Book Review – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Carol Dweck
Marguerite Gavin (narrator)
LLC Gildan Media
Publication Date: February 25th 2009


“Mindset is one of those rare audio books that can help you make positive changes in your life and at the same time see the world in a new way. A leading expert in motivation and personality psychology, Carol Dweck has discovered in more than 20 years of research that our mindset is not a minor personality quirk: it creates our whole mental world. It explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. It shapes our goals, our attitude toward work and relationships, and how we raise our kids, ultimately predicting whether or not we will fulfill our potential. Dweck has found that everyone has one of two basic mindsets.If you have the fixed mindset, you believe that your talents and abilities are set in stone – either you have them or you don’t. You must prove yourself over and over, trying to look smart and talented at all costs. This is the path of stagnation. If you have a growth mindset, however, you know that talents can be developed and that great abilities are built over time. This is the path of opportunity – and success.”

“Dweck demonstrates that mindset unfolds in childhood and adulthood and drives every aspect of our lives, from work to sports, from relationships to parenting. She reveals how creative geniuses in all fields – music, literature, science, sports, business – apply the growth mindset to achieve results. Perhaps even more important, she shows us how we can change our mindset at any stage of life to achieve true success and fulfillment. She looks across a broad range of applications and helps parents, teachers, coaches, and executives see how they can promote the growth mindset. Highly engaging and very practical, Mindset breaks new ground as it leads you to change how you feel about yourself and your future.” ~via Goodreads

It is rare that we come across a book that changes how we think about our reality, about how we act and react to the world, to others, and to ourselves. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, however, is one of these rare finds. It is the most direct work that I have read to date that details how we perceive the world as a pivotal force in how we live our lives and how successful we become. It shows that our thoughts don’t create our reality directly, its more accurate to say that thoughts create momentum and drag and our lives begin listing to one direction or another. This book discusses how our mindset touches every aspect of our lives, including business, leadership, relationships, marriage, sports, our own schooling, the education of our children, how we were raised and how we raise the next generation. Everything is affected by our mindset because our mindset frames and focuses our reality.

In this work, Carol Dwek offers two mindsets to compare and contrast: the fixed mindset, and the growth mindset. She shows us how everyday thoughts, words and actions can reveal our mindset and betray out goals and intentions. The fixed mindset focuses on people having fixed, unchangable traits. The growth mindset focuses on learning, developing and refining a persons traits. This book delves into how to identify these mindsets in ourselves and others. It shows us how people can have different mindsets for different traits, skills, or subjects. It tells us how we can start moving out of our fixed mindset and leave our self limiting beliefs behind us.

The narration of this audiobook is well done. Marguerite Gavin keeps the listener engaged with a moderate, even tempo. Her delivery is consistent, but with the sharp pronunciation we tend to find with professionals. With the audiobook being over eight and a half hours long, I would have benefitted from a bit more dimension, however it was still expertly narrated.

The book is insightful and extremely interesting. It covers the idea of these mindsets though various topics, so there is something for everyone here. With my own preferences, I wanted to hear more on subjects like leadership and business and felt like there was an overabundance of sports examples. However, to be fair, she covers it all. I came away from this book feeling enriched and energized with a new tool in my arsenal. I found myself over the subsequent days employing her techniques and being mindful of how my mindset was setting the tone in my daily life.

The idea that no person and no trait is fixed is powerful. When one adopts a growth mindset anything, even something like raw IQ, can be refined and improved. It moves an individual towards the fact that properly placed effort will always surpass innate talent begrudgingly utilized. When we think about our lives we need to be sure we are looking for and engaging the challenges around us instead of shooting below our potential and seeking affirmations from things that come easily to us. We must love learning and being truly challenged if we are to grow.

This book made me think about my own life. It called me out on the areas where I still have a fixed mindset, where my self-imposed limiting beliefs were so engrained that I had not even noticed they were there. It has challenged me and inspired me to grow. I am giving this book 5 stars without a moment’s hesitation.

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