Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
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World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset.

Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

“If you manage any people or if you are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset.”
–Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start and the blog How to Change the World

"Highly recommended . . . an essential read for parents, teachers [and] coaches . . . as well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfillment.”
–Library Journal (starred review)

“A serious, practical book. Dweck’s overall assertion that rigid thinking benefits no one, least of all yourself, and that a change of mind is always possible, is welcome.”
–Publishers Weekly

“A good book is one whose advice you believe. A great book is one whose advice you follow. This is a book that can change your life.”
–Robert J. Sternberg, author of Teaching for Successful Intelligence

“A wonderfully elegant idea . . . It is a great book.”
–Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction

Customer Reviews:

  • A Lot More than a New Psychology of Success
    The subtitle stinks. It makes the reader think that the substance of the book is merely a different approach to positive thinking. NOT SO! Instead, this is a great book. Here's why. It answers two very important questions--and it does so from a very solid research basis: why is that some extremely bright people fail to achieve? and why is it that some people who seem only to be ordinary, achieve greatly?

    Furthermore, it challenges the deeply and widely held cultural beliefs about human intelligence--the dogma that intelligence (or IQ) is innate and hardwired. Old dogma dies hard. Once concepts are deeply embedded, a superstructure of assumptions and ideas grows around it. Rejecting a dogma means that many ideas are now questionable, and . . . as a result a close read of a book or thoughtful analysis of a new and complex idea is impossible. As an acquaintance of mine said about these ideas: "I don't believe it. I can't believe it. Everything I've ever learned about intelligence and achievement would go out the window." He tuned out. It was a losing battle I chose not to fight.

    What Carol really needs to say--but you can't do it in a book--is that we have profoundly imbibed a cultural attitude that is so wrongheaded, it impacts everything we think about intelligence and achievement. And the failure to look seriously at these ideas is Nutso!

    There's another way to get at the same issue: Why is it that so many Asians do so well in college and in business? Is it that they're Asian? Nahhhh. It's just that they never heard that "the cream rises to the top." That wasn't permitted. Instead, it's if you got a B instead of an A on that test, why didn't you work harder? The Asian mindset is profound--and it results in high achievement. The middle class American mindset that you've only got so much ability is deeply held--and often results in mediocre achievement.

    After our middle daughter graduated from a top university, she was sitting on the front stoop of our home, and a friend who hadn't achieved asked what her father would have done if she hadn't graduated. Without missing a beat, she responded with a smile: "He would have murdered me!"

    That's Carol Dweck's well-researched thesis: Teach your kids and yourself to work smart and keep learning, while you're working hard...and don't stop. It's the key, ultimately, to competitive advantage and American success in a global economy.

    Your Tags: intelligence, personal growth, personal transformation, achievment


    ...more info
  • This book is perfect
    This book is perfect in describing the mindset of the most successful. I love the section about how to create a growth mindset in children. My wife and I are now consciously aware of the message we are giving our son through what we say to him. The last thing I would ever want to do is create a fixed mind set in him.

    [...]...more info
  • Good idea; not that great a book.
    The underlying principle of the book - that valuing hard work is ultimately a better motivator than valuing inherent ability - seems to be a sound one. As another reviewer said, the problem with this book is that the author gets that across in the first chapter. After that, it's example after example, anecdote after anecdote, hypothetical situation after hypothetical situation. The only tool the author offers that would help you to bring this principle to your life, is basically "just do it". Other than the repetition of "you should value this rather than that, because it works better," you get nothing but a conclusion. I didn't find it that useful, even though I liked the underlying principle....more info
  • Change Your Life -- Change Your Kids' Lives
    I really saw myself in these pages and I wish I had learned this stuff ages ago. Not that this is a panacea to all self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, but it certainly helps more than most anything else I have seen or heard.

