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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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A newer edition of this book can be found here.

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset — those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love — to transform their lives and your own.

276 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Carol S. Dweck

61 books1,855 followers
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on why people succeed and how to foster success. She has held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her scholarly book Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development was named Book of the Year by the World Education Federation. Her work has been featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and she has appeared on Today and 20/20.

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5 stars
57,373 (42%)
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23,522 (17%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,188 reviews
Profile Image for Joshua Guest.
290 reviews61 followers
October 16, 2014
Okay, so the idea is fine, and usable, and easy to explain to others, and pretty simple. I was about to give this book a one-star rating because I was so irritated with Dr. Dweck trying to shoehorn her idea into every single success story in the history of humanity and basically saying that her theory was the best explanation of that success. Conversely, every failure could have been averted but for a change in mindset. It was the Fixed mindset that caused the Chicago Cubs to never win a World Series. If only they had the Growth mindset, like the Yankees, they would win more World Series.

Dweck may be too in love with her own ideas to realize that she oversells the usefulness of her theory to the extent that the portion that is actually workable seems underwhelming after cutting away from her salesman-like puffery. However, Mindset still serves as a useful supplement to a change manager's library. Its principles are serviceable to the manager, the parent, the spouse, the student, and the teacher.

Just don't mistake it for a panacea.

Profile Image for Kirsten.
67 reviews47 followers
May 8, 2023
Let me save you the money and the aggravation: The point of this book is (admittedly) not terrible, but it could be summed up real fast. Here you go, you're welcome.

Often, people see their abilities as 'fixed' and this attitude stops them from working to better themselves, turns out that if you work hard and keep the right can-do attitude, that you can accomplish more than if you think you're doomed to be a particular skill level forever. There are examples of this all around you.

Boom. Done. But no. What you get with this book is an endless diatribe. Hey, you remember that thing that happened in history? Where X person did Y thing that turned out to be good/bad? Well, if it was bad, it was TOTALLY because they had a fixed mindset. If it was good, it was 100% because of their growth mindset. This is true of literally any example in history ever no matter how poorly researched it might be. Is there any scientific basis for these historical claims? Absolutely not. Michael Jordan? SURE THING. That guy from that one business that went bad? WHAT A FIX MINDED DUMBASS. Bethoven? Duh. Seriously, I don't think I have ever read something so repetitive and belabored in my life. Sure, lady, you make a good point: People shouldn't limit themselves. Maybe give it a break after about 15 pages and I think it would probably be plenty.
481 reviews13 followers
November 19, 2011
I keep hearing educators praising this author and, specifically, this book. Maybe she's better in person. I found this book trite. It was very repetitive and full of cherry picked stories pulled out just to prove her obvious conclusion. Are there really people who think that if you go into something with a negative attitude it won't affect the outcome? She goes to the extreme with the positive attitude stuff, though. I just don't buy that anyone can do anything if they just try hard enough. Not trying guarantees you won't do it, but trying really hard doesn't mean you will. Lots of people try hard for years to get into the Olympics and they don't. It doesn't mean that they didn't work as hard as someone who did. The author also inserted herself pretty aggressively into this book. Her story about tears streaming down her face at the wonderfulness of Italians was too much. This book is dated enough that her stories of the greatness of Tiger Woods is pretty funny.

I found Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers to be a much better book about a similar topic.
Profile Image for Amir Tesla.
161 reviews669 followers
December 13, 2018
For practical insights refer to: Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Have ever noticed those geeks, geniuses, and world-class achievers while thinking to yourself, gosh, if only I had such talents, or if only I had such high IQ? Disappointing, I know, I have been there. Perhaps, such way of thinking and having such beliefs about IQ and talent is the biggest hurdle in the way of great success and achievement.

Thinking that we are born with a pre-determined IQ and talent, is called fixed-mindset according to Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford University. The bad news is that people with fixed-mindset live a mediocre life and barely achieve anything extraordinary. The good news, however, is that you can readily change your fixed-mindset and adopt a growth-mindset which is the default mode thinking of world-class achievers.

In this book review, I will provide a summary of the key points in the book “Mindset: The psychology of success”. In addition, I will provide you with practical insights on how you can apply the concepts in the book and alter this self-limiting belief. So, let’s learn how to think like pros.

The two mindsets and how they determine your future
Dweck, as a young researcher, has always been obsessed with understanding how people cope with failure. So, at schools, she brings children into a room and gives them a series of puzzles to solve. Puzzles start from fairly easy and continue to get harder and harder. As the students grunt, perspire and toil, she watches their strategies. This is where she gets shocked by the two starkly different approaches children adopted when facing difficult challenges.

Confronted with harder puzzles, one ten-year-old pulls up his chair, rubs his hands together, smacks his lips, and cries out, “I love a challenge! Another, seating away on the puzzles, looks up with a pleased expression and says with authority, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative!” As Dweck puts it:
What’s wrong with them? I wondered. I always thought you coped with failure or you didn’t cope with failure. I never thought anyone loved failure. Were these alien children or were they on to something?
These children turned out to be thinking with a growth-mindset. A person with a growth mindset believes that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, can be cultivated through effort. Having this belief, not only they do not get discouraged by failure, they don’t even think they are failing. Rather, they think that they are learning, and consequently, they get smarter!

The superpower of people with growth-mindset is that they have the confidence and courage to start and accomplish anything; and they do accomplish because, in the face of many inevitable failures, they are not discouraged. They do not say to themselves I am a failure, rather, they say I failed. Hence, they persevere, and they will triumph at the task.

People with a fixed-mindset, on the other hand, think that human qualities are carved in stone. You are smart or you are not, and failure means you are not. The sad story for people with fixed-mindset is that the try to avoid failure at all costs, so they can stay (feel) smart. Struggles, mistakes, perseverance are just not part of their philosophy.

Why do people differ
The question that arises here, is why some people are endowed with a growth-mindset, while the others are doomed with the fixed-mindset. The answer is in their childhood upbringing and it is really simple.

