Grit by Angela Duckworth


Full Title: Grit – The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Genre: Psychology

Page Count: 333

Publication Date: 2016

Summary: Through anecdotes and psychological research, the author explores what it takes for people to succeed – in school, in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as a West Point cadet, for people in general.  Is talent what is really important or can effort make up for lack of talent? How do people achieve their goals? The author explains what it takes to make yourself “grittier” and how to encourage “grit” in the people around you – whether you are a CEO, a coach, a teacher, or a parent.

Recommended?  Yes.  This was recommended to me by my brother-in-law (who is also a teacher) and I found the research fascinating.

Watch Out For: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.”    “You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day, week after month after year. To be gritty is to resist complacency.”


The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People


Author: David Niven

Genre: Psychology

Page Count: 204

Publication Date: 2000

Summary: Based on over 1,000 research studies, this book condenses scientific research on how to be happy into 100 practical and easy-to-implement ideas.  Each idea has a main point, an example, and data from a research study.

Recommended: Yes. This book condenses heavy research into a user-friendly format with ideas that range from turning off the TV to eating some fruit every day.

If You’re Offended: No problems here

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Rooting for a local sports team was found to have positive effects by providing a common interest with others in the community and increasing happiness by 4 percent.”    “The problems you spend your time and energy on should be both important and improvable. Otherwise, you are better off moving on to things you can change.”

Child & Adolescent Development


Authors: Christi Crosby Bergin & David Allen Bergin

Genre: Psychology/Human Development Textbook

Page Count: 708

Publication Date: 2015

Summary: This textbook explains in great detail the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. It introduces a lot of terminology that is relative to the field and does a great job of incorporating important research into the topics.

Recommended: YES! This is most definitely my favorite textbook from this semester!  It is written for a teaching audience, but it would still make an interesting read for anyone who is interested in human development.  Some of the theories can get a bit heavy but the text is mostly very user-friendly.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Theory of mind (ToM) refers to the understanding that other people have mental states – beliefs, desires, knowledge, and intentions – that are different from their own and to the ability to infer or figure out others’ mental states. A simple definition of ToM is ‘people reading’.”          “Am I open to negotiating and compromising with my students during discipline encounters? Or, do I expect instant obedience? Do I demand compliance even when it does not matter?”