Mindset: A (very) Short Book Review

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Book – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006) by Carol Dweck.

I rarely write book reviews, even though I had love to (I will blame Grad school for that). However, I decided to write this because of its lesson – simple yet profound.

I have listened to several talks by Prof. Carol Dweck, a celebrity Psychologist at Stanford University and I had wanted to pick up her book a while ago but –  like most book I buy – I procrastinated chronically. I got the final itch when Bill Gates recommended it on his blog, I think sometimes last year. Surprisingly, a wonderful friend who mysteriously read my mind bought a copy for me early this year.

The book went through several psychology studies to show that while our genes affects our intelligence and ability, it’s by no means fixed, we can grow these things (usually) way beyond our imagination.

She classified people into having two types of mindset – The fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The former thinks his ability is fixed at birth, and there is nothing much to do about it, while the latter thinks of her ability more like a muscle, something that can grow.

That reminds me of how I had thought of myself as a terrible, terrible, writer when I was in High School.  And I was.

I never get above  an average score in English essay writings, and for some reason, I was convinced it was not my thing so I don’t even ‘waste’ my time practicing. I didn’t start writing (non-academic) until I got to Grad School when I started my blog, and it’s just amazing what happens when you change your mindset – when you think of progress as a possibility.

The research with the kids is the best. She revealed in the book how praising kid’s talents lowers IQ scores, while praising perseverance and grit did the reverse. A great tip for parenting.

But parenting or schooling are not the sole benefits of this psychology, it lies right at the heart of our relationships, the philosophy of romanticism. This philosophy has taught us one thing – that love is an intuition business – you see a person, you feel this tickling all over you, suddenly, everything clicks and you live happily ever after.

But if you had managed to spend some afternoon with a dozen  real-life couple, you realize very quickly that’s all bullshit! Relationship requires a stout growth mindset. With a fixed mindset (romanticism), it crashes like a tidal wave.

The growth mindset reminds me of the causality characteristics of the mind-body problem in philosophy. The growth mindset affects your progress, and your progress affects (burgeon) your mindset. It’s a double win.

Thank you for reading.

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