By Carol Dweck
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.
I think self-help is a horrible name for a really great category. Self-help implies that there’s something that needs fixing. I think self-improvement is a much, much better way to describe this collection of (for the most part) research-based books that aim to help us make changes in our own life.
In the last year of reading more self-improvement books, there are a few people whose names have come up over and over. Whose research or writings have apparently been fundamental to this whole school of success psychology. Carol Dweck is one of these. One of the first podcasts I ever listened to last winter featured a discussion with Carol Dweck and her research on resilience and grit.
Finally, I got my hands on her foundational work, Mindset. I liked this book. I didn’t love it. I think it could have been better. There’s a lot of great ideas and anecdotes in here that aren’t fully utilized and connected to each other. But I still liked this book.
It’s a small, thin book and not at all difficult to read or understand. One thing I did really like was the structure of the book. After the topic and core research findings were introduced, there are a few chapters that are built on applying the mindset principles in more focused situations: business, sports, parenting, and personal relationships.
This is a good book to read because it is a foundational text, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best one out there on this particular topic, simply because other people have absorbed Dweck’s ideas and done it better.