Mindset is a very positive, helpful and easy to read volume that explores, with the use of many engaging examples, how the perceptions we apply to our challenges, capabilities, relationships, and work has a great deal to do with the outcome. The concepts of the “growth mindset” and the “fixed mindset” are contrasted throughout the book in different business and life settings, then explained by the author through the frame of extensive research to help the reader see the potential applications in their lives.
The power of the book Mindset lies first in the ease with which the topics and examples are presented by the author. The clear style of writing and compact nature of how each example is explored makes digesting a research-based book such as this a pleasure instead of a chore. The progression of sub-topics and examples builds one upon the other with the concepts becoming more clearly developed as one proceeds through the book.
In chapters 1 and 2 the author places the rationale and supporting premise for the book in context. At the end of chapter 2, she poses, and answers, a series of questions for the reader. In doing so it places the reader at ease by anticipating and clarifying the underlying assumptions that are explored in the subsequent chapters. By doing this in advance, the author creates a space for acceptance and learning that might have been more difficult without including this section.
Throughout Mindset, Dweck challenges the assumptions that people have about their ability. She presses on perceptions that we hold regarding the conditions that either enhance or impede one’s journey toward success. She explains that a “growth mindset” in a person is observed by an openness to learning and a willingness to see the possibility, rather than the barriers offered by a given situation. In example after example she shows how success has been achieved by mentally reframing present and past experiences for the most positive outcome possible.
Debunking the myth that talent alone is requisite for high levels of accomplishment, Dweck shows how very famous and successful individuals persevered though places in their journey where “a fixed mindset” would not have allowed them to move forward. She explains that a “growth mindset” is more than just being optimistic. It involves a belief in others around you, in their potential. It involves the capacity to move on from disappointment and failure, through a lens of learning and growing from the experience. It also shows that such experiences, even the painful ones, can be applied in a positive manner in the future towards the larger goals from which one aspires. As the author relays the stories of both famous and everyday people, it is very easy for the reader to remember individuals who have touched our lives in a positive way. The book creates a context, through research and many applicable stories, for why we found these people and their actions toward us to be uplifting and inspiring. As one reads further, the pages that explore how relationships, especially those we hold most dear, are heavily impacted by the manner in which we choose to frame them. The “growth mindset” in such critical aspects of our daily lives has a direct application to happiness and provides several points of reflection for the reader.
Mindset is a book that leaves the reader wanting more! Its practical and hopeful tone is inspiring. The format invites active intellectual engagement with the topics. As the examples are shared and the different contexts are examined, the reader begins to see how the powerful message of a “growth mindset” can be applied effectively to their personal lives and business endeavors.