A Book Review: Mindset


Confession time.  Have you ever read a book because you thought it would confirm something you already knew or understood?  Usually I seek out books to learn about something new or for a view of the world that differs from mine.  When I starting reading Mindset by Carol Dweck, it was for a different reason.  I fully expected the book to confirm something I thought I knew about myself.  I was wrong.

Carol’s oft-referenced book Mindset had been on my reading list for quite some time.  Know that I collect book recommendations like other women collect shoes.  The only challenge with a collection is finding time for each.  How do you choose?  And since I thought I somewhat knew what the book would reveal, it didn’t shine as brightly from the list of choices.

What I knew about Carol’s book is that it made the case that not talent or luck or other precursors of success actually determine our success.  Rather our mindset determines our level of success.  As a Maximizer, I am always looking to move from good to great so Carol’s book promised that possibility of a little extra nudge with awareness of my mindset.

Mindset in Carol’s book is defined as either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  Guess which one I believed I had?

Here are her definitions:

Fixed mindset – you believe that your basic qualities are carved in stone.  Since they cannot be changed, a sense of urgency is created to prove yourself over and over.

Growth mindset – you believe that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.  Your basic qualities are just a starting point and your true potential is unknown and unknowable as effort will influence it.

Which mindset do you think you have?

Through the early pages of the book, I remained convinced that yes, I have a growth mindset.  But as Carol continued to share stories of her research and real world examples of people we know, I began to see that for certain areas of my life I most certainly have a fixed mindset.  Horrors!

Perhaps that is the greatest example of why you should read this book.  My mindset was fixed around the reading of this book, thinking that my qualities in this area were already set and there was no room for improvement.  Much to my surprise and delight I can now confirm that I have a growth mindset when it comes to expanding the qualities of my mind that can lead to future success.

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