education | September 30, 2012

David Brooks Calls Paul Tough's How Children Succeed "Essential."

Lavin's newest education speaker, Paul Tough, believes that test scores aren't the only benchmarks for success—and that social and psychological issues can hinder a child's learning experience. In his instant new bestseller, How Children Succeed, which New York Times columnist David Brooks descibes as "essential", Tough proposes that dealing with trauma from a young age can have long-lasting neural effects. His book explores not only the impact of material and physical stresses on children, such as poverty or poor nutrition, but delves into the importance of psychological stressors, like growing up in a single-parent household or experiencing abuse. Using Tough's book as reference, Brooks explains that childhood stress can "make it harder to exercise self-control, focus attention, delay gratification and do many of the other things that contribute to a happy life."

The development of these characteristics, Tough argues, has an enormous impact on whether a child succeeds academically. At the New York Times, Tough has written extensively on the factors that affect a child's ability to learn. In his previous book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, as well as in his new talk, he explores character development and the important role that it plays in determining a child's future.