We have all heard the motivational statements about “finding your passion” or “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. Duckworth takes these phrases from cliché to science. She began by wondering why people who have been ranked as high achievers with great potential drop out under pressure while others who are struggling with the program will finish. Is it talent and intelligence or effort that matters most? What else factors in? Duckworth found that people won’t maintain the effort without an interest in the work. There needs to be passion. There also needs to be a belief that what they are doing will result in a higher good. With a willingness to learn from failure and a positive mindset that improvement is possible, hard work can get us places we never imagined. But passion may not be what we thought and interest doesn’t prevent work from being drudgery. Duckworth supplies plenty of real-life examples and scientific studies to support her findings.

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and, ironically, the winner of the MacArthur “genius grant.”

Review by Janet T, Reference Librarian