    The basic idea is that you can approach things from one of two mindsets:

    -- Fixed mindset (talent and ability is fixed; therefore trying harder or challenging yourself will either not help any or expose you as not as smart/talented as you think you are)
    -- Growth mindset (talent and ability can be learned; therefore trying hard, studying, challenging yourself will lead to an increase in your abilities and more success overall)

    (BTW, these are not mutually exclusive - you can be fixed on some areas and growth oriented in others - but one mindset tends to dominate in most areas.)

    The best part is that these mindsets can be learned and encouraged - they are not static and no one is "doomed" to live their life with a fixed mindset.

    Some reviewers seem to have been put off by the fact that she uses multiple examples to illustrate the points she makes. To my mind it was a strength, not a weakness, of the book. It offers multiple hooks for you to use in relating to the different mindsets and for relating it to your own life - an important element if you are to implement the strategies she recommends.

    She begins with detailed descriptions of the two mindsets and where they come from. Then she moves into examining the roles they play in the lives of successful (and unsuccessful) students, teachers, artists, athletes, CEOs, etc. Then she offers a workshop to help you (and others) develop a growth mindset.

    I guess what I liked best about the book was that it seems to be directly applicable not only to my own life but also to how I raise my children.

    She spells out how to give your kids the gift of a growth mindset. Personally, I have been able to make big changes in praising my children in just a few days. Now I focus on praising the effort, determination, and creativity they demonstrate when tackling a tough problem. Instead of telling them "you are really smart," "you're great at xyz," or "you're beautiful" etc., I tell them "I like how you worked hard to find that answer" or "wow you really showed some creativity in working that out!"

    Additionally, I have also convinced my wife and family to shift their praise to encourage a growth-mindset.

    The point is that inculcating the growth mindset early offers them a life-long tool they can use to face challenges and overcome them.

    My only problem with the book, and perhaps this is merely my misreading of her thesis, is that it sometimes seems to discount the importance of results: the focus is on dealing with setbacks and finding a way to do better next time.

    On the other hand, I suppose that using this mindset will help deliver more and better results over time since you rebound from each failure and do what you can to make sure you don't repeat the mistakes that lead to it in the first place. (And, begun early enough, results should naturally follow.)

    But in and among all the wonderful information and specific advice Dr. Dweck provides, I'd like to see an acknowledgment that sometimes the world simply demands performance, not "I'll do better next time."

    Still, there is enough valuable information and advice in this book that it is easy to give it a full FIVE STARS and to encourage you to check it out....more info
  • Valuable points
    I thought I understood the concept of mindset this book however, gave me a new outlook on many points I had forgotten and provided ammunition for helping others to understand mindset. It provided a number of good examples that exposed my own "fixed" mindset in some areas and gave me the tools to change to a growth mindset, where I want to change, of course. It was a valuable read that I finished over the weekend. I gave it 3 stars because it continued to lack (like many books are now) concrete steps that could be followed to assist in changing the mindset. I know the principles were there, just not in a clear manner. I have already begun using this book with my nephew to help him come out of his fixed mindset. Well worth the twenty-three bucks!...more info
  • If you affect someone's life, or want to improve your own, you've got to read this book!
    If you are a parent, teacher, student, coach, employer, employee, looking for a job, or in a relationship (did I leave anyone out?) you have to read this book. As a parent, I truly believe this book should be mandatory reading for any teacher, education major, or coach, because it made me realize that the feedback our children are given from teachers and coaches can have a harmful or beneficial impact on them for the rest of their lives (unless they read this book later in life and decide to change their mindset). Teachers need to realize how what they say, even if it appears positive, can stunt the intellectual, emotional, and even the creative growth of a child or student of any age. This book showed me how certain things I may say to my children to praise them, actually may hurt their continued growth--and it taught me a better way to give praise. This book is very helpful in teaching a person what to focus on when giving praise or criticism, whether to a student, son or daughter, employee, etc.

