Book Review - October 2019

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Book by Carol S. Dweck

Review by Derik Borden

I first learned about mindset and Carol Dweck’s work on mindsets in graduate school while taking a course on learning theories. In class, we read the first chapter from the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success as an introduction to the growth and fixed mindsets and how these can play a role in an individual’s learning and development. I recognized the importance of these concepts and have always wanted to read the rest of the book but didn’t get a chance to do so until recently.

What is mindset and the two types of mindsets?

Dweck defines mindset as the view you adopt of yourself that affects the way you lead your life. Having a fixed mindset means you believe you are born with certain qualities and nothing you do can or no amount of work and effort can change those qualities. Having a growth mindset however means you believe you can change and grow by work hard and applying yourself and learning from experiences.

Why is understanding mindsets important?

Understanding mindsets are important because your mindset can change depending on the situation and circumstance. For example, I love reading books and know for a fact that I can learn new information from reading and apply that knowledge to my professional and personal life. But as far as playing a musical instrument, I have always felt that certain people have a natural talent and I was not one of those people because I couldn’t play the recorder in fourth grade. These are just two examples of how your mindset can shape your view on different situations. 

What is the biggest takeaway?

For me, the biggest takeaway is that mindsets are not “fixed” and how you react to different situations and circumstances can change. Keep an open mind about learning and developing and be open to change as it happens in your professional and personal life. Reflecting on past experiences and what you might do different or change about the end result is a great way to start thinking with a growth mindset.

You can find more information on mindsets and Dweck’s research by visiting and watching Carol Dweck’s TedTalk called The Power of Believing That You Can Improve.

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