Renowned Author Paul Tough to Speak at Chapel October 1 as Willson Center Guest

On October 1, the Willson Center will proudly host renowned author and journalist Paul Tough for a 7 p.m. lecture and book signing event in the Chapel on North Campus. Tough’s visit to the university is co-sponsored by the UGA College of Education. Tough will speak about his new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, which is being published this month by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book examines the significance of non-cognitive skills like perseverance, conscientiousness, and self-control in determining children’s success in academics and life, and argues that these qualities are more central to that success than more traditional measures like IQ and testing ability.

Paul ToughTough has written extensively about education, child development, poverty, and politics in numerous major publications, including The New Yorker, Slate, GQ, and Esquire. He has worked as an editor at The New York Times Magazine and Harper’s, and as a reporter and producer for the public radio program “This American Life.” He won widespread acclaim for his 2008 book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, which played a major role in bringing Canada’s work with the Harlem Children’s Zone into the public consciousness.

The Athens, Georgia Whatever It Takes initiative, which describes its goal as being to ensure that by the year 2020 “every child in Athens will be on course to graduate from a post-secondary education,” is modeled in part after the Harlem program and takes its name from Tough’s book. Tim Johnson, the Athens initiative’s director, will introduce Tough at the Chapel

“I very much enjoyed my last visit to Athens, when I was hosted by the Whatever It Takes initiative,” Tough said. “There’s clearly a lot of energy and interest in Athens around the ideas of education and success for all children. I’m excited to come back and continue the conversation.”

The publication of How Children Succeed was the occasion for a September 4 interview with Tough on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” Tough’s book was also the subject of a September 7 New York Times op-ed column by Joe Nocera. Most recently, the September 14 broadcast of “This American Life” was devoted to a discussion of How Children Succeed.