Mindset

by Carol Dweck

6/10

Knowing little about this book besides having heard it described as a “must-read” for educators, I found it disappointingly self-helpy. The central thesis — that the “Growth Mindset” offers significantly more long-term satisfaction and achievement than a “Fixed Mindset” — appears solid, and the way Dweck reframes this aspect of mental health is both convincing and welcome. She really seems to see the big picture, and almost every other psychological theory can be reorganized to fit under the “Mindset” umbrella, which is impressive.

As both a parent and an educator, Chapter 7 (Parents, Teachers & Coaches) was by far the most valuable in the book, and I would strongly recommend those 20-odd pages to any other of those three groups. But the rest of the book is sort of blah; Dweck repeats herself alot, has at times an off-puttingly smug tone, and even that wonderful Ch. 7 is frustratingly vague. I wanted more concrete suggestions on what to do, especially for teachers, not just the handful of anecdotes that Dweck provides. I suppose you have to pay more for her Brainology (TM) program in order to reap the full benefits.

So overall Dweck has an important idea, but the way she presents it feels too thin to fill up an entire book. To make the book more satisfying, she needed to go into more detail in each subset: what specifically can managers do to foster it among their employees, for example? But perhaps she has that planned for the future. . . I, for one, would eagerly buy a book of hers that focused solely on education.

Also, I feel compelled to comment on her perhaps unfortunate inclusion of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez as shining examples of growth mindset. I wonder if she would revise that assessment after they were both proven to be somewhat less than what they presented to the public. At least she didn’t waste time on Lance Armstrong. . .

 

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