Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck
I have wanted this book for a while, ever since I watched the author’s TED Talk on YouTube about the ‘Power of Yet’.
If you’ve not seen that video, I highly recommend you check it out.
But back to this book, here’s what it’s all about and what I thought of it.
What is Mindset about?
This book is based on the theory that there are two different types of mindset; a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
Those with a fixed mindset believe that your intelligence, skills, talent, abilities etc, remain fixed. For example, if you are a poor painter, then you will always be poor at painting and there is nothing you can do about it.
A growth mindset believes that they can improve their intelligence, skills, talent, abilities etc. For example, they may be a poor painter now but if they embrace the challenge, see the effort as the path to mastery, and learn from criticism, they can improve and reach higher levels of achievement.
Dr. Dweck presents you with various studies that have been carried out on the different mindsets and how they can affect the performance of businesses as well as your own personal achievements in life.
Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?
When I was reading the first few chapters, there were times when I thought that I had a growth mindset and other times when I thought I had a fixed mindset, and I started to get slightly confused.
Later in the book, Dr. Dweck enlightened me and explained that we are, in fact, a combination of a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. You are not one or the other.
Your mindset can change through different circumstances and you can be ‘put’ into a different mindset. For example, in some of the studies, examiners would put the participants into either a fixed or growth mindset and then measure how they performed with the challenges given to them.
The key is understanding what mindset you have in play at the time, and then you can react and respond accordingly.
All life experiences
This book is very thorough and looks at mindset across a whole array of different life experiences; how your mindset affects your own personal accomplishments, how mindsets affect business and leadership, mindsets within personal relationships, and how the mindsets of parents and teachers affect the mindset of children, and ultimately their own performance.
At the end of the book, there are a few case studies where the author outlines various dilemmas and then details a growth mindset response and a fixed mindset response. You can then see how they differ in results and outcomes.
There is a famous quote which states, “Life isn’t what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it”, and this exercise demonstrates that beautifully.
Changing your own mindset
I was going to mark this book down for not having actionable content, but then right at the end Dr.Dweck surprised me with “The Journey to a True Mindset in 4 Steps”.
This was a great way to conclude the book after reading all the studies and a handy little chapter for you to use to refresh your understanding of the subject.
My overall thoughts
This is a great book and an essential read if you are a parent or teacher.
It clearly demonstrates how the correct mindset is key to achieving our goals along with motivating your children to fulfill their own potential.
The TED Talks and YouTube videos on the subject of mindset are great, but they only scratch the surface of the subject.
Have you read Mindset?
If you have read this book, please go to the top of this page and use the Reader Rating bar to give the book your own score out of 10.
This short review is my own personal opinion and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book in the comments below.