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Education Speaker Paul Tough: Character Trumps Intelligence
How Children Succeed | September 25, 2012

Education Speaker Paul Tough: Character Trumps Intelligence

Lavin is thrilled to introduce our new education speaker, Paul Tough, author of the instant New York Times bestseller How Children Succeed. In his much-lauded book, Tough tackles the difficult and evergreen question of measuring success in school: how can we determine which students are on the way to setting the foundations for a good life? Traditionally, Tough says, intelligence and other cognitive skills were the benchmark. But no longer. It turns out that traits we usually associate with character or personality have a greater effect than intelligence in determining lifelong success.

Perseverance, curiosity, and self-control, Tough argues, are qualities that help define the boundaries of a child's ability to utilize the skills they learn in the real world. These qualities matter the most because they help children push through tough times and find the motivation necessary to set and achieve life goals. It’s about time we focused on these attributes, and not just blindly adhering to standardized tests. Thankfully, Tough, who has been on a whirlwind media tour (including a nice visit to Lavin New York!) notes these characteristics can be augmented by changing—smartly, and incrementally—how we raise our kids, and run our schools. We need to move past the noise, and focus on the things in the education system that truly measure the value of what matters to the future success of our children. Tough’s How Children Succeed is a brave, optimistic, and practical first step.
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