Book Review: Mindset: The New Psychology by Carol S. Dwek

by | Oct 23, 2018

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is the outcome of decades of research by Stanford University psychologist, Carol S. Dwek. Her findings produced the idea of fixed mindsets and growth mindsets.

Dwek describes the Fixed Mindset as belonging to those who believe their abilities are fixed and that they cannot be successful if they don’t have the talent, while those with a Growth Mindset believe that abilities can be developed. It is apparent in not only children, but athletes and CEOs, when using money and in relationships. Mindset affects every area of our lives and can either limit us or foster our growth.

Although Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is heavily focused on her research findings, there are plenty of examples and questions to consider. Carol S. Dwek not only wants to inform us, she is also a champion of change. She believes we all have the ability to change our mindsets if the one we have (often the fixed) isn’t working for us.

Who should read it?

This book is important for parents, teachers and coaches but more specifically, leaders. When I like a book, I believe everyone can truly enjoy it, especially when it is a topic that impacts each of our lives in some shape or form.

Fixed and growth mindsets can impact how you use money. Learning strategies to adopt a Growth Mindset creates motivation and productivity in how we use money. We often talk about goals being the motivator to action but it can be hard to get into action if the goal feels too big. Adjusting your mindset and taking action will provide the inspiration you need to take further action. So, although Mindset is not a how-to finance book, it will lend to learning small behavioural changes that will affect many areas of life, including how you use money.

If you only have time to read one chapter:

If you are (or want to be) a leader or own a business Chapter 5 – Business: Mindset and Leadership is a must read!

If you only have time to read one paragraph:

Okay, it’s a little longer than a paragraph so I’ll just share a portion of it.
Chapter 8, page 225: Changing Mindsets

Mindsets form the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser.” “This means I’m a better person than they are.” “This means I’m a bad husband.” “This means my partner is selfish.”

In several studies, we probed the way people with a fixed mindset dealt with information they were receiving. We found that they put a very strong evaluation on each and every piece of information. Something good led to a very strong positive label and something bad led to a very strong negative label.

People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?

If you only have time to read one sentence:

I enjoyed this chapter so much, perhaps because I am an agent of change by facilitating and maintaining change through my work as a money coach.

Chapter 8, page 252: Changing Mindsets

Whether people change their mindset in order to further their career, heal from a loss, help their children thrive, lose weight, or control their anger, change needs to be maintained. It’s amazing – once a problem improves, people often stop doing what caused it to improve. Once you feel better, you stop taking your medicine.

Kathryn Mandelcorn
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