Imagine you are given a puzzle and you solve it. Now your parent sees your accomplishment. This is where the seeds to glory or mediocrity get implanted. If your parent praised you in the lines of:
Look, what a smart boy/girl …
You are so intelligent, excellent …
Sorry to tell, but you are doomed if you have heard similar praises during your childhood. Such complements may come from your parents, teachers, caretakers, the source doesn’t really matter. But wait for a second, aren't such praises suppose to uplift your spirit and raise your confidence?

Well, let's see what happens behind the curtain (in your subconscious mind) when you are complimented on a trait, over which you have not direct control (in this case, IQ and intelligence).

Imagine you have solved a puzzle and received a juicy complement hinting on you high IQ or intelligence. Now, you are given a harder puzzle, you strive to solve it, but, you notice it is taking much more time. This is where the self-limiting seeds start to grow. In your subconscious you will start a self-dialog along these lines: hmm, wasn’t I a smart boy/girl, why am I not able to solve this puzzle then??? Hmm, maybe this is just how smart I am. My intelligence is limited to those tasks only …
From then on, you will be very conservative of the activities you will get yourself into for the sake of preserving your self-esteem. Too bad! Don’t freak out though if you are in this category, I will share with you how you can easily change this self-limiting mindset as we proceed.

Now, let’s see how children are endowed with the growth mindset.

Imagine, again, the very same scenario, you solve a problem and now it is time for some praises … Your parent, instructor, while marveling at your accomplishments, says:
Hmm, good job, this might have been an easy puzzle, let’s do something more challenging…
Hmm, good job, you seem to have worked so hard, let’s move on to a harder puzzle.

Take note that in the second scenario, there is no emphasis on an innate trait, rather, the praise is on something which is you have control over, that is, your efforts and how hard you work.

Now let’s examine your self-dialog as you face the new harder challenge. When you try to solve the puzzle and it takes time more than the usual, if you could play your subconscious mind’s voice a little louder, you would hear:

Hmm, I have not yet solved it, I have not tried enough, I must work harder on it, it is exciting.
You see the difference?

How do I know if I have fixed-mindset or growth-mindset
The cornerstone of change is to first acknowledge that a shortcoming exist. So, to uncover if you have the fixed or growth-mindset, read the sentences below:

Our intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.
No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
If you agree more with the sentences 1, and 2, you are mostly behaving and operating with a fixed-mindset, and if you identify yourself with sentences 3, and 4, you operating with a growth-mindset.

When asked people, ranging from children to young adults: When Do You Feel Smart: When you are flawless or when you are learning? Here are how differently people with a fixed-mindset replied:

It’s when I don’t make any mistakes.
When I finish something fast and it’s perfect.
When Something is easy for me but other people can’t do it.

And this is how people with growth-mindset replied:
When it’s really hard, and I try really hard, and I can do something I couldn’t do before.
When I work on something for a long time and I start to figure it out.
See the difference? Which set of answers resonates most with you?
There was a saying in 1960 which read: “Becoming is better than being”. The fixed-mindset robs people from the luxury of becoming. They have to already be.

Mindset in relationships
Mindsets manifest themselves in every domain, whether you are a leader, teacher, parent, or a husband/wife. I chose relationship since I guess there are lots of myths around this topic (we all once craved to find our one true soulmate I guess), and also you must beware that even people with growth-mindset, might approach a domain like relationships with fixed-mindset.

People with fixed-mindset think that if their relationship is the right one, and if they are compatible with one another, well, this means most things will fall into its place. In the face of problems, they tremble and threads of doubts and fears start to sneak in.

People with fixed-mindset say if this is the right relationship and if we are compatible, there must be no need for hustle and hard work to get it to work. Remember the delusions sparked by the fixed-mindset? “If you have the ability, then you shouldn’t work hard for it”.

Aaron Beck, noted marriage authority, says that one of the most destructive beliefs for a relationship is “If we need to work at it, there’s something seriously wrong with our relationship.” Says John Gottman, a foremost relationship researcher:

Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension . . . between the forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart.

As with personal achievement, this belief—that success should not need effort—robs people of the very thing they need to make their relationship thrive. It’s probably why so many relationships go stale—because people believe that being in love means never having to do anything taxing.

How do I go from fixed-mindset to growth-mindset
In this section, I share with you how you can adopt a growth mindset. Congrats, we have already taken the first step by shedding the light on these two modes of thinking. Regardless of these further steps, the sheer awareness of these two mindsets takes you a long way, but, it may not be enough.

One way which is a profoundly effective way to instill the growth-mindset is studying the lives of great performers, and world-known figures like Michael Jordan, Mozart, Michelangelo, etc. Why, you might ask. The reason is that when you study the lives of such achievers, you will notice a common theme in their life story and that it, “hard work”, and not talent or IQ. While people marveled at the Pietà masterpiece, this is how the wizard, Michelangelo responded:

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all...

For practical insights refer to: Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Profile Image for Maede.
274 reviews392 followers
March 1, 2017
تأثیر این کتاب روی من عجیب بود. مخصوصا اینکه چیز جدیدی به من نمی گفت. چیزهایی رو می گفت که من همیشه می دونستم ولی خوندن این کتاب بهم نشون داد که همیشه ناراضی بودم چون این هارو می دونستم و هیچوقت برای خودم عملی نکردم

از موقعی که هشت سالم بود با بچه های ضعیف تر کلاس ریاضی کار می کردم و با همه ی کودکیم اعتقاد داشتم که اگر بیشتر تلاش کنند می تونند. نمی دونستم چرا برای خودم هرگز این کار رو نکردم
همیشه به تلاش اعتقاد داشتم و هیچوقت اونجور که باید تلاش نکردم. خودم رو که بیشتر شناختم دیدم که از ترس شکست فرار می کردم. اینکه یا باید اول باشم یا هیچ چیز نباشم

تمام کاری که این کتاب کرد روشن کردن و باز کردن فکر های خودم بود و اینکه باعث شد به طور جدی به تغییر روش فکر کنم. به کنار گذاشتن این فکر که من دیگه خراب کردم، دیره، کار از کار گذشته
به خاطر این کتاب به فکر فرو رفتم که کمی به این وحشت قضاوت شدن و انتقاد شدن غلبه کنم

کتاب تکرار زیاد می کنه، زمینه های مختلفی رو بررسی می کنه و شاید بیش از حد مثال میزنه ولی در آخر فقط یک چیز رو میگه

طرز فکرت رو عوض کن، هیچ خصوصیتی ثابت نیست، این تویی که باید با تلاش به خواسته هات بررسی. نه اینکه فوق‌العاده و خاص به دنیا بیای، باید بشی
و اگر نیستی فقط تقصیر خودته

امتیاز کتاب به خاطر تاثیرش روی فکرم بود و اینکه هرجوری نوشته شده موفق شد این کار رو بکنه
October 25, 2013
I think a lot of people who rated this book highly must have had a "fixed mindset".

