Book Summary: Mindset – Carol Dweck


Title: Mindset, the new psychology of success
Author: Carol Dweck
Publisher: Random House
ISBN-10: 1400062756
ISBN-13: 978-1400062751
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This book has been the most embarrassing book for me to read ever, for it showed me the mirror. In effect it was deeply revealing, it gave me a perspective into how I had been looking at several things. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research has been the most revealing and explained many of my bizarre moments of life.

Personality Mindsets: Fixed Vs Growth

People with fixed mindsets believe that abilities are frozen in stone. Most of their efforts are spent in trying to prove themselves. People with Growth Mindsets believe that we can change and improve with practice.

Mindset - Growth Vs Fixed
Mindset – Growth Vs Fixed

The difference in the perspective may appear small or insignificant, but the resultant actions cannot be more different for the two kinds of people. Let us analyze it in depth.

Defining Success, Failure and Effort:


Fixed Mindset people feel successful and smart when they accomplish something with least or no effort.  Those with Growth Mindset feel smart when they get a breakthrough with a tough problem that they had been struggling with a long time.


Any rejection , below par test score, any criticism may make Fixed mindset people to think they are a ‘Failure’. Since they believe attributes to be fixed, they consider it to be a final proclamation of their abilities and often quit at this stage. A growth mindset person considers the same as a feedback to where they are at present as against where they aspire to be and often double up on their efforts to become better at their pursuit.


People with Fixed Mindset think Effort is for losers. As only those who don’t get it need to try harder. They think either you have it in you or you don’t. Those with Growth Mindset think with efforts you can master anything and become anybody.

What initially appeared to be a small change in perspective, we can now see has significant impact in the way we deal with our worldviews and life.

Mindset - Fixed Vs Growth
Mindset – Fixed Vs Growth

How to praise?

Children often pick these mindsets from their parents or teachers. Hence as caretakers we must be very careful in the message we give them every time. When you praise a child for the results you reinforce a fixed mindset. For example,

What we say : “You finished all your math homework correctly without help. You must be really smart”.

What child thinks: “To be smart I must work without any help and must not make any mistakes.”

But we praise the process and efforts, it helps reinforce a growth mindset in the child.

“You must have really worked hard on your math concepts to be able to complete this homework on your own. That’s very impressive.”

What the child thinks: “If I work hard on something, I will ultimately get the hang of it”

Learning from Mistakes
Learning from Mistakes

Leaders of a different kind:

Does this all mean that Fixed mindset people don’t shine in their field or become world class leaders? No. We have several examples of Fixed Mindset people who have become the best in their field.

McEnroe, a fixed mindset player, even while at the top of his game, never enjoyed his career because of the performance pressure he felt. He wanted to get by his raw talent and often blamed circumstances for his defeat. As against the legendary basketball player, Michael Jordon never stopped improving in his long career. From a below par player who was dropped from his varsity team he rose up to be a legend.

Famous business failures like Enron were run by fixed mindset leaders whereas growth mindset people like Ricardo Semler have in a single generation grown a faltering company into a multi billion dollar giant.

Fixed mindset leaders crave for recognition, while growth mindset leader work for a purpose.

Mindset in Relationships:

Fixed Mindset people look for validation in their relationships. They want their friends and partners to tell them how wonderful they are and it is the mistake of the world if their genius has not yet been recognised. Any feedback for improvement is shunned upon as being unsupportive as they do not believe in change.

A growth mindset person loves validation and praise too.  But are also thoughtful of the feedback received from qualified people who care for their well being. They seek and work on feedback given to them to become a better version of themselves.

Where do I fit?

One is often a combination of fixed and growth mindset in various aspects of our life. You may be a fixed mindset leader but a growth mindset parent and vice versa.

A Challenging Task
A Challenging Task

How do I make a change?

Change can only come from awareness. By recognizing that we have a fixed mindset and by resolving to change it. It can start in simple ways such as ‘What would a Growth Mindset person do in these circumstances?’ and follow our own advice.


This is the most important book I had ever read. It has given me a perspective to life that I had nver known existed. I wish more school and parents adopt Dr.Dweck’s ingenious methods of teaching, parenting and coaching. There is no aspect of life that it would not touch and make better. I strongly recommend you to read the book to get the entire essence of the book. You may grab it here.

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Priya Krishnamoorthy

Exploring the Journey of life everyday with a new outlook