The Washington Post

MacArthur ‘genius’ Angela Duckworth on the importance of grit

Angela Duckworth, 2013 MacArthur Fellow (MacArthur Foundation) Angela Duckworth, 2013 MacArthur Fellow (MacArthur Foundation)

The MacArthur Fellows were announced Wednesday, and among the astrophysicists, choreographers and paleobotanists awarded the unrestricted $625,000 so-called "genius grant" was one research psychologist whose work should be of great interest to leaders.

Angela Duckworth, a former McKinsey management consultant, high-school math teacher and current University of Pennsylvania researcher, studies the psychology of achievement. And though she primarily focuses on education, her research on the role of grit and self-control tells us a lot about how persistence may matter more than raw talent in many fields.

In studies of subjects ranging from West Point cadets to salespeople to National Spelling Bee participants, she found that grit predicts success over and above standardized test scores or cognitive intelligence tests.

Take a look at a great summary of her work from a TED talk she gave for a PBS special earlier this year:

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

Read also:

The science of introverts and the workplace

Does it pay to know your Myers-Briggs type?

Like On Leadership? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jena McGregor writes a daily column analyzing leadership in the news for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
Play Videos
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
What you need to know about filming the police
Play Videos
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Jena McGregor · September 25, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.