Updated: Feb 11
Mindset by American Psychologist Dr Carol S.Dweck is a highly regarded book on the psychology of the human mind.
First published in 2006, Mindset was ground breaking in the way it approached the concept of intelligence as a fluid state, that is impacted by your effort and belief towards it.
This is still the book people talk about when trying to understand the difference between those who succeed and those who fail in life.
The 2 minute book summary would be, some people have a growth mindset and some people have a fixed mindset. Although actually we all have both. But some people venture more one side of the fence than the other.
People who identify more with the fixed mindset believe they have a certain amount of intelligence and that won't change.
It is particularly important that we manage the way children think about mindset. When children see that everyone can learn and everyone can improve then they are far more likely to succeed at their studies and life.
Also, labelling a child as a genius can actually be the most damaging thing you can do, because children who fear losing their position at the top of the tree are less likely to try something new, or even to try.
Some people believe that your intelligence is something you are born with and cannot change. This book shows that this is not true.
What did I like about Mindset?
I enjoyed learning about some of the famous people who have had growth mindsets and those who haven't. Tennis player John McEnroe is an example of someone who had a fixed mindset apparently but Tiger Woods has the growth mindset.
There are lots of examples given from the business world, people like Jack Welch of General Electric, who transformed the company through getting opinions on what to change and make better from everyone involved in the business, taking it from a $14bn company to $490bn 20 years later.
Conversely the Enron team. It created a culture that worshipped talent. Forcing its employees to look and act talented. And we all now how that ended.
Anyone can learn anything
The whole idea of a growth mindset is that anyone can learn anything.
Yes it might take some of us longer than others, but as humans we love to celebrate the idea of the genius, the person who is naturally gifted in something.
Artists are a particular example of this, we have a very hard time considering that learning to draw and paint better is possible.
As humans we seem to prefer to think that Artists are just born and are somehow incredibly talented, when really this kind of work can be taught in the same way as other disciplines.
We prefer to celebrate inate talent over hard work, and hard work is what will separate the average from the genius.
There are lots of tips for changing your mindset and how you think about learning. All in all well worth a read.
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