    As a business owner, I hope I can take what I learned from this book and not only use it to help my business grow, but also help my employees grow by helping them achieve a "growth mindset". As a parent, I hope to help cultivate my children into "growth mindset" oriented individuals, and as a wife, this book will help my relationship continue to grow.

    Once you start reading it, you won't want to put it down. It would make a great teacher's gift-but give it to them at the beginning of the year, so that your child will benefit from their newfound knowledge!
    ...more info
  • Interesting concpt.
    I found this an interesting read and helpful for raising children or motivating workers under your supervision....more info
  • Simply superb
    One of the best self help books that I read so far. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and the groups that I belong to. ...more info
  • Solid concepts plus anecdotes and research to back up
    I first read about Dweck and her research in a NYT article on child development. This is the dose of reality that we all need after years of "positive thinking" mantras. Without responsibility, action and growth-orientation, we block the positive path and fail to realize our potential. This book hammers the points home with detailed anecdotes from business, sports and general society.. plus the research that backs it up is solid....more info
  • Dweck's 3 Key Distinctions
    Carol Dweck's work Self-Theories. She has written another book, written for a more general, less academic readership called Mindsets, in which she applies the entity/incremental construct to a broad range of domains: business, interpersonal relationships, etc. I've read both. In Self-Theories Dweck's target are academic or educational contexts in which she argues that the difference in academic performance can plausibly be explained by distinguishing between two conceptions of ability, the entity theory and the incremental theory. According to the incremental spin, the abilities you possess are of a certain quantity which is FIXED (for all time) and therefore unalterable; which is to say your abilities cannot really be altered or changed; they are not really responsive to EFFORT. On the incremental view, abilities you possess are not FIXED and ARE RESPONSIVE TO EFFORT over time. One huge payoff, which Dweck points out frequently, is that in voluntarily adopting an incremental view of ability, you put yourself in a position to be FAR less vulnerable to self-blame, helplessness patterns, and self-despair in the event of failure, which can futher undermine your ability to execute your abilities. People of a more perfectionistic turn of mind have MUCH to gain by adopting a incremental spin on ability for the reasons just mentioned. "An ability is only as good as its execution"--Bandura.

    Dwecke's an exceptionally lucid writer, and even her more academic work, "Self-Theories" is not written in academese but in language so clear and informal, you almost begin to wonder whether this is a professor in psychology at Columbia University. She's that good, at least I think so. (Bandura's prose is also clear, and conceptually rigorous, but his prose bears an elegant conciseness or compactness of insight, which would not incline me to describe as informal. But I digress. Long story short, the answer to your question is, I think, 'yes', Dweck's work is closely related to Bandura's.

    I'm not sure if Dweck's work should be seen as "derived" from Bandura's, however. Dweck draws three key distinctions:

    a) between learning goals and performance goals,
    b) between helplessness pattern and task-orientedness
    c) between incremental and entity theory of ability

    Dweck's claim is this: People who hold an entity view of their abilities TEND to also to be people who adopt performance goals over learning goals. A performance goals is one which is more concerned about "looking or appearing smart" than in taking steps to insure greater informedness at the cost of looking stupid or uninformed. Thus, adopting a performance goal is AT CROSS PURPOSES with a learning goal. Second, entitiy theorists, when persuaded of their own failure, have MUCH REASON TO DESPAIR over their failed performances because performance failure (for them) JUST IS a demonstration of the fact that they do not possess (and what's more NEVER can possess) the capacities required to succeed; for they believe that their abilities are FIXED structures inhering in them which are not alterable by effort. Knowing this, you'd expect that, prior to performance, entity theorists SHOULD FEEL GREAT anxiety about their future performances and ABOUT THE THREAT OF FAILURE AND WHAT IT IS DIAGNOSTIC OF. Failure is a PERMANENT DIAGNOSIS for which NATURE HOLDS NO APPELLATE COURT. If you fail at math once, twice. You're a math idiot. If you fail at a relationship; you're no good at love and romance. Period. The awareness of these prospects can't help intrude on one's performances, and keep on from doing anything which could be contrued (in your eyes) as failure, even if that means that, in the short term, you have to admit incompetence or admit nonknowledge in a subject matter, or nonunderstanding. And this is self-defeating. The situation is according to Dweck much different for those people who hold an incremental theory about ability. For these people, failure is not diagnostic of something - a wanted capability to produce desired effects in a cared-about domain of human life - which they can't EVER possess; no, failure doesn't MEAN (for them) that whatever it is in people taht allows them to produce exceptional EFFECTS in the world, in any cared-about domain of performance--that thing, call it an "ability"--is something whose possess and "size" or quantiy or magnitude is something over which you can exercise some control over and the way you can do this is through EFFORT. The entity theorist does not see personal exertion as diagnostic of LOW ability; she sees it as the MEANS to ACQUIRE greater capabilities, a means to enhance her personal causation. By contrast, the entity theorist views exertion as diagnistic of Low ability; like a doctor who sees a patient and says "Those spots mean measles," the entity theorist views exceptional effort to mean "low ability."