I think this book was a waste of money, personally. The tone of the book is very repetitive and annoying. Essentially people with a growth mindset are better than people without it in every possible way. If you have a fixed mindset you'll have lower grades in school, be unhappier, die earlier, be fatter, (be more likely to) never get married, make a bundle less money, you name it! It reads more like fear mongering than actual research, rattling off a list of everyone's most basic fears "But if you listen to me, Carol Dweck, all of your dreams and more will come true!".

I also don't recall Dweck listing many references to any of her research, you're just supposed to take her stories at face value "Because I'm a researcher!".

Mindset offers a lot of words with little substance. I will admit that I haven't finished the book, and I don't plan to. Dweck's tone really just grated on my nerves, and I don't feel I gained anything useful from reading what parts of the book I read. I can't imagine anything more useful coming to light at the end.
610 reviews32 followers
March 12, 2011
Excellent book. This one sounds like a typical self-help book, but it's a real find. The author is a pyschology researcher at Columbia, and her book is filled with insights and illustrations regarding the differences that a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset can have when applied to business, parenting, school, and relationships. Her research has been highlighted in many venues, including an excellent book on parenting titled Nurture Shock.

I give it 5 stars because I can see so much of myself in the book's description of the fixed mindset. The book's message spoke to me and the mindset I've adopted in some areas of my life. I'm particularly prone to the "Effort Gone Awry" scenario where I would work hard, but not with a growth mindset (i.e., one associated with the love of learning). Rather, I'd be working hard to prove myself to others. I worked hard to have achievements that would validate my self worth and adopted identity. The downside is that you end up being unwilling to take risks or face tough challenges (if you fail, your self worth goes down). Also, you end up running yourself ragged and being stressed out because you're afraid of losing the approval of others if you don't succeed.

I find the growth mindset fits very well within a Christian perspective as our life in God needs to be always one of continual growth -- "higher up and deeper in" as C.S. Lewis would say. The fixed vs. growth mindset isn't the whole story, but it's an important part of the puzzle in helping us better understand how our minds work.

I like the diagram on p.245 that I believe sums up the message of the book.

Fixed Mindset:
-E.g., Intelligence is static

Leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to...
Challenges: avoid challenges
Obstacles: get defensive or give up easily
Effort: see effort as fruitless or worse
Criticism: ignore useful negative feedback
Success of others: feel threatened by the success of others

=> As a result, they may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential

Growth Mindset:
-E.g., Intelligence can be developed

Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to...
Challenges: embrace challenges
Obstacles: persist in the face of setbacks
Effort: see effort as the path to mastery
Criticism: learn from criticism
Success of others: find lessons and inspiration in the success of others

=> As a result, they reach ever-higher levels of achievement

These basic questions are also helpful in developing a growth mindset.

I need to continually ask myself:
-What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me?

As I think of opportunities and form a plan, I need to ask:
When, where, and how will I embark on my plan?

As I encounter difficulties, I need to ask:
When, where, and how will I act on my new plan?

And when you succeed, ask yourself:
What do I have to do to maintain and continue the growth?
Profile Image for Becca.
126 reviews1 follower
April 13, 2014
It's pretty bad when after 15 pages, I want to fling a book away in disgust. But I kept reading. (Okay, it turned into skimming pretty quickly). And it DIDN'T GET BETTER.

I've read several thoughtful and interesting pieces of journalism lately referencing the general thesis of this book that were really thought provoking. But the book itself is just empty tripe and cliches, without adding any content of interest to bolster the general idea that it's more important to foster a growth mindset over a static mindset in people, so that they can better cope with and adapt to situations in which they are not just naturally talented. I'm actually very sympathetic to this general idea, but the book was just terribly written, and in fact made me wonder if I should rethink my agreement with her.

Here is just a small sampling of ridiculousness that is within the pages of this book:

- A section is literally begun with the words "Since the dawn of time." Your average ninth grader should be aware that this is a terrible idea.

- An extensive summary of the movie "Groundhog's Day" is given as support for a theory of psychology.

- Half the book is filled with "interesting trivia" that suggest that people who begin stupid can work hard and be AMAZING!!! For example, did you know people thought Einstein was slow as a child?! - Yes, everybody knows that piece of faux-trivia. And it's not even true - real evolutionary psychologists believe that Einstein's brain was larger than average in areas that encourage spatial reasoning and an intuitive grasp of numbers. (Steven Pinker told me that in _The Blank Slate_. After about three pages of this book, it was not hard to decide which author I find more credible.)

- So many ridiculous cliches (introduced as ARGUMENTS and EVIDENCE) that it would be impossible to catalogue them all. This book is practically an encyclopedia of phrases like "nothing ventured, nothing gained!" and "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

- The explanations of the research projects that created these "findings" make it obvious that you cannot trust these results. For instance, they presented kindergarteners with a test that they said was "very important." Before administering the test, they asked followup questions of the five year olds: "Do you think this test will measure how smart you are?" and "Do you think this test will measure how smart you will be as a grown-up?" Almost all of them said yes, except for one five year old I am certain is fictional, who responded "No way! Ain't no test that can measure that!" If you ask a FIVE YEAR OLD an extremely leading question who has been given no information, you are almost guaranteed to get a shower of "yes!" answers. The fact that they didn't immediately display suspiciousness toward researchers and critically deconstruct their questions is evidence of nothing. At best, it's evidence that children respond to leading questions and/or don't listen and think very deeply or carefully when asked leading questions.

