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week 6

The Truth About Grit Summary

Jonah Lehrer’s article, “The Truth about Grit” from the Boston Globe, introduces a new idea called grit. This term is somewhat vague and hard to measure, but Lehrer, as well as other scientists, attribute this idea to success. He describes this term to be when someone sets a specific long-term goal, and does whatever he or she can until this goal is reached. Lehrer argues that achievement can only be reached when ability, and hard labor are mixed, which is where the term grit comes from. Additionally, he states that one has to find a goal that can sustain one’s interest for years at a time, so that he or she has another time to get good at this skill. Many philosophers and scientists agree with this interpretation and tried to invent ways in order to measure this idea of “grittiness.” One scientist, Duckworth, developed a survey which found that “measurements of grit are more predictive of success than intelligence.”

Lehrer starts off his article with a question that he poses, and answers it with the idea of grit, which is the focus of his article. I think that this was a very clever strategy because he introduces his topic, as well as makes his argument, all before the article has even really begun. Lehrer then discusses an anecdote about Isaac Newton discovering the theory of gravity in 1666, but not publishing his idea until it was perfected in 1687, in order to demonstrate grit. I think this was also crafty because Lehrer provides a personal account to further prove his idea. Throughout the article, Lehrer employs a very serious and assertive tone. He does not really leave room for readers to question his ideas, but states them as if they are all proven and undeniable facts. I agree with most of his points about persistence and dedication, but I do however, feel that some natural ability is required.

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