    Bandura's view (in SE) is, similar to Dwecks, in that he thinks that it is functionally optimal to view abilities as developmentally responsive to effort. Abilities ARE things one possesses - powers one can personally exericise to produce desired effects in the environment - but for learners it is self-limiting to think of abilities as innate or in-born capabilities rather than as things which can be obtained though "acquireable means" and guided mastery. Bandura's general approach to learning seems to be that complex or difficult performances can be decomposed into simpler tasks; learners can learn and gain competence at the simpler tasks (increasing perceived self-efficacy incrementally as they go), then, once actually in possesion of those simpler skills, move on to tackle more difficult tasks, and so on until they actually possess the skills to perform the complex performances. This is what goes on in med schools, trade schools, most all graduate schools. On B's view, abilities are entities you possess, but the trick is to incrementalize your ACQUISITION OF THEM, using your skills acquired at lower and medium levels to boot youself up to higher levels. But of course, this means your conception of your ability has to be adequate to get you to the highest level of performance, or you have to locate the means and strategies which will elevate your performances to higher levels, and once these are identified you have to acquire them. And acquiring competency in the simpler tasks, lower skills, are, so far as I can tell from SE, the means to acquiring the skills to perform at higher levels; which is as much to say they are the means to acquiring greater abilities.
    ...more info
  • Repetitive and Misleading
    Mindset makes the argument that people who believe they can improve themselves will be more likely to take chances and grow.

    There. I've said it. Now you don't need to read the book.

    The rest of the book consists of stories that illustrate the above idea. Many many stories. All with the same lesson. The book is really a pamphlet.

    Also, I think the book is misleading. The latest research shows that we all have strengths and weaknesses and that we do best when we leverage these natural abilities. I think Mindset misses this point and, in fact, suggests the opposite.

    Now, Discover Your Strengths is a much better book for those seeking personal growth.
    ...more info
  • Open Your Mind
    This is a stimulating book that reminds the reader that openness to learning, drive and hard work are more likely to result in success in life than is talent. My hesitancy in providing a higher rating is that the research supporting the concepts is referenced rather than reported in sufficient detail to enable independent assessment. ...more info
  • An Essential Read
    Carol Dweck's book is an essential read for any parent, educator, leader or student. In other words it is essential read for just about anybody. Dweck, in her very well-written book, exposes our often hidden assumptions about abilities and intelligence. She provides many excellent examples from education, sports and business.

    Some reviewers at this site have been critical that Dweck does not provide specific instructions as to how to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. I believe they miss the point. By becoming aware of what we were formally unaware of, we will automatically begin the process of change. Since this process of change is different for each of us, there can be no specific instructions.

    What we are unaware of binds us. Dweck helps to remove our chains.
    ...more info
    We've always used the phrases "open-minded" and "closed-minded," but after reading this book, you will use them more discriminantly...

