Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most for children have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.
The Amazon.com summary of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character says:
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and don't—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.