3 March, 2021

The bestselling author of UnSelfie explains why the old markers of accomplishment (grades, test scores) are no longer reliable predictors of success in the 21st century — and offers 7 teachable traits that will safeguard our kids for the future.

Michele Borba has been a teacher, educational consultant, and parent for 40 years — and she’s never been more worried than she is about this current generation of kids. The high-achieving students she talks with every day are more accomplished, better educated, and more privileged than ever before. They’re also more stressed, unhappier, and struggling with anxiety, depression, and burnout at younger and younger ages — “we’re like pretty packages with nothing inside,” said one young teen.

Thrivers are different: they flourish in our fast-paced, digital-driven, often uncertain world. Why? Dr. Borba combed scientific studies on resilience, spoke to dozens of researchers/experts in the field and interviewed more than 100 young people from all walks of life, and she found something surprising: the difference between those who struggle and those who succeed comes down not to grades or test scores, but to seven character traits that set Thrivers apart (and set them up for happiness and greater accomplishment later in life).

These traits–confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism–will allow kids to roll with the punches and succeed in life. And the even better news: these traits can be taught to children at any age…in fact, parents and educations must do so. In Thrivers: The Surprising Reason Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine (Putnam, March 2021), Dr. Borba offers practical, actionable ways to develop these traits in children from preschool through high school, showing how to teach kids how to cope today so they can thrive tomorrow.

Advance Praise for Thrivers

Thrivers offers both science-based information and respectful, practical, and effective tools. Full of activities and ideas to cultivate the skills and mindset kids need to thrive, Borba encourages parents to use everyday moments to respond in ways that build relational and neural connections to promote optimal development, independence, and success. More than ever, our children need us to parent in ways that promote growth and resilience in the face of adversity, and Thrivers can serve as an essential guide.” –Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Whole-Brain ChildNo-Drama DisciplineThe Yes Brain, & The Power of Showing Up, and author of The Bottom Line for Baby

Thrivers is a must-read for parents and anyone who works with kids. It provides actionable tips and insights that will help adults give kids the tools they need to live their best lives.” –Amy Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

“Dr. Michele Borba combines her deep understanding of children with decades of research to offer the wise, practical guidance that parents urgently need today. Thrivers lays out clear, actionable, age-by-age steps for raising children of character. In doing so, this timely and important book focuses our attention where it truly belongs: on who–not what–our children will become.” –Lisa Damour, PhD, author of Untangled and Under Pressure

“Michele Borba is the coach, mentor, and motivator that today’s parents crave. This brilliant guide—full of heart and backed by research—redefines success and shows us how to raise happier, healthier kids who will become champions of the things that last and matter. Dr. Borba tells us that raising Thrivers may be our greatest legacy as parents, and then she offers practical, actionable steps to make this vision a reality. I feel better equipped to lead my children after reading this game-changing book, and you will too.” –Kari Kampakis, author of Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter

Thrivers helps us to recognize that resilient kids are not simply born but are made. With the world in unprecedented distress, it is our job to make sure that our kids are prepared  not only with high grades or prestigious college acceptances, but with the mental toughness, moral strength, and self-awareness that times of great challenge demand. If you add one book to your parenting bookshelf this year, make it Thrivers. –Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of The Price of PrivilegeTeach Your Children Well, and Ready or Not

“There’s a huge gap between what we, as parents, say we want for our children (to be good people) and what our kids say we want for them (achievement). This book is the absolutely perfect book to help us close that gap, to help our children thrive and be all they can be!” –Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Life Essential Skills Every Child Needs

Thrivers is the resource I’ve yearned for as a parent and teacher, an evidence-based, deeply researched instruction manual for helping kids thrive despite–and even because of–adversity.” –Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure

“Thrivers is a call to action. Our children are hurting, and Thrivers shows you the cost — not only in accurately describing the challenges our children face but also showing how to make it better. I urge any person who cares about children and the health of our communities to read Thrivers and apply the wisdom and common sense advice you will find in its pages to every aspect of your life.” –Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, Masterminds & Wingmen, and Owning Up. 

Thrivers brilliantly weaves together research and stories that grab your heart as they teach you how to be the parent you hope to be–a stunning master class in parenting, from pre-K through adulthood. Dr. Borba shows us how to raise a generation of Thrivers our world so desperately needs.” –Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

Thrivers is the North Star every parent needs to point kids toward happiness, purpose, and true success. Emotional resilience can be taught, and Dr. Borba is the consummate teacher.”  –Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., author of Freeing Your Child from Anxiety and Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking

Thrivers can be summed up in one word, POWERFUL. In a world that is in crisis, with a generation that is emotionally crumbling, Borba gives us hope as well as the tools to help give our children and teens the moral courage they need to flourish in an unpredictable life. We must turn our strivers into thrivers! A mandatory read for every person who cares about raising kind, compassionate, and successful children.” –Sue Scheff, author of Shame Nation: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate

About the Author

Michele Borba, EdD, is the author of UnSelfie: Why Emphatheic Kids Succeed in Our All-About Me World, and is an internationally renowned educational psychologist and an expert in parenting, bullying, and character development. She is a regular NBC contributor who appears regularly on Today and has been featured as an expert on DatelineThe ViewDr. PhilNBC Nightly NewsFox & FriendsDr. Oz, and The Early Show, among many others. She lives in Palm Springs, California, with her husband, and is the mother of three grown sons.