    The author (Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.) conducted extensive research which proves that the view we adoopt of ourselves profoundly affects the way that we lead our lives. It also reveals that your mindset can determine whether you become the person you want to be, and whether you accomplish what you are truly capable of.

    Her conclusion is that we all have a fixed (or closed) mindset, which is characterized by the belief that your qualities are carved in stone; or a growth (open) mindset, which is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can cultivate through your efforts and influenced by our early development.

    After quickly establishing her premise, she uses the remainder of the book to illustrate how people with fixed mindsets view things that happen to them as a direct measure of their competence and worth, and those with a growth mindset don't take situations personally, but view them as a learning oppportunity to get better and grow as a result.

    She also includes stories which illsutrate how athletes such as Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Jackie-Joyner Kersee, and Marshall Faulk, used a growth mindset to achieve their great athletic accomplishments, in addition to she delving deep into corporate culture to unveil the perils and pervasiveness of the fixed mindset which toppled companies such as Enron, IBM, and Chrysler.

    It then moves into relationships, parenting, and general changes in life. Mindset is that rare kind of book you that you can read for a short period of time and instantly extract lessons from to immediately apply to use in your every endeavor. It will change the way you look at things, how people look at you, and change your life (for the better) in the process....more info
  • One of the best gift books of the year
    Carol Dweck is a major figure in the world of learning and motivation. This book is important, but, unlike the work of many scholars, hers is amazingly clear, accessible, and convincing. I have bought five more copies for friends and colleagues....more info
  • Self-help that is actually helpful
    This book is plain common sense. There isn't anybody who wouldn't benefit from taking the advice contained in the book and putting it to use. In a nutshell: If at first you don't succeed, it isn't because you're a loser, it's because you need to just take a breath, try different approaches and maintain a positive attitude. The author describes numerous experiments which show that if you believe tests and challenges to be instantaneous judges of your character and ability, it will actually make you less smart and less successful in meeting those challenges. This book is a cut above most self-help books, because it is written by a psychologist who backs up her assertions with sound experimental data.

    The key distinction is between: "growth mindset" (= the mindset whereby a person believes that if they try/concentrate/practice/etc., things will get better); and "fixed mindset" (= the mindset whereby a person believes that you either can or you can't and that every challenge exposes your ability or lack thereof.)
    Good stuff - however, the book is at least 50% too long. You cotton on to the message pretty quickly, and a lot of the book is just padding....more info
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
    Great concepts & very applicable. Some of the examples Dweck uses may be misrepresented a little bit to coincide with her theory....more info
  • Hidden Treasure
    Awareness alone of the concept of a fixed mindset Vs growth mindset can be enough to make a significant impact on people's lives. Some people have criticized the book for being too repetitive / lengthy but that's like complaining that you had to dig through some mud to find a diamond. Who cares - her book has the power to enrich people's lives and she should be given great credit for writing this book. I highly recommend this book....more info
  • Set your goals and work toward them
    Dweck grabs you from the beginning. You have the responsibility to set goals and act upon them. If from a need for acceptance and security, you were struggling with the roles and assessments that families, institutions, and corporations laid upon you, you should know that pleasure and fulfillment demands that you set your goals while you continue to appreciate the assessments of others to inform your growth. I like the emphasis on what you are becoming, rather than what you were or what you are. It allows us to risk what is different and what seems difficult. From youth, we are praised for talent when we attain goals that parents, teachers, and institutions value: grades, beauty, athleticism, skills like writing and math. We build esteem on what we did without effort; we refrain from the difficult or the different as these might rob us of approval if we faltered. As adults, we are in a position to shed dependence upon the approval of others. Whether we are able to because of circumstances, the point is that everyone can benefit from the wake-up Dweck gives us. She raises the issue of performance by students in school and of players on teams, for instance. Teachers and managers need to emphasize learning and growth to reach students and players and to reconsider the belief that praise for talent inspires confidence. ...more info
  • Good Medicine But Hard To Swallow
    For several months now I've been enjoying and at the same time agonizing over the book, MINDSET, The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck, PH.D., a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. The book presents the results of over 20 years of research into the question of why some experience more success than others.

