Summary: How Children Succeed...in 30 Minutes
A Concise Summary of Paul Tough's Bestselling Book
Authors: 30 Minute Expert Summaries
Publication Date: November 29, 2012I got this book from the library because after listening to the unabridged audio version. I thought maybe I would like Paul Tough's book more if it were more concise. The audiobook rambled, went on and on about study after study, but seemed to provide no framework for understanding each study, particularly when the findings of one conflicted with the findings of another. All of the studies and experiments he talked about just seemed to be "a bunch of stuff that happened." His conclusion always seems to be "Well that didn't work. I guess that's not the answer."
I thought at least this summary would provide a little clarity, pare the book down to the author's main points, if in fact he had any. I also suspected that the very existence of this "30 minute" version suggested I was not alone in thinking Paul Tough's book was convoluted.
Turns out the condensed version didn't help except to confirm my original suspicion Paul Tough doesn't actually understand these studies himself. He's not a psychologist or an educator or a social worker. He didn't participate in any of the research he's discussing. He simply found the subject matter compelling, found a bunch of people who had been studying child development, and related their opinions--largely unfiltered--in the form of this book. When their research (or more often anecdotal examples) conflicts, Tough doesn't know how to interpret that except with vagaries like "the answers are elusive" or "children need a certain indefinable quality in order to succeed."
In other words I've just wasted my own time. Twice.
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Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library, but I received a copy of the audiobook How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough, from Edelweiss. I was not compelled to write a favourable review nor was I otherwise compensated All of the opinions expressed, in both cases, are strictly my own.