Although written in almost too casual a style, and filled with what appear to be dinner-party anecdotes, the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck is a must-read for parents, teachers, coaches and managers. And everyone else. If you are interested in improving in any sphere of endeavor at all, read this book. The central premise, that your mindset determines your success in any field, and that moreover, by changing your mindset you can change how much you learn and how well you do, is compelling and rigorously backed up by scientific research, the author's own and that of others. The book is also practical, and outlines ways to induce positive changes in those you wish to influence, either children or employees. Reading this book I kept putting it down, because I wanted to go ahead and start implementing the suggestions right away.
3 takeaways from the book:
1. Talent and effort are synonyms – It is a myth that talent is something that is handed to you as a gift. Most people develop talent through effort, and thus success can be meritorious. Although this concept isn’t new and one I encountered before, but this book really brought the message home. There is no field of endeavor in which you can't improve if you are willing to change your mindset.
2. Failure has a new meaning – In Dweck's world of growth mindset, you're failing when you're not trying hard enough, when you're stuck in what's easy and not reaching high enough. When you're not afraid to make a mistake, then you make the mistakes, and use them to get better.
3. Being a natural is overrated – We tend to overvalue those people who can do something easily and effortlessly, and assume that anyone who can't do something naturally, even if it is ourselves, cannot do that thing at all. There are probably a few people who have natural talents or gifts for certain activities, which were further honed by them being exposed to these activities from an early age. Not being already good at something isn’t really a guarantee that someone will never gain those skills, but usually that’s how we think and act. "Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn't mean that others can't do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training".
I would recommend that you not only read this book once, you keep coming back to it. I read it because I thought I could use it as part of the research for my latest book, but it turned out to be useful in changing how I thought about almost every aspect of my life. For a few weeks, every conversation with my mom included, "Have you read 'Mindset' yet?" I am trying to live the principles of the book, to approach every area that I'm struggling in with the attitude that I can learn and improve, instead of just believing that I'm just not good enough and giving up. Since this is kind of the theme of my newest book, I need to demonstrate it myself.