book review: mindset

by Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D.

This book somewhat subversively takes on the overachievers in America, well the overachievers who think that they are entitled to their status by nature of their genius.

Let me start over: Dweck posits in the book that there are two types of people: fixed mindset people and growth mindset people. The fixed mindset people feel that whatever their intellectual status is currently, that is fixed, and really they can’t do anything about it. No getting smarter or, for that matter, growing dumber. In the overachiever crowd, many of these people were in the gifted and talented classes at school and now, as they have aged, rather than fail at a new endeavor, they decide to avoid any project where there is a potential for failure. The growth mindset people, by comparison, are always looking for new things to try, are not afraid of failure, and they know that through hard work, you can become better at things.

Dweck then reviews different areas in our lives where our mindset might be beneficial or detrimental to our lives: school, work, children, relationships, and leadership. Not being afraid to fail can make us stretch further and try new things. We might be capable of more than we expect. Maybe failure is ok sometimes. While fixed mindset people are good to have in jobs which are highly repetitive, as they prefer to master a topic, and continue working on that topic.

Peppered throughout the book are stories of people who have changed their mindsets or who have begun to better understand the mindsets of their colleagues.

In first or second grade I was not put into the gifted and talented program...and I am still trying to prove I belonged! :)

(Click the image above to see it in more detail.)

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