Book review: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By Dr. Carol S. Dweck, New York: Ballantine Books, 2006
This is one of those books that knocks a hole in your head and then fills it up with startling knowledge.
Dweck wrote this rather chatty book about a very serious subject: the mindset that influences much of your life, and can literally play a critical role in your success or failure at work, at school, among your friends and at home with your family.
Here’s a simplistic summary of her findings based on years of teaching and research:
There is a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A mindset is a frame of mind that enables you to interpret what’s happening in the world around you, and to determine how you will feel about it, and how you will act and react.
I’ll take a stab at briefly defining the two mindsets in my own words.
Fixed mindset—you interpret most everything that happens to you in terms of whether it validates your static view of your own abilities and self-worth, in other words, you see the events and people in your life as confirming that you are talented and wonderful, or proving that you’re stupid and worthless. You can’t change, and you’ve got to grab what you deserve.
Growth mindset—you interpret most everything that happens to you in terms of feedback about your motivation and your performance, in other words, you see the events and people in your life as part of your continuous quest to learn and achieve your goals and enjoy your relationships with others. You can change, and you can learn to do better.
Of course, it’s possible to have different mindsets in different circumstances, and it’s possible to have some mix of the mindsets.
Dweck says you can learn to have a more effective growth mindset, and you can teach others, kids and adults, to embrace a more effective growth mindset.
We can always learn, we can always build up our talents, we can always get smarter, and we can help ourselves to have more enjoyable lives.
This all makes sense to me.
I don’t think I learned everything Dweck can teach me, so I’m going to read the book again.