- There is one section that is full of reports about "genius children" to suggest that some of them turned out well (the ones who still applied hard work) and some who didn't (because they just rested on their natural proclivities). All of these stories feel impossible to believe the way they are presented. The author read a book once that told a story about a four month old baby who asked his parents "Mom and Dad, what are we eating for dinner tonight?" This is third-hand, not cited, and completely un-credible. (Even if a baby was genius enough to speak in full sentences at four months old, he cannot eat solid food yet, so why on earth does he care what they are making for dinner?).

In short, this might be the worst book I've ever read. Before reading it, I was very persuaded by its premise. After reading it and discovering that at least this explanation of the thesis is the opposite of convincing, I will approach all writers who accept this theory with a huge degree of distrust and suspicion.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,456 reviews8,555 followers
July 3, 2014
Great overarching concept, lackluster execution. In Mindset, Professor of Psychology Carol S. Dweck discusses the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The fixed mindset focuses on immovable measures of achievement and ability, such as the idea that everyone is born with a certain amount of unchangeable intelligence. The growth mindset advocates that everyone can improve themselves in any area of life through hard work. Dweck argues that we should adapt the growth mindset because it aids in parenting, academics, relationships, and more.

As a Psychology major I learned about growth and fixed mindsets in my classes, and it was cool to see Dweck apply the concepts to several different areas, such as sports, marriage, and politics. However, I wish she had done more with her main argument: instead of delving deeper into the psychology behind the mindsets, it felt like she stayed at the surface level of her ideas and applied them to a wide range of interesting yet repetitive anecdotes. She could have connected growth and fixed mindsets to mental health, stereotype threat, feminism, or an assortment of other topics that would have strengthened the thesis of her book.

After 276 pages, I did not feel like I learned anything new. It's not like anything Dweck wrote was wrong or bad, but I could capture her main argument and share it with people just by having them read an article or two, as opposed to this entire book.
Profile Image for Liong.
131 reviews78 followers
April 10, 2023
This book mentions two types of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

Fixed mindset individuals believe abilities are innate and cannot be changed.

Growth mindset individuals believe abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.

The book provides too many examples of how a growth mindset can lead to success in areas like education, sports, business, and relationships.

It discusses the benefits of embracing challenges, learning from failures, and seeking feedback to foster a growth mindset.

In my personal opinion, this book is boring and monotonous.
Profile Image for SJ Loria.
450 reviews75 followers
March 7, 2017
Watered down and scientifically not that accurate (grit is a part of conscientiousness - see studies below), welcome to education's favorite book!

Here is my two sentence summary of this book (best spoken in kindergartner teacher voice): There are two kinds of people in the world, people who believe things are fixed, others who believe they can change through hard work and effort, so believe in the ladder and success will open in front of you! Hooray you are a special snowflake that can grow!

Heavy on the inspirational stories and antidotes, light on the data to support some of the arguments and essentially void of the how to. I agree that the right attitude, one that embraces struggle and hard work in order to increase your talents (which are not fixed, but fluid), helps you succeed in life. But it's about putting ideas into action. This book offers very little practical advice or steps one can take in order to do so. I think most people, after reading this, get that warm fuzzy feeling that wow, this makes sense! But then that fades, and life resumes, and it's just a book on the shelf. Maybe even a companion book to put this idea into action to train the elephant in you (thanks Happiness Hypothesis).

Ultimately, success requires the right attitude but also the sweat to make it happen. And this doesn't really offer practical steps on how to make it happen. There ain't no short cut.

Studies that debunk this book:
http://communityconnectors.ohio.gov/P... (read the abstract page one)
Profile Image for Otis Chandler.
388 reviews113k followers
December 23, 2012
Recommended in Stanford Magazine and by Guy Kawasaki.

A very useful book about the growth mindset. Essentially, the book makes a case that those people who look at everything they do in life as a learning opportunity are much more successful.

I think where this comes into play most often is when we face a setback, or a failure. Whether thats getting rejected from something (a job, a team, etc), messing up at work, having your boss yell at you, losing at something, getting laid off, making a bad bet, etc - most of us have many setbacks in our lives. How we deal with those is incredibly important. If we let the setback define us, we might think we aren't talented after all, and lose confidence. If on the other hand, we look at it as something we can learn from, we improve as a person.

I came at the book as it was recommended to me as being good for parents. My daughter is only 1.6 years, but already she is learning fast. The book recommends praising our children's efforts, instead of their results. Telling them they are "amazing", and "smart" is so easy to do, but if you do that their whole lives they won't succeed when they get to the real world. What you want is to encourage a learning attitude. This quote sums it up:

"So what should we say when children complete a task—say, math problems—quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise they have earned? Yes. When this happens, I say, “Whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time. Let’s do something you can really learn from!"

Looking at life as a constant challenge is fun. And you can't fail at a personal challenge! Here is a great mental imagery technique the book mentioned when you are doing something you are bad at:

"Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going."

Another interesting bit was how people at the top of their game can get caught up in a fixed mindset. You see this in sports all the team - the champion team from last year thinks they can cruise through this year, doesn't work hard, and suddenly they are losing a lot. It's so hard to maintain the edge. John Wooden puts it best:

"I believe ability can get you to the top,” says coach John Wooden, “but it takes character to keep you there.… It’s so easy to … begin thinking you can just ‘turn it on’ automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there. When you read about an athlete or team that wins over and over and over, remind yourself, ‘More than ability, they have character.'"
Profile Image for Stark.
203 reviews7 followers
May 17, 2018
This is probably all i really need to hear out of this book, but i will read the whole thing anyway. there are two mindsets. fixed and growth.

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone -- the fixed mindset -- creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character -- well, then you'd better prove you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn't do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.
I've seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves -- in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?
There's another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you're dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you are secretly worried it's a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you're dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.
Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that's its impossible to forsee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

"a person's true potential is unknown (and unknowable)" i feel like those words contain so much freedom for both those who have been made crazy by high expectations in their upbringing, and put down with low ones. it is not a knowable thing, what your potential is, anyone who told you they knew, it was a lie, and you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide? what a relief
Profile Image for Alex.
17 reviews3 followers
July 24, 2011
Another book that attempts to build upon the research of Anders Ericsson.

