• Elizabeth Wells

Book Review: Mindset by Carol Dweck

“Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.”


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Mindset

The New Psychology of Success

Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

320 pages

Ⓒ 2007 Baltimore Books


Author Background

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is one of the world's leading researchers in developmental, social and personality psychology. She is a professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

All her publications can be found here. TED Talk: The power of believing that you can improve (2014)

 

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What problem does this book attempt to address?

Mindset is based upon the premise that there are two mindsets that people use to frame themselves and their lives. Dweck argues that one of these mindsets, the fixed mindset, holds people back and has many negative consequences on wellbeing and potential for growth for both children and adults. The purpose of the book is to lay out how each mindset differs and demonstrate the negative consequences of having a fixed mindset and the positive consequences of having a growth mindset. She also addresses how to help ourselves, children and employees obtain and maintain a growth mindset, especially when life gets challenging.


Content

· Concept explanation: Clear

· Related stories: Many

· Data references and studies: Many

· Charts and graphics: One

· Practical application: Strong


The book starts by introducing the two mindsets and describing what it feels like to be a person in each mindset. The second chapter goes into great depth about the differences between the two mindsets in a wide range of situations. The following chapters delve into specific situations - work, relationships, parenting, etc. While the information can seem to be repeated from chapter to chapter, the purpose of repeating it in the context of people in different situations keeps it from feeling repetitive. The stories are used in a constructive manner to demonstrate different ways the mindsets can manifest both as thoughts and as actions. The last chapter is dedicated to helping readers make the shift from a fixed to a growth mindset for themselves.


Writing Style & Presentation

· Tone: Professional, but very readable

· Organization: Excellent

· Flow: Excellent


There is nothing I would have like to seen differently in regards to writing style or presentation. The breakdown of information into chapters based on context was ideal and the bullet points summarizing the main points from each chapter are very helpful.


Bringing It All Together

One thing done really well is the balance between stories of people with either the fixed or growth mindset, the results of studies, and the narration of the book. The other thing I thought was done really well was the addition of relevant information based on the section. It never felt like the same chapter repeated over and over with “teacher” swapped out for “boss”, for example. One main thing I took away from this book was that everyone has a fixed mindset, but in what situations and how often it shows up depends on the person.


Overall Recommendation

Overall recommendation. 5/5

Who I would recommend this book for: Everyone, to be quite honest. I can’t think of a situation where this information wouldn’t be valuable to know either for yourself or for those you interact with on a regular basis.


If you enjoyed this book, Dweck also has another academic book titled “ Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology) " which may be of interest to you as well.


Published Chapters

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8


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