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Description

Product Description

The updated edition of the bestselling book that has changed millions of lives with its insights into the growth mindset

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes


After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

Review

“A good book is one whose advice you believe. A great book is one whose advice you follow. This is a book that can change your life, as its ideas have changed mine.” —Robert J. Sternberg, co-author of Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success
 
“An essential read for parents, teachers [and] coaches . . . as well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfillment.” —Library Journal (starred review)
 
“Everyone should read this book.” —Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick
 
“One of the most influential books ever about motivation.” —Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock
 
“If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read  Mindset.” —Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start 2.0

About the Author

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers in the fields of personality, social psychology, and developmental psychology. She is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and has won nine lifetime achievement awards for her research. She addressed the United Nations on the eve of their new global development plan and has advised governments on educational and economic policies. Her work has been featured in almost every major national publication , and she has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, and 20/20. She lives with her husband in Palo Alto, California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

THE MINDSETS

As a young researcher, just starting out, something happened that changed my life. I was obsessed with understanding how people cope with failures, and I decided to study it by watching how students grapple with hard problems. So I brought children one at a time to a room in their school, made them comfortable, and then gave them a series of puzzles to solve. The first ones were fairly easy, but the next ones were hard. As the students grunted, perspired, and toiled, I watched their strategies and probed what they were thinking and feeling. I expected differences among children in how they coped with the difficulty, but I saw something I never expected.

Confronted with the hard puzzles, one ten-year-old boy pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, “I love a challenge!” Another, sweating away on these puzzles, looked up with a pleased expression and said with authority, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative!”

What’s wrong with them? I wondered. I always thought you coped with failure or you didn’t cope with failure. I never thought anyone loved failure. Were these alien children or were they on to something?

Everyone has a role model, someone who pointed the way at a critical moment in their lives. These children were my role models. They obviously knew something I didn’t and I was determined to figure it out—to understand the kind of mindset that could turn a failure into a gift.

What did they know? They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort. And that’s what they were doing—getting smarter. Not only weren’t they discouraged by failure, they didn’t even think they were failing. They thought they were learning.

I, on the other hand, thought human qualities were carved in stone. You were smart or you weren’t, and failure meant you weren’t. It was that simple. If you could arrange successes and avoid failures (at all costs), you could stay smart. Struggles, mistakes, perseverance were just not part of this picture.

Whether human qualities are things that can be cultivated or things that are carved in stone is an old issue. What these beliefs mean for you is a new one: What are the consequences of thinking that your intelligence or personality is something you can develop, as opposed to something that is a fixed, deep-seated trait? Let’s first look in on the age-old, fiercely waged debate about human nature and then return to the question of what these beliefs mean for you.

WHY DO PEOPLE DIFFER?

Since the dawn of time, people have thought differently, acted differently, and fared differently from each other. It was guaranteed that someone would ask the question of why people differed—why some people are smarter or more moral—and whether there was something that made them permanently different. Experts lined up on both sides. Some claimed that there was a strong physical basis for these differences, making them unavoidable and unalterable. Through the ages, these alleged physical differences have included bumps on the skull (phrenology), the size and shape of the skull (craniology), and, today, genes.

Others pointed to the strong differences in people’s backgrounds, experiences, training, or ways of learning. It may surprise you to know that a big champion of this view was Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Wasn’t the IQ test meant to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence? In fact, no. Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early twentieth century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track. Without denying individual differences in children’s intellects, he believed that education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in intelligence. Here is a quote from one of his major books, Modern Ideas About Children, in which he summarizes his work with hundreds of children with learning difficulties:

A few modern philosophers . . . assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism. . . . With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.

Who’s right? Today most experts agree that it’s not either–or. It’s not nature or nurture, genes or environment. From conception on, there’s a constant give and take between the two. In fact, as Gilbert Gottlieb, an eminent neuroscientist, put it, not only do genes and environment cooperate as we develop, but genes require input from the environment to work properly.

At the same time, scientists are learning that people have more capacity for lifelong learning and brain development than they ever thought. Of course, each person has a unique genetic endowment. People may start with different temperaments and different aptitudes, but it is clear that experience, training, and personal effort take them the rest of the way. Robert Sternberg, the present-day guru of intelligence, writes that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement.” Or, as his forerunner Binet recognized, it’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR YOU? THE TWO MINDSETS

It’s one thing to have pundits spouting their opinions about scientific issues. It’s another thing to understand how these views apply to you. For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

Some of us are trained in this mindset from an early age. Even as a child, I was focused on being smart, but the fixed mindset was really stamped in by Mrs. Wilson, my sixth-grade teacher. Unlike Alfred Binet, she believed that people’s IQ scores told the whole story of who they were. We were seated around the room in IQ order, and only the highest-IQ students could be trusted to carry the flag, clap the erasers, or take a note to the principal. Aside from the daily stomachaches she provoked with her judgmental stance, she was creating a mindset in which everyone in the class had one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class?