The way I read it, I would break the book into 3 parts:
Part 1: How people fail because they don't have the right mindset
Part 2: How people success because they have the right mindset
Part 3: You could also call this part 2a - it basically deals with children and success in school, home, etc.

The first part of the book was the worst. Its case after case of "this person tried to succeed and failed because he didn't have the right mindset". Great. So what was the right mindset? She doesn't tell you. How do you obtain it, or get into that mindset? She doesn't tell you. She tells you whats wrong without explaining WHY it is wrong, etc. She sorta reserves that for the next part of the book. Also, there is no form. Its kind of a rambling, unorganized mess. You read it and are wondering "Ok, this person failed, that person failed. They didn't have the right mindset. Do you mind explaining to me what the right mindset ACTUALLY IS? How a bout how do *I* get the right mindset so I can avoid all this?" Some of those questions never get answered.

The second part of the book has all these success stories, and she tells you that they were successful because they had the right mindset. She delves slightly into what the right mindset is, but there really aren't a new revelations here. And she never tells you how to get into that mindset. IOW, there is nothing in the book about motivation (intrinsic or extrinsic). There is nothing about background and upbringing or lessons learn earlier in life. There is no compare and contrast with the first part of the book to bring things into a proper context.

IOW, shes not teaching you about mindset, shes just telling you. Thanks. Its like describing to someone how the piano is played vs actually giving someone lessons.

If you are interested in this type of material, check out Geoffry Colvin's "Talent Is Overrated" and Matthew Sayid's "Bounce" - preferably in that order. Read it and you will see all that this book is missing. And though Colvin's book can get dry at time, it still has forward movement, and ideas build upon previous ones, and things are explained very well. All things that this one is lacking.
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books906 followers
July 4, 2017
This is as simple as it is revolutionary. Should be required reading for parents and educators, but everyone can benefit--even if you aren't really on the prowl for 'success'. What I love most is that the concept will improve yourself, but even if you struggle to change your mindset from 'fixed' to 'growth' you can instill benefits on others by praising work rather than talent.

If you've ever praised someone for being 'smart' or destined to be the 'next Mozart' or a 'natural' you'll realize that you've inadvertently wrecked havoc on their psyche. As victims of this type of praise, you'll learn how to change your mindset after being damaged. Of course the book is much more than that, but those segments were the most life-changing for me. The 'growth' and 'fixed' mindset concepts extend to every aspect of life and, unlike many self-help books, it's not necessarily something that's common sense. This IS revolutionary. Check it out!!!
Profile Image for Tanja Berg.
1,860 reviews425 followers
August 15, 2017
I bought this book last year, but didn't get around to it. While reading something else recently, it referred to this one and I decided to give it a go.

The basic premise is that "the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life."

"Believing that your qualities are carved in stone - the fixed mindset - creates and urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character - well, then you'd better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn't do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characterstics."

"The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although many people may differ in every which way - in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests or temperaments - everyone can change and grow through application and experience."

I've done some soul searching on myself, because I can certainly be angst-ridden and defensive. However, no matter how terribly I've failed, I have always tried again. I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as talent, only practice. It wasn't just Malcolm Gladwell who convinced me of this.

I went to an elite highschool. We were all told we were smart, but that that would not put us through - only effort would. The growth mindset cultivated in my class led to many remarkable achievements. I had already cultivated good study habits, and these saw me through. I was more interested in learning than in being the best - the latter would have been futile in the group I was in anyway.

The psychology classes of those highschool years taught me about IQ tests and the difficulty of measuring such a thing because of biases. It also taught me that most of the things measured could be learned. The IQ tests I have taken prove as much. I excel at langauge, anagrams, visual patterns and numbers - these are things I have practiced. I suck at logic. I never really attempted to learn it in the theory of knowledge classes either, but I could have and could still.

When I was appointed my first management position, I read. When I got more responsibility and felt overwhelmed, I went back to part-time school and took a semester of work and organization psychology. This also involved some very specific things around Norwegian employment law, in addition to learning more about how people react to different situations. These classes were incredibly helpful. If I had had a fixed mindset, I would probably not have put so much effort into learning how to be a better boss having believed my traits and talents fixed. But I'm not done, and I never will be - there are always more things to learn.

Lately I've become better at recognizing destructive thought patterns and tweaking my reactions. This is cognitive psychology, something this author doesn't seem to hold high in regard. However, the cognitive psychology I have been reading focuses much on behavior. If you want to live a more healthy lifestyle, start behaving like you are. Get your ass out of the sofa. And so forth. I find that the cognitive approach and the growth mindset go hand in hand.

When things go to hell, don't take it personally but do accept personal responsibility for it. Learn what you can, move on and do better next time. Take it from me, the biggest screw up contain the biggest potential lessons.

There is no talent. There is only effort and practice.
Profile Image for Ladan.
184 reviews344 followers
October 10, 2019

