Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 2008 - BUSINESS & ECONOMICS - 277 pages
29 Reviews
Now updated with new research, the book that has changed millions of lives with its insights into the growth mindset.

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.

Praise for Mindset

"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, as its ideas have changed mine."--Robert J. Sternberg, co-author of Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success

"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)

"Everyone should read this book."--Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick

"One of the most influential books ever about motivation."--Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock

"If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset."--Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start 2.0
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lady_Lazarus - LibraryThing

Foremost, I found this book utterly dull and boring. It repeated itself way too much (I ended up skipping chapters 5 and 7 as I couldn't bear it no longer). The message was clear from the introduction ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sean191 - LibraryThing

Lots of good advice/information without it being about magical thinking. I think there may be a little bit too much black and white of some explanations, since I think there are nuances where growth ... Read full review

Contents

THE MINDSET S I
4
INSIDE THE MINDSETs
15
THE TRUTH AB0 UT ABILITY AND ACC0 MPLISHMENT
55
THE MINDSET OF A CHAMPION
82
MINDSET AND LEADERSHIP
108
MINDSETS IN LOVE 0R NOT 1 47
150
I66 Shyness
166
Revenge Revisited
168
A Mindset Workshop
228
Brainology
231
More About Change
234
Opening Yourself Up to Growth
236
24o People Who Dont Want to Change
240
Changing Your Childs Mindset
244
Mindset and Willpower
249
Maintaining Change
252

WHERE DO MINDSET S COME FR0M 7
176
Messages About Success and Failure
177
What Makes a Great Teacher or Parent?
196
Winning Through Mindset
205
2I4 False Growth Mindset
214
22i Our Legacy
221
CHANG ING MINDSET S I 2 23
223
The Mindset Lectures
226
The Journey to a True Growth Mindset
254
Learn and Help Learn
262
The Road Ahead
264
Notes
265
Recommended Books
287
Index
289
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Chapter 1

THE MINDSETS

As a young researcher, just starting out, something happened that changed my life. I was obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures, and I decided to study it by watching how students grapple with hard problems. So I brought children one at a time to a room in their school, made them comfortable, and then gave them a series of puzzles to solve. The first ones were fairly easy, but the next ones were hard. As the students grunted, perspired, and toiled, I watched their strategies and probed what they were thinking and feeling. I expected differences among children in how they coped with the difficulty, but I saw something I never expected.

Confronted with the hard puzzles, one ten-year-old boy pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, "I love a challenge!" Another, sweating away on these puzzles, looked up with a pleased expression and said with authority, "You know, I was hoping this would be informative!"

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?

Everyone has a role model, someone who pointed the way at a critical moment in their lives. These children were my role models. They obviously knew something I didn''t and I was determined to figure it out--to understand the kind of mindset that could turn a failure into a gift.

What did they know? They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort. And that''s what they were doing--getting smarter. Not only weren''t they discouraged by failure, they didn''t even think they were failing. They thought they were learning.

I, on the other hand, thought human qualities were carved in stone. You were smart or you weren''t, and failure meant you weren''t. It was that simple. If you could arrange successes and avoid failures (at all costs), you could stay smart. Struggles, mistakes, perseverance were just not part of this picture.

Whether human qualities are things that can be cultivated or things that are carved in stone is an old issue. What these beliefs mean for you is a new one: What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait? Let''s first look in on the age-old, fiercely waged debate about human nature and then return to the question of what these beliefs mean for you.

WHY DO PEOPLE DIFFER?

Since the dawn of time, people have thought differently, acted differently, and fared differently from each other. It was guaranteed that someone would ask the question of why people differed--why some people are smarter or more moral--and whether there was something that made them permanently different. Experts lined up on both sides. Some claimed that there was a strong physical basis for these differences, making them unavoidable and unalterable. Through the ages, these alleged physical differences have included bumps on the skull (phrenology), the size and shape of the skull (craniology), and, today, genes.

Others pointed to the strong differences in people''s backgrounds, experiences, training, or ways of learning. It may surprise you to know that a big champion of this view was Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Wasn''t the IQ test meant to summarize children''s unchangeable intelligence? In fact, no. Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early twentieth century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track. Without denying individual differences in children''s intellects, he believed that education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in intelligence. Here is a quote from one of his major books, Modern Ideas About Children, in which he summarizes his work with hundreds of children with learning difficulties:

A few modern philosophers . . . assert that an individual''s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism. . . . With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.

Who''s right? Today most experts agree that it''s not either-or. It''s not nature or nurture, genes or environment. From conception on, there''s a constant give and take between the two. In fact, as Gilbert Gottlieb, an eminent neuroscientist, put it, not only do genes and environment cooperate as we develop, but genes require input from the environment to work properly.

At the same time, scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought. Of course, each person has a unique genetic endowment. People may start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, but it is clear that experience, training, and personal effort take them the rest of the way. Robert Sternberg, the present-day guru of intelligence, writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise "is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement." Or, as his forerunner Binet recognized, it''s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU? THE TWO MINDSETS

It''s one thing to have pundits spouting their opinions about scientific issues. It''s another thing to understand how these views apply to you. For twenty 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. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

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 that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn''t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

Some of us are trained in this mindset from an early age. Even as a child, I was focused on being smart, but the fixed mindset was really stamped in by Mrs. Wilson, my sixth-grade teacher. Unlike Alfred Binet, she believed that people''s IQ scores told the whole story of who they were. We were seated around the room in IQ order, and only the highest-IQ students could be trusted to carry the flag, clap the erasers, or take a note to the principal. Aside from the daily stomachaches she provoked with her judgmental stance, she was creating a mindset in which everyone in the class had one consuming goal--look smart, don''t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class?

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?

But doesn''t our society value intelligence, personality, and character? Isn''t it normal to want these traits? Yes, but . . .

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''re 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. Although 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.

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 it''s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated and graceless as a child? That the photographer Cindy Sherman, who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the twentieth century, failed her first photography course? That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent?

You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it''s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that

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