  • Breakdance or piano — demanding fun => GRIT Activity

PQP (Personal Qualities Project) results: Follow-through is the most important factor for cultivating success in high-school: engaging in continious commitment to certain activities vs sporadic efforts in diverse areas. “Sign up for something, sign up again the following year and make some kind of progress”.

Follow-through correlates a lot with lower rates of college drop-outs.

Hard Thing Rule:

  • Everyone has to do a hard thing
  • You can quit, but on normal stopping point
  • You get to pick your hard thing
  • Commit to activity for at least two years

Chapter 12 — Culture of Grit

Find the gritty culture. Culture (company, family) shapes our identity.

Questions to senior management when you hire it:

  • Would I let them run the business without me?
  • Would I let my kinds work for them?

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Chapter 13 — Conclusions

You can grow grit.

Can there be too much grit? Not really, with a few exception of really gritty people.

Grit relates to other aspector of character, defined in clusters:

  • intrapersonal aka will
    • resisting temptations
    • self-management
  • interpersonal aka heart
    • gratitude
    • social intellegence
    • self-control
  • intellectual aka mind
    • curiosity
    • zest