Saturday, October 31, 2015

Grit to Great by Linda Kaplan Thaler & Robin Koval

I like the premise of this book. There is much more to success than inherent talent or ability. “Passion and perseverance, it turns out, matter more than talent or intelligence when it comes to being successful.” (12)

The authors use “grit” to identify the stick-to-it attitude of determination. Guts, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity. The good news is that GRIT can be learned.

The authors use many stories from their own experience to show the value of grit. They used so many of their own experiences I felt they were blowing their own horn, so to speak. These women are successful, however, and know whereof they speak. Their PR firm was behind the AFLAC duck. Even I have a few of those advertisements cemented in my memory.

I like how the authors explored the current idea of pushing self-esteem. They show that it has not been effective. The authors also emphasize the necessity of character building. I come from an era when the value of hard work and good character was instilled in children and I appreciated the authors' comments.

This is a good book for those who were not born with an over the top IQ nor outstanding talent. Determination can be learned, as can optimism. And failure? “Failure is how we learn,” the authors write, “it's how we develop and acquire grit.” (23) There are lots of vignettes of ordinary people who have been successful because they just kept at it. There are some good stories of older people who found success late in life too.

This is an encouraging book because it tells us that talent, intelligence, age – there are so many things that do not inhibit our ability to succeed. That means many of us who thought we didn't have a chance can succeed if we try hard enough and be persistent enough. Wrap that around the fact that our brains are hardwired to do good (130) and that really spells success.

I recommend this book to those who think they aren't smart enough, aren't talented enough, or aren't young enough to succeed. If you have grit, there just may be a new future for you.

You can find out more about the book and take a grit test at
You can watch Linda Kaplan Thaler speak on Grit to Great here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Linda Kaplan Thaler is an Advertising Hall of Fame who helped create many of the industry's most iconic campaigns, including Kodak Moments and the AFLAC Duck. She was the co-founder and CEO of the Kaplan Thaler Group. She is currently chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler and the co-author of several national bestsellers. She lives with her family in New York.
Robin Koval is the CEO and President of the Truth Initiative, the national public health foundation dedicated to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco. Previously a leader in the world of advertising and marketing, she is co-founder of the Kaplan Thaler Group and was CEO of Publicis Kaplan Thaler. She is the co-author of two bestsellers. She and her husband live in Washington, DC.

Crown Business, 160 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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