It is easy to follow the first 150 pages of the book in which the writer who is an accentuated Stanford professor presents the outcome of her research accompanied by tangible instances in various fields. I enjoy her honest confession of her flawed grammar through the very first pages. It makes her like one of those problem-solver types who yield to anyone who is obsessed with correcting others.
While talking about her big experience with examining kids’ reactions to failure, it reminded me of my 2-year-old niece who strives for her independence and doing anything on her own. I assume that kids are one of the best sources to learn and approach anything in a novel way.
Dweck categorizes people into having two kinds of mindsets, albeit it is feasible that one would have a mixture of both mindsets.
1. The growth mindset, which promises one to learn and improve in any desired field.
2. The fixed mindset, which leads to frustration and anxiety.
The growth mindset insists that humans are capable of improving their intelligence and abilities. People having this mindset have high self-esteem and believe in themselves since they know that if they try hard enough and spend ample time they will improve. The striving and improvement are what matter the most to people bearing this mindset, thus they enjoy the journey of challenge and progress not the moment of achievement. On the other hand, people holding a fixed mindset define themselves with what they achieve and if they do not succeed, it demeans them to nothing. Their self-esteem is highly tied to the result of their actions. However, growth mindset people value their effort, creativity and strategies rather than the outcome. They make opportunities out of their failures and challenge themselves each day to carve a better version of themselves. Unfortunately, fixed mindset people who are mostly perfectionists would go for doing repetitive tasks just in case to escape facing the risk of failure. Challenges and trying new things for them equals the probability of failure and being judged. They presume that if you are born with a gift there is no need for putting effort into work!
It is possible for the growth mindset people to get frustrated after failure or even feel depressed, though they would still be functional. Therefore, talent is by no means something to be proud of, instead, the effort and courage to take risks are of high value. Yet they are realistic enough to be aware of that trying hard does not guarantee success, the novel strategies that you use creatively to improve matter the most. They know that there are many other factors, which may influence achieving a goal or not achieving it, i.e financial status, network, education level, and different available resources, which significantly affect how much effort one should put into work.
Regardless of what mindset one has been holding up to now, it is recommended to consciously take the road to a growth mindset. This mindset makes it easy to enjoy spending time on what one loves and one may accordingly prosper in something never planned for.
Fixed mindset types owe their success to their talent and innate abilities, no matter how hard they try, it is always a matter of innate gift, you have it or not, you were born with it or not.
There are numerous examples provided through the book in almost every field, introducing world-class gurus, describing their mindset and their approaches in order to clarify how the growth and fixed mindset work. The upshot of studies investigating three types of corporates and their mindsets is very informative:
1. The average corporates upgraded to high-level ones, which sustain their status
2. The average corporates improved to a high-level but degraded to their previous status
3. The corporates, which had no improvement at all through the time of probing
Bear in mind that the resources available to these corporates were almost similar and the only distinguishing difference between them was their mindset.
I found the examples provided in chapter 5 so tangible and applicable, especially for managers and leaders. They are constructive and illuminate the role of a leader, who is supposed to guide the system and simultaneously learn and educate him/herself with the staff and produce a feeling of belonging among the staff. This so reminded me of Jordan Belford in wolf of wall street movie and how strongly his staff felt belonged. In hard times, this feeling won’t let them even think about quitting, instead it motivates them to improve the circumstances and be more committed and feel more responsible to solve the problems. The feeling of belonging leads to a feeling of being supported regardless of the result. Systems holding a growth mindset act more humanely because they don’t consider one to act like a machine and do exactly what he is told to achieve the desired goal. However, in a fixed mind system chances are that people act unethically to prove themselves (since they are only measured by the outcome) and remain safe and secure from being judged. In these systems, one may easily be belittled, insulted or even omitted due to failure, however in a system holding a growth mindset people are allowed to take risks and creatively take new approaches to handle the situation. This may still turn into failure but they value the improvement and effort.
Discussing the relationships in chapter 6, Dweck puts the emphasis on the art of communication and suggests that one should cease the expectancy of others to be mind readers. She believes lack of actual communication skills is the origin of misunderstandings and advises that one should put time and effort into a relationship to make it work.
In order to figure out our mindset, it is better to check the features of each mindset in our behaviours and approaches. If we are defensive, inflexible to change and always looking for excuses and someone to blame and consider ourselves as victims of the circumstances, we hold a fixed mindset which can only provide us with the abovementioned alibies to escape the responsibility and imprison us in our comfort zone. On the other hand, if we strive for improvement and learning and are embrace new challenges just for the sake of growth we have a growth mindset.
The last chapter which seems to be added recently claims to provide one with approaches to alter the fixed mindset. After all, I found the book somehow too long and repetitive yet informative!
Profile Image for Johnny Trash.
62 reviews9 followers
September 18, 2012
This is a book which the administrators in my organization are reading. I am reading it as well, though I'm not an administrator.

I am only on page 43 but I already have dismissed the ideas and the author as superficial. Written in a casual style (the author states in the introduction: "A little note about grammar. I know it and I love it, but I haven't always followed it in this book. I start sentences with ands and buts. I end sentences with prepositions. I use the plural they in contexts that require the singular he or she. I've done this for imformality and immediacy, and I hope that the sticklers will forgive me."

Well, I have a hard time forgiving that when this had to pass through professional copy editors (it's published by Ballentine). But even worse is the informality of the anecdotes and conclusions.

Her thesis is that there are two types of people in the world, those with a "fixed mindset" and those with a "growth mindset." The former believe that their intelligence and ability are "fixed" and there is no opportunity to become smarter or more able. So why try. Do what you are already good at and avoid situations where you might possibly fail or do worse than expected. Growth-minded people believe that failure is an opportunity to grow.

That's it. There's the book. Fluffed up with superficial renderings of true life stories and supposed quotes from the author's research subjects.

While the author has 239 footnotes at the back of the book, backing up her statements, her stories come off as simplistic to the extreme. The most disturbing example so far is that of the late chef, Bernard Loiseau. The author claims he committed suicide because he had a fixed mindset and could not accept that his restaurant lost a "star" in the leading restaurant guide in Europe.

"...the director of the GaultMillau (the restaurant guide) said it was unimaginable that their rating could have taken his life. But in the fixed mindset, it is imaginable. The lower rating gave him a new definition of himself: Failure. Has-been.

"It's striking what counts as failure in the fixed mindset. So, on a lighter note..."

Here the author has taken a complex situation and reduced it to "guy killed himself because he was one of my two types of people in the world." And then blythely moves on to "a lighter note."

A quick look at Wikipedia shows that there was more to the story than that. There were known factors such as debt. And any thinking person would tell you there are other underlying factors that could have been involved such as clinical depression, bi-polar disorder, possibly drug or alcohol abuse, childhood abuse or neglect issues, the list goes on. The point is, the author chose to simplify in a way that simply makes her point.

I'm still reading this book because it makes me actually angry and I feel I need to review it for my administrators to let them know my thoughts.