I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves—in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?

But doesn’t our society value intelligence, personality, and character? Isn’t it normal to want these traits? Yes, but . . .

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated and graceless as a child? That the photographer Cindy Sherman, who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the twentieth century, failed her first photography course? That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent?

You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

A VIEW FROM THE TWO MINDSETS

To give you a better sense of how the two mindsets work, imagine—as vividly as you can—that you are a young adult having a really bad day:

One day, you go to a class that is really important to you and that you like a lot. The professor returns the midterm papers to the class. You got a C+. You’re very disappointed. That evening on the way back to your home, you find that you’ve gotten a parking ticket. Being really frustrated, you call your best friend to share your experience but are sort of brushed off.

What would you think? What would you feel? What would you do?

When I asked people with the fixed mindset, this is what they said: “I’d feel like a reject.” “I’m a total failure.” “I’m an idiot.” “I’m a loser.” “I’d feel worthless and dumb—everyone’s better than me.” “I’m slime.” In other words, they’d see what happened as a direct measure of their competence and worth.

This is what they’d think about their lives: “My life is pitiful.” “I have no life.” “Somebody upstairs doesn’t like me.” “The world is out to get me.” “Someone is out to destroy me.” “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.” “Life is unfair and all efforts are useless.” “Life stinks. I’m stupid. Nothing good ever happens to me.” “I’m the most unlucky person on this earth.”

Excuse me, was there death and destruction, or just a grade, a ticket, and a bad phone call?

Are these just people with low self-esteem? Or card-carrying pessimists? No. When they aren’t coping with failure, they feel just as worthy and optimistic—and bright and attractive—as people with the growth mindset.

So how would they cope? “I wouldn’t bother to put so much time and effort into doing well in anything.” (In other words, don’t let anyone measure you again.) “Do nothing.” “Stay in bed.” “Get drunk.” “Eat.” “Yell at someone if I get a chance to.” “Eat chocolate.” “Listen to music and pout.” “Go into my closet and sit there.” “Pick a fight with somebody.” “Cry.” “Break something.” “What is there to do?”

What is there to do! You know, when I wrote the vignette, I intentionally made the grade a C+, not an F. It was a midterm rather than a final. It was a parking ticket, not a car wreck. They were “sort of brushed off,” not rejected outright. Nothing catastrophic or irreversible happened. Yet from this raw material the fixed mindset created the feeling of utter failure and paralysis.

When I gave people with the growth mindset the same vignette, here’s what they said. They’d think:

“I need to try harder in class, be more careful when parking the car, and wonder if my friend had a bad day.”

“The C+ would tell me that I’d have to work a lot harder in the class, but I have the rest of the semester to pull up my grade.”

There were many, many more like this, but I think you get the idea. Now, how would they cope? Directly.

“I’d start thinking about studying harder (or studying in a different way) for my next test in that class, I’d pay the ticket, and I’d work things out with my best friend the next time we speak.”

“I’d look at what was wrong on my exam, resolve to do better, pay my parking ticket, and call my friend to tell her I was upset the day before.”

“Work hard on my next paper, speak to the teacher, be more careful where I park or contest the ticket, and find out what’s wrong with my friend.”

You don’t have to have one mindset or the other to be upset. Who wouldn’t be? Things like a poor grade or a rebuff from a friend or loved one—these are not fun events. No one was smacking their lips with relish. Yet those people with the growth mindset were not labeling themselves and throwing up their hands. Even though they felt distressed, they were ready to take the risks, confront the challenges, and keep working at them.

SO, WHAT’S NEW?

Is this such a novel idea? We have lots of sayings that stress the importance of risk and the power of persistence, such as “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” (By the way, I was delighted to learn that the Italians have the same expression.) What is truly amazing is that people with the fixed mindset would not agree. For them, it’s “Nothing ventured, nothing lost.” “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably don’t have the ability.” “If Rome wasn’t built in a day, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.” In other words, risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. In fact, it’s startling to see the degree to which people with the fixed mindset do not believe in effort.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
11,003 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

AdamAppleby
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Repetitive
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2018
This book could have easily been summed up in an article but instead it''s a 240+ page book repeating essentially the same thing over and over and over. The book is about how your mindset, fixed or open, to challenges, beliefs, and overall life can have a great impact on how... See more
This book could have easily been summed up in an article but instead it''s a 240+ page book repeating essentially the same thing over and over and over. The book is about how your mindset, fixed or open, to challenges, beliefs, and overall life can have a great impact on how you adjust and what you become. As an example, if two children get an F on an assignment with different mindsets, the fixed will tend to think they''re dumb and lose interest while the open will know they can learn and view it as a challenge.

