How Children Succeed By Paul Tough: Chapter Analysis

2260 Words 10 Pages
Ashley Friedman
October 25th, 2014

Tough Book Review

“Powerful, clear-eyed, beautifully written…How Children Succeed will change the way you think about children, “ states Alex Kotlowitz. How Children Succeed has a plan on how to succeed and how to build grit. Paul Tough, the author of How Children Succeed, is not only a journalist, but a new parent as well. He starts off by explaining to his readers that in the summer of 2009, he made a visit to a prekindergarten classroom a couple of weeks after his son, Ellington, was born. He says that he paid a visit “not to scope out the class as a new parent but to try to understand it as a journalist” (Tough, 2013, xi). The book How Children Succeed seems more personal since Tough started off by
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Tough doesn’t do much planning in this chapter, but rather a lot of reporting. A section was broken down into IQ and chess. It was said by Jonathan Levitt that the better you are at playing chess, the smarter you are, but not everyone believes this is a true statement. Jonathan Rowson, a writer of a few books about chess, believes Levitt is mistaken. Rowson argues that the most important abilities in chess are not intelligences at all, but psychological and emotional factors. The comparison between chess and IQ is strong. It relates well with the rest of the book claiming how cognitive skills are far more important than what you know academically or in this case, a high IQ. In Rowson’s book, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins, he writes, “If you want to become a great chess player, or even a good one, your ability to recognize and utilize your emotions is every bit as important as the way you think” (Tough, 2013, pg. 113). Although this statement comes from another source, it blends nicely with what Tough is trying to get through to his readers as well. Cognitive flexibility and cognitive self-control are needed in order for children to succeed. Having cognitive flexibility is having the skill to see alternative solutions to problems, which is an important gift for anyone to get a hold of. Cognitive self-control is being able to “inhibit an instinctive or habitual response and substitute a more effective, less obvious one” (Tough, 2013, pg. 114). Both skills are essential and needed to be enhanced more into a student’s

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