Profile Image for Minwoo.
59 reviews20 followers
February 4, 2016
I feel like the criticism this book gets is an exhibit of fixed mindset. Simple concept, yes, but universally applicable. Definitely left a profound impact on how I think and see the world, and I would like people around me to have read it. So five stars.
Profile Image for Keyo Çalî.
66 reviews94 followers
November 2, 2020
Almost all of us know what the author is trying to say
"have a growth-mindset and success is about learning
it is not about proving you are smart...
and that innate talent is nothing because success is 99% hard work..."

even children know that!!!
the book is full of examples and stories to prove that

but...but I like this book because of two reasons:
1. The author teaches you how to find a good mindset which works for you.
2. She helps you to find it because the book gives you a huge set of stories and examples which you can use their experience on your way.

I recommend this book to everybody but especially to athletes, students, businessmen, and couples
Profile Image for Mehrnaz.
144 reviews93 followers
June 10, 2021
شاید اگر روزی لیستی از کتا‌ب‌های خودیاری به دوستانم پیشنهاد بدم، این کتاب اولین یا دومین کتاب لیست باشه.

بیان ایده و در یک جمله گفتنش خیلی راحته. لازم نیست کتاب رو بخونیم تا بدونیم باید دیدِ رشد داشت. اما خیلی از مشکلات عمیق، دقیقا می‌تونن با همین دید و آموزه‌های همین کتاب حل بشن.

حدس میزنم که بایوهایِ شبکه‌های اجتماعی با جملات:
Always a student, Always learning & unlearning...
رو زیاد دیدید (خودم هم جزوشون!). از دید من این کتاب با تکرار و تاکید زیادش، این دید رو بیشتر جا میندازه و میتونه دلیل خیلی از رفتارها و تصمیم‌های شخصی رو روشن کنه‌ و دید بده.
همچنین می‌تونه کتاب خیلی مفیدی برای پدرها و مادرها باشه.

هشدار: این کتاب رو میشه خوند و فکر کرد که کلیشه است. یکم به سلیقه، نوع خوندن و.. می‌تونه بستگی داشته باشه. اما پیشنهادم اینه که با دید یادگیری بخونینش و امیدوارم مثل من ازش لذت ببرید!

به نظرم بعد از سه چهارم یا حتی شاید نصف به بعد، دیگه نویسنده حرفش‌ رو زده و تکرار ناخوشایندی احساس میشه. شاید هم این فقط حس من باشه چون خوانش کتاب خیلی طولانی شد.

پ.ن. صحبت‌های نویسنده در تدتاک و گوگل‌تاک جالب هست.

3.5 *
Profile Image for Jonathan Karmel.
362 reviews37 followers
February 13, 2012
I read the first few chapters but then ended up skimming the rest. I absolutely agree with the author that it's better to have a growth mindset than a fixed mindset. It just seemed like the author made the point and then kept repeating it over and over again. I did think it was valuable to apply this principle to relationships (chapter 6); it's nice to have someone confirm that good relationships are a lot of hard work and that if a relationship requires a great deal effort that does not mean that you failed to find your true love.

While having a growth mindset is a prerequisite to success, I don't personally think changing your mindset is the greatest impediment to success. I think a lot of people believe they could succeed, but they feel like they lack the motivation and energy to make the effort to do things that are really difficult. They feel like they should do things but then feel guilty about not doing them. By the way, I'd be interested to know how the author squares her theory with the section of the The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns that explains why you should stop “must”-erbating. It seems like a person who tried to take Dweck's advice to heart would spend a lot of time feeling like they "should" be doing things to grow, and might also feel awful that they are not actually doing all of the things that they feel that they should be doing.

Also, many, many people are constantly making a tremendous effort to grow but still feel as if they are failing. They are in fact expending effort ineffectively and are extremely frustrated. Is the problem for most people really that they do not have a growth mindset, or rather that they just can't figure out exactly what they need to do to grow?
Profile Image for sabina🐆.
69 reviews19 followers
October 25, 2022
This is a groundbreaking book that explains how mindset can revolutionise our attitude towards failure.
I read this in college when I was competing my Masters in Education and it ended up being the topic of my thesis.
I never knew the power language held in how we perceive success and failure - but more so how important language is to children. If you tell a child that they are so smart when they get 10/10 in a test they actually hear “wow, you are so smart because you answered all the questions correctly”. But if you tell a child that they did a wonderful job on the test and therefore must have worked very hard to achieve that grade they hear “effort = success”. Two very different messages.
The end point here is that these two children will approach a test very differently the next time. The child who thinks grades = intelligence will be fearful of failure, whereas the child who knows effort = intelligence will not be afraid of a challenge or failure because they know they just haven’t achieved the answer YET.
It’s a great book and I use the lessons in it everyday in my work.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,143 reviews598 followers
June 5, 2018
This is quite possibly the single most repetitive piece of literature I've read in my life. Carol S. Dweck seems to think she has unlocked the secrets to the universe with what seems to me to be a rather obvious theory: you should try to learn from failure rather than giving up when things go poorly. I mean, am I the only one who doesn't view that as anything groundbreaking? Also, I found it incredibly annoying how Dweck would take literally any famous positive or negative story in history, oversimplify it, and try to attribute it to a growth and fixed mindset simply by speculating.

*read for class
Profile Image for Μαρία Αλεξοπούλου.
Author 2 books133 followers
July 31, 2019
Καταμεσής του θέρους αποφάσισα να κάνω ένα διάλειμμα από τα συνηθισμένα μου αναγνώσματα (φαντασίας-μυστηρίου) και να καταπιαστώ με ένα βιβλίο αυτοβελτίωσης. Στο πρόσφατο παρελθόν έχω διαβάσει αντίστοιχα ψυχολογικά βιβλία του Jorge Bucay, του Leo Buscaglia και του δικού μας Πιντέρη αλλά και όταν φοιτούσα στη Φιλοσοφική Σχολή προτιμούσα τα βιβλία ψυχολογίας ως επιλεγόμενα. To βιβλίο της Carol S.Dweck που έχει πουλήσει πάνω από 1,8 εκατομμύρια αντίτυπα μου τράβηξε την προσοχή χάρη στο έξυπνο εξώφυλλο.

