Paul Tough

This author appeared at the 2012 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.

Paul Tough at the 2012  Texas Book Festival

The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control. Tough introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories – and the stories of the children they are trying to help – Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do – and do not – prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty. This book, provocative and full of hope, has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. Kirkus Reviews hails How Children Succeed as "well-written and bursting with ideas" and "essential reading for anyone who cares about childhood in America." Tough is also the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America and a series of acclaimed articles on character and childhood in the New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker. He is a contributing editor to the New York Times Magazine and a frequent contributor to the public-radio program This American Life. He lives with his wife and son in New York.