That''s it. I''m not being overly critical of the book or idea. That is the book stretched out using examples from sports, business, relationships, and pretty much areas where your mindset can help determine where you proceed when faced with a challenge.

I don''t know how someone could give this five stars. I don''t mean that to be rude but you''re more or less reading the same idea on every page.
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Janie
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rather terrible
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2018
This was the book that completely turned me off from the psychology/self-help genre. It lacked depth and felt like an endless repetition of comparing situations in which one person had the "proper" mindset and another had the "wrong" mindset, followed by a... See more
This was the book that completely turned me off from the psychology/self-help genre. It lacked depth and felt like an endless repetition of comparing situations in which one person had the "proper" mindset and another had the "wrong" mindset, followed by a few condescending, didactic paragraphs on why the proper mindset was necessary in leading the former to success; it''s apparently the key to everything. Very little was mentioned on *how* to actually achieve this mindset.

On the bright side, I''ve now become more tolerant towards other not-so-great books. It''d be pretty hard to get any worse than this one.
366 people found this helpful
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Cong Bui
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book keeps repeating the same over and over again ...
Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2018
The book keeps repeating the same over and over again: the one with a fixed mindset do this, the one with a growth mindset do that... Problem is, it seems the author defined fixed or growth mindset by the action of that person him/herself, which creates a "circular... See more
The book keeps repeating the same over and over again: the one with a fixed mindset do this, the one with a growth mindset do that... Problem is, it seems the author defined fixed or growth mindset by the action of that person him/herself, which creates a "circular reasoning", rendering the whole idea of mindset pointless.
195 people found this helpful
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Raymond Ullmer
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A single blog post stretched into a book
Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2018
Like many, I came to this book by enthusiatic recommendations of others. The main driver, the explanation of fixed vs growth mindsets and their real life implications, is covered immediately in chapter 1. What then follows for hundreds of pages are case studies that seek to... See more
Like many, I came to this book by enthusiatic recommendations of others. The main driver, the explanation of fixed vs growth mindsets and their real life implications, is covered immediately in chapter 1. What then follows for hundreds of pages are case studies that seek to "prove" the theory. Finally, on page 223, comes a primer on how to make mindset changes. This too is written from a case study perspective, and ultimately leaves the reader at the end of the book feeling like the payoff chapter you''ve been waiting for never arrived. It all feels a bit like...an infomercial for something outside the book.

The thesis of fixed vs growth IS an interesting topic. The thing is: it''s not new. Fixed, pre-determination is otherwise known as "post modernism", and growth-based, self- determination is "existentialism". I find it very ironic that politically unpopular existentialism - the thought that YOU, not your environment are in control of your outcome - has found a rabid new audience under the renamed "growth mindset"! I''ll give Ms. Dweck credit for that trick alone.

It''s a great idea, but the book itself is a shambles. If you read the first and last chapters, you''ll have not missed anything. One star for at least providing the spark of an idea.
180 people found this helpful
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THIAGO ZANETTI
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
240 pages of the same thing
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2018
By the 45th page the author repeated the same idea 23914820395825092385 times. :D

I did not understand why she kept repeating the same thing over and over and over again.

Impossible to keep reading. Left it at the coffee shop for some one else to read.
84 people found this helpful
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silverships
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Concept is brilliant, excecution not so much
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2016
I was looking forward to reading this for months, and had a mixed reaction when I finally did. The book is valuable for its conceit: that there are two types of mind-sets; the growth and the fixed. The growth is the one to have if you want to thrive in life, career,... See more
I was looking forward to reading this for months, and had a mixed reaction when I finally did. The book is valuable for its conceit: that there are two types of mind-sets; the growth and the fixed. The growth is the one to have if you want to thrive in life, career, relationships, etc. People are formed early on into one mindset or the other, but can change to the valuable growth mindset if they put themselves to the task. This is incredibly important and the book''s value stands on this assertion alone. All of this can be summed up in a single chapter, or a scientific paper tweaked for the lay reader. The problem is that this argument is stretched thin to become a "book" and Dweck''s writing doesn''t maintain enough interest on its own and is often clunky, sentimental and obvious at times. I''m sure this happens a lot when a notable scientist, psychologist, etc is given a book deal and needs to expand it to justify a full-length book when something shorter would suffice to most readers (exceptions are brilliant writers like Daniel Kahneman and Daniel Gilbert, etc). So Mindset is a mixed bag. The real gift here is the conceit. Read it because it has value. It''s an informational book, but not a great book.
653 people found this helpful
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M. S.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An amazing premise with plenty of great examples, but it lacks consistency and completeness in analysis and strategies.
Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2017
I finished reading the book from start to finish and as with many self-help books, it may seem too full of anecdotes and not enough scientific background and strategies for the reader to use. However, I think that together, they help to cover all angles of what the author... See more
I finished reading the book from start to finish and as with many self-help books, it may seem too full of anecdotes and not enough scientific background and strategies for the reader to use. However, I think that together, they help to cover all angles of what the author is conveying. However, I wish that she had analyzed each aspect more equally and gave more deductive reasoning and finished with specific strategies for the reader to use in each scenario.