Tην κριτική μπορείτε να τη βρείτε στο One girl, one pen!
Profile Image for Yelda Basar Moers.
184 reviews143 followers
March 9, 2017
I have always been fascinated by why some people reach their potential and others don't. Everyone surely wants to. So what is the difference? I really enjoyed this book which addresses this question head on. Carol S. Dweck is a Stanford University psychologist who has spent decades of research on achievement and success. In the end the differing factor for her came down to the concept of mindset. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

This book was recommended to me by the headmaster of my son's school. She recommended it to all of the parents for their children to foster their academic success. I found the author's findings to be helpful and revelatory, though I wasn't crazy about the writing. At time I felt it was choppy and abrupt, and almost too simplistic, but I think this book is worth reading regardless as her research is important to help people breakthrough their own barriers to achieve their full potential.

Profile Image for Saeed.
173 reviews53 followers
May 31, 2017
حرف این کتاب این است که دو نگرش وجود دارد یکی نگرش رشد و دیگری نگرش سکون، به این صورت که انسان باید همیشه رو به رشد باشد و کسی به یک باره و بدون زحمت یک قهرمان و سوپرمن نمی شود

نویسنده در ستایش رشد و بالندگی مطالب زیادی گفته است، چیزی که من از این کتاب یاد گرفتم این است که خود من نیز تا حدودی قبل از خواندن این کتاب نگرش استاتیکی نسبت به مسائل داشتم، مثلاً زمانی که می خواستم وارد رشته ی جدید و محیط جدیدی که قبلاً چیزی از آن نمی دانستم بشوم ، همیشه ناراحت بودم که چرا من بهترین نیستم، نویسنده معتقد است که همیشه این اتفاق می افتد، شما استعداد یک باره و انفجاری نسبت به مسائل ندارید، شما به خاطر این اینجا هستید که رشد کنید و یاد بگیرید که اگر همه چیز را از قبل می دانستید و بلد بودید جایگاه تان مسلماً به عنوان استاد آن رشته بود نه به عنوان یک دانش آموز یا یک بازیکن ورزشی

اگر معلم هستید این کتاب را بخوانید با خواندن این کتاب از آموزش هیچ یک از دانش آموزان ضعیف تر کلاس سر باز نمی زنید زیرا اگر این گونه هستید به فرآیند آموزش و یادگیری دانش آموزانتان آگاه نیستید

مطلب جالب دیگری که نویسنده در این کتاب اشاره میکند در زمینه ی ازدواج است که اگر بدنبال همسری رویایی هستید شاید سخت بتوانید آن را پیدا کنید و این شاید از نگرش استاتیکی شما نشئت می گیرد ولی اگر تغییر نگرش دهید و به این موضوع و باور برسید که هر انسانی توانایی تغییر و بهتر شدن دارد و ازدواج می تواند وسیله ای برای رشد دو طرف باشد، شاید زندگیتان به خوشبختی نزدیک تر شود

لازم که ذکر کنم این کتاب کتابی است برای انسان هایی که عاشق رقابت هستند برای ورزشکاران که به دنبال اول شدن هستند و من خودم به شخصه خیلی این حجم از شور رقابت تویه کتاب را دوست ندارم

انتقادی هم به کتاب دارم این است که انسان ها باید واقع بین باشند، درست که رشد در همه ی زمینه ها با تلاش برای همه ی انسان امکان پذیر است ولی این تلاش باید در زمینه ای صورت بگیرد که نقطه ی قوت آن فرد را نیز شکوفا کند، مثلاً فرض کنید یک فردی که 170 سانتی متر قد دارد درست است که با فداکاری از قسمت های دیگر زندگیش و تلاش زیاد بسکتبالیست حرفه ای می شود ولی این فرد هنوز هم نفر اول آن رشته ی ورزشی نمی تواند باشد تا زمانی که فردی با 2 متر قد با همان مقدار فداکاری و تلاش (و یا شاید کمتر) در آن رشته وجود دارد
Profile Image for David.
24 reviews15 followers
January 11, 2018
A bit long-winded at times, but well worth reading. The repetition could be frustrating, but the reinforcement was likely beneficial. I'm starting to see the growth and fixed mindset all around me, especially in other books I'm reading and movies I'm watching, and it's fascinating to realize how important this shift in attitude is to my approach to the world.
Profile Image for Andy.
1,373 reviews464 followers
February 18, 2022
It's one thing to tell people their brains are like muscles. But the author pumps up that analogy until it explodes. Michael Jordan had to practice really really hard before he became a great basketball player. OK. But if he were 5 feet tall, it would not matter how hard he practiced; he would never have been an NBA MVP superstar. Yet the author writes "Can anyone do anything? I don't really know." Seriously!? That is literally farcical.


This book has glowing reviews from reputable sources and positions the author as "one of the world's leading researchers" in psychology. So I'm holding it to a high standard. The author mentions Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and claims that "Mindsets go further." CBT is supported by numerous clinical trials. Where is there similarly rigorous evidence for a benefit from Mindsets? I could not find it in the book.

I think there are better books covering the same area.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain
Flow The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Managing Your Mind The Mental Fitness Guide by Gillian Butler Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques for Retraining Your Brain by Jason M. Satterfield
Profile Image for Kressel Housman.
971 reviews222 followers
May 7, 2008
The flap copy on this book promised it would be "a great book that will change your life." That certainly raised my expectations, and I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed.

The premise of the book is the basis of cognitive psychology: what you believe affects your whole life, so if you can change your beliefs, ie, your mindset, you can change your life. This book characterizes two mindsets, the fixed and the growth-oriented. The fixed is the more common one because that's what society tends to drill into us. Natural talent necessarily brings success. If you're talented, you shouldn't have to work hard, and if you fail, then you just weren't as talented as you thought you were.

The growth mindset is the opposite. Hard work is more important to success than talent, and when you fail, you just have to plan a better strategy for success. The book goes on to show applications of both mindsets in sports, business, relationships, education, and parenting. And the stories cited paint human portraits. My favorites were the contrast between fixed mindset John McEnroe vs. growth mindset Tiger Woods. And I'm not even into sports! It didn't matter; the point is the psychology.

The author acknowledges that it's not easy to rid yourself of the fixed mindset. But since reading this book, I'm vigilant on myself. And most of all I try and remember its most important lesson: if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
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