    "For 20 years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value."

    The views she is talking about are our old friends, nature versus nurture, genes versus environment, I.Q. versus effort. She doesn't really get into the the issue of whether some people are naturally more intelligent or talented than others, that's all besides the point. What her research shows is that people with a fixed mindset, i.e. they believe that their intelligence, creativity, abilities and talents are fixed and cannot be increased, cannot be grown, tend to be less successful than people with a growth mindset, who believe that their intelligence, creativity etc. can be developed. The interesting thing is that it doesn't matter if your fixed mindset is high or low, that is if you're a positive thinker or a negative thinker; either way a fixed mindset will impeded your success.

    The book is filled with examples of the two types from the world of sports and business and sketches of her tests of the theory with elementary school children and college students.

    After thinking about it for several months, here's my take on what Prof. Dweck has discovered. The definition of success for a person with a growth mindset is growth and improvement. Have I improved? Am I doing better today than yesterday? These are the questions a person with a growth mindset uses to evaluate performance. If I have improved then I am succeeding. If I have not improved then I need to change the way I'm studying, or practicing or preparing so I can be more successful.

    On the other hand a person with a fixed mindset asks, What is my I.Q.? Am I smarter than the others? Am I better than everyone else? Am I worse than everyone else? Am I talented or untalented? Do I have musical abiilty or not? Do I have the talent to be a writer or do I not? I think that being discovered is one definition of fixed mindset success. If the fixed mindset person's talent hasn't been discovered he concludes that it's because he is not talented, or people are against him or no one will help him.

    The growth mindset person sees the trophy, the medal, the promotion, as a mere byproduct of the growth that he has experienced. For the fixed mindset person the trophy, the medal, the promotion, is the point, they are the outward manifestations of his inward superiority.

    The irony is that the fixed mindset person ends up sabotaging himself because his fixed mindset world view also makes it difficult for him to take risks, or to develop his abilities, in other words, to grow. The fixed mindset person doesn't, after all, believe in growth. As a result fixed mindset people become quite frustrated.

    Prof. Dweck's studies give a scientific basis for something that Coach Wooden, of UCLA Basketball fame, discovered long ago: Focus on effort not winning. The factors which determine whether you will win or loose are not all within your control, but the effort you put in to developing and executing your game is.

    I don't believe that I can overstate the importance of this book. I've been reading self help, positive thinking, motivational books since at 10 years of age I picked up a Norman Vincent Peale book that my mom had checked out of the library. Those books, all good, are trying to deal with the problem by attacking the fruit of an individuals mindset. Prof. Dweck is attacking the problem at the root.

    This book was for me a very uncomfortable read and forced me to analyze my own mindset and much to the chagrin of this basically fixed mindset person I've discovered that I am in many areas a fixed mindset person. OUCH! But what's worse is realizing that many of the things which I have said and done, thinking I was encouraging others and building them up to achieve success, were in fact helping them to fail. OUCH! OUCH! Well the good news is that you can change your mindset.

    Greg Marquez
    goyomarquez@earthlink.net...more info
  • Success for everyone
    I am really enjoying this book. As a teacher and parent it is inspiring me with new ways to approach the inevitable times when kids don't want to try anymore and to understand the ones who give up so easily.
    It sets a whole new context for learning and gives practical ideas. It is very well written and makes abundant sense. Highly recommended for all educators, parents and although a dedicated lifelong learner myself has inspired me to take on things I may have thought were beyond me. ...more info
  • Good book, small primitive print
    I had read some parts of the book and decided to own a copy. The price is not cheap but when I received the copy, it looks like everything is shrunk. The paper is very low grade and dark.
    Go for the hardcover or CD if you want to own one!!!!...more info