Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
By Dr Carol S. Dweck
Reviewed by Rudolph Lambert Fernandez
Don’t be misled by the modest book blurb: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential. If you believe Mindset is about changing the way you think, you’d be wrong. It’s about transforming it.
If you’re a parent bringing up your child, this book can make the difference between a secure, happy child and an insecure worrier. If you’re a coach or teacher training your ward, or a manager leading your team or institution, it can make the difference between nurturing champions or dealing with those who sap your energy. It doesn’t matter even if you’re just a couple trying to get the best out of your relationship.
If you’re struggling with failure or trying to cope with success, this book is for you.
Of course, this would be an idle boast if the author of this book wasn’t a world-leading researcher in personality, social’ and developmental psychology. Thing is, Dweck hasn’t come up with these ideas on her last vacation as the Lewis and Virginia Easton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She’s put them together after over thirty years of painstaking research.
Here, for the first time, in simple language, Dweck reveals why your “star” son is struggling with success as much as he is with failure, or why your “superstar” daughter still feels she doesn’t have what it takes. You’ll learn why your student struggling with math thinks one of two things: “I’m hopeless at math,” or “My math teacher sucks.”
Are some children really “gifted”? Is there such a thing as “genius”? Are leaders or champions born or made? Can I increase my IQ? Or my child’s? What if the other kids are just “smarter”? Can I salvage my relationship at home, at the office, in the playground? Is it enough if I have and set high standards for my kids? Am I losing because I don’t have enough “willpower”? What if I just don’t have the “talent” or the “ability”?
With the scholarship and authority that flows only from decades of learning and re-learning, Dweck explains how to praise and how not to, why some people are willing to change while others don’t want to. She clarifies why your school and college test scores aren’t scores for life. She demonstrates why some of us shirk, cheat, and blame while others don’t. Why some are more risk-averse than others.
Dweck marshals hundreds of case studies from the world of sport, film, TV, music, art, literature, and medicine to show why some of us give up more easily while others don’t. From sport alone, she offers stunning examples from horse racing, athletics, baseball, basketball, and tennis, to show how some winners end up losers and some losers end up winners.
Why am I scared of reviving that long-shelved hobby? Why do I fear starting out as an entrepreneur? Or changing my job? Or moving to a new city? Or going back to school? Or dating? Or getting married? What drives my fears? How can I tackle them?
Dweck’s book isn’t just a “good read.” It isn’t just a “how-to” book on winning. It’s an entertaining, enlightening guide to living a better, happier, more fulfilling life. It’s about unlearning negative attitudes and learning new ones. It’s about building resilience for anything life has to offer you, one power-packed page after another.
Rudolph Lambert Fernandez is an independent writer writing on a range of themes as they relate to culture and society. https://www.rudolphfernandez.com/ Twitter: @RudolphFernandz