While she was comparatively very thorough in the parenting and school portions, she breezed through the relationships aspect of life and also the business one to a lesser extent.

Some anecdotes that were given were left hanging with an abrupt "this is not how you do it if you want goal x." Well, then tell me why?! And, how?! Nope, she moves on to a whole new topic with another anecdote and sometimes tiny and generic analysis.

Here seems to be a contradiction... One bigger question among others:
*In terms of competition in relationships, if that scientist woman Cynthia claimed to try to share the life and interests of her partners by performing at her best at what they did, then why was she at fault when her partners were being driven away? Wouldn''t that be a problem of them and not her? If she was not being rude, pushy, and boastful about her talents but merely reaching her own potential in subjects that her partners were interested in, wouldn''t she be a growth-minded woman with fixed-minded partners? Why just end it with "there are many good ways to support a partner and this is not one of them?"
61 people found this helpful
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Jb
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I don''t understand why this book got so many good reviews. I was left so disappointed I couldn''t ...
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2018
I don''t understand why this book got so many good reviews. I was left so disappointed I couldn''t even force myself to finish it, let alone get past the second chapter. The idea itself is solid, but to write an entire book on it results in redundancy and repetitiveness. Do... See more
I don''t understand why this book got so many good reviews. I was left so disappointed I couldn''t even force myself to finish it, let alone get past the second chapter. The idea itself is solid, but to write an entire book on it results in redundancy and repetitiveness. Do yourself a favor, just read the back of the book. that''s really all you need.
29 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Joshua de Vries
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very repetitive and concept could be summed up in a paragraph
Reviewed in Canada on July 4, 2020
Repetitive to the point of exhaustion. Felt more like an attempt at brainwash than anything really interesting. I will save you all the money and tell you the final conclusion: People can continue to learn and get smarter. IQ is not a fixed thing and can constantly be...See more
Repetitive to the point of exhaustion. Felt more like an attempt at brainwash than anything really interesting. I will save you all the money and tell you the final conclusion: People can continue to learn and get smarter. IQ is not a fixed thing and can constantly be improved by anyone. Anyone who believes otherwise or that they are special are in a "fixed mindset". Anyone who believes they can improve their intelligence/skills/knowledge is in a "growth mindset". Growth mindset is better than fixed mindset.
53 people found this helpful
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AJ
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
both great reads. I found that this book was very ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2017
I came across this book while reading bounce by Matthew Syed, and also outliers by Malcolm gladwell. However the forementioned books provide a much more succinct and effective synopsis of the growth mindset, both great reads. I found that this book was very badly...See more
I came across this book while reading bounce by Matthew Syed, and also outliers by Malcolm gladwell. However the forementioned books provide a much more succinct and effective synopsis of the growth mindset, both great reads. I found that this book was very badly structured, making it a hard read, plus the author seemed to repeat herself over and over again
31 people found this helpful
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Alex
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Optimistic and Practical
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2018
Carol''s book is an excellent exploration of what it takes to become better, at anything. An inspirational philosophy that shifts away from ideas of "I''m great/terrible" and towards "I can improve no matter where I am". Even if you don''t agree with every...See more
Carol''s book is an excellent exploration of what it takes to become better, at anything. An inspirational philosophy that shifts away from ideas of "I''m great/terrible" and towards "I can improve no matter where I am". Even if you don''t agree with every argument made in the book (I didn''t) it''s a thought-provoking read nonetheless. Especially useful for people who have strong ideas around their "natural talents". I can safely say I''ll be taking many of the ideas in this book with me into the future - optimistic and practical.
6 people found this helpful
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Alice
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very good point of growth vs fixed mindsets however could be summarised in 15 vs 300 pages
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2021
This book makes a very valid point on the importance and differences of a growth mindset vs a fixed one...but it could be literally summarised in a few pages. Instead you get 300 pages of examples for different life situations that in essence make the same point...it''s...See more
This book makes a very valid point on the importance and differences of a growth mindset vs a fixed one...but it could be literally summarised in a few pages. Instead you get 300 pages of examples for different life situations that in essence make the same point...it''s really a drag to read and would have been better if the author used the pages to provide perhaps more verbal guidelines of how to ''speak'' in business, parenting, relationships with a growth mindset terminology (verbs, nouns, concrete phrases based on different life situations) vs just reinforcing the same point over and over again based on known to her examples or research.
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piotr
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It opens mind
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2020
Amazing book I highly reccomend. Bought an audio before and this one for anybody else
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