Mindset by Carol S. Dweck [Book Summary]


From your skull shape to your foot size, your body’s physical features are essentially completely fixed from the beginning. Definitely, you can have plastic surgery or break one of your bones; however, we humans usually have really small control over our bodies’ characteristics.

However, what of our intellectual and physical skills, such as drawing, playing basketball, or solving math problems? Are these inherited or learned? Presently, the majority of the scientists approve that if you wish to be a concert violinist, you not only require to have a musical disposition; however, you have to commit years of your life into practice.

Yet, there are a lot of solutions to this question as there are people because our mindset plays a huge part in how we view ourselves as well as other people. Simply put, our mindset shapes our views in attaining a thing.

These two extremes form the foundation for the notion of a fixed versus a growth mindset. People that have a fixed mindset believe they are naturally born talented at doing some things; however, completely incapable of others; on the other hand, the people with a growth mindset believe they can become experts at anything if they try really hard.

Therefore, the people in the growth mindset category keep developing all through their lives, gaining new abilities without reservation and actively taking part in their relationships. For the people, life in all its aspects is in a regular state of change.

On the other hand, people that have a fixed mindset usually let their black-and-white manner of thinking hinder their growth. If they are unsuccessful at something, they hide their heads in the sand or blame others. They hope for never-ending love in their relationships instead of working on the relationships themselves.


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Chapter 1 – A person’s skills are set in stone in a fixed mindset.


People that have a fixed mindset assume that gift is king. According to their perspective, some’s skills are set in stone from onset; a person is, by nature, either intelligent and gifted or stupid and not competent, and will remain like that. 

Big companies such as Enron and McKinsey ­– whose HR departments invest so much money into scouting out alleged naturals at universities – symbolize this manner of thinking. The graduates they employ are required to immediately improve company performance with their exceptional skills. However, because the graduates are really gifted, they get little small and are not expected to advance in their works or grow into new duties.



Due to that, their superiors evaluate them all the time: Are these graduates truly as clever as we believe or do their mistakes show that they do not have the skill to get the work done?

People that have a fixed mindset believe that workers who are not perfect from the onset will bever get perfect; therefore, it’s best to allow them to go fast.

Also, people that have a fixed mindset think that they can just do things they display a natural ability for – that practice definitely does not make perfect. Because they are fast to judge themselves as well as other people as being good or bad at something, they believe that other people are judging them as well constantly. Hence, they feel the urge to display how skilled and clever they are every opportunity they get.

They assume that their whole character is at risk: one mistake could be sufficient to tag them as incompetent fools for life. They regularly ask for approval from others to guard their egos and proof that they truly are as great as they believe they are.


Chapter 2 – In the growth mindset, development and growth are very likely.


When kids that have a growth mindset are given a hard math problem to solve at school, they dive into the task and want to do more problems similar to that at home. They know that the more problems they solve, the more they get to learn.

The sky’s the limit when we talk about life’s potentials for kids that have a growth mindset. It’s difficult to describe their exact degree of intelligence now, talkless of forecast what it maybe tomorrow. Definitely, their grades show their status at one point in time; however, these children think that they can learn more with commitment, perseverance, and hard work.



Also, they are not concerned about having the highest grades or being better than their peers; they want to get the fulfillment of driving themselves to the limits of their development potential. Maybe it is sports or music, writing or drawing, they practice persistently and they quite know that it is just through practice – and the irregular failure – that they can enhance their abilities.

People that have a growth mindset enjoy any chance to learn skills from the crème de la crème in a field. They reevaluate and leave tactics used previously, and are usually thinking of how they can get rid of their mistakes and weaknesses.

Also, they motivate their partners to keep on learning and working on themselves in their relationships. When these people play sports, they play with an understanding that they are working for the team. When they manage a business, they give their workers respect, are thankful for their job, and ask for their candid ideas on things, no matter how disturbing the truth might be. People that have a growth mindset accept difficulties and view them as challenges, not insurmountable problems. They eagerly put their energy into making themselves and the world around them better.


Chapter 3 – People that have a fixed mindset seek approval; while people with a growth mindset seek development.


When Chrysler Motors was on the edge of ruining, Lee Iacocca became the CEO. All thanks to his fast decision-making and a good feeling for workers, he was only able to bring the company back to life.

However, after that, his actions changed all of a sudden. He began depending on his achievements, showing off his superiority and putting more work into his own reputation than into the company’s benefit. His only aim changed to seeking approval from other people.

Iacocca obviously shows a fixed mindset. Just as he categorizes everything as either “good” or “bad,” he feels others analyzing him, categorizing him as a winner or a loser. Also, since he would like to be a winner, he attempts to look as intelligent and talented as possible rather than looking for means to develop the company.

Different from Lou Gerstner, who took charge of IBM as it was close to shutting down. Afflicted by a fixed-mindset work surrounding, the company was wasting resources on internal arguments rather than concentrating on service and teamwork. Everybody was attempting to do what was best for themselves; hence, the company was not fulfilling what the customer needs.



In order to change that, Gerstner split the company’s hierarchies and laid emphasis on teamwork, compensating workers who helped their colleagues. Also, he created communication channels all through the company, putting himself on the same level as his workers. This allowed him to form personal contact with as many workers as possible within a short period of time.

Gerstner’s growth mindset allowed him to form a new work surrounding based on teamwork and growth. The concentrated changed from individuals’ success to shared growth. As a result of this idea, he was able to bring about long-lasting success at IBM.


Chapter 4 – The fixed mindset views failures as tragedies; whereas the growth mindset views failures as opportunities.


Failure has extreme consequences for people that have a fixed mindset. Consider golfer Sergio García. When he was experiencing a series of misfortune, he fired one caddy one after the other in a very bad temper. On one occasion, he even blamed his shoes, at which point he took his shoes off and threw them at an innocent onlooker out of anger.

The people that have a fixed mindset do not think that they can learn from their errors. They view one failure as proof that they will be losers for life: one downfall disproves and devalues all former achievements.

For them to keep the small self-confidence they have, people that have a fixed mindset make excuses, cheat, or lose interest and deliberately overlook something. These people do not look for assistance or evaluate their weaknesses, and they surely do not attempt to become better by practicing. They consider themselves as a complete product – and not a continuous process.



Even Michael Jordan, the basketball hall-of-fame had moments in his profession when he did not score each ball he touched. He ruined a good 26 possibly winning shots. But, instead of burying his head in the sand, he practiced the shots that he misses continuously. Eventually, at the end of his career, he got the best shooting methods of anybody on the court.

Michael Jordan clearly is a person with a growth mindset. Instead of blaming his teammates or the court’s floor, he searched for means to enhance his own abilities and game.

He examined his errors, practiced even harder than ever before, and got advice from others. He strongly believed that he could change his losses into wins–provided he tried really hard enough.


Chapter 5 – People that have a fixed mindset evade problems; people that have a growth mindset enjoy them.


There are a lot of things in life that can only be accomplished with effort. Still, when people that have a fixed mindset are confronted with a challenging issue, the only thing they can see are risks, since the more time and energy they put into something, the fewer excuses they have if they don’t succeed. Also, people with a fixed mindset believe in the huge power of natural ability: talented people don’t have to try really hard.

This manner of thinking makes it unlikely for people that have a fixed mindset to improve themselves without questioning their own gift– and hence they evade hard situations. They do not want to possibly make a fool of themselves.

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the violist showed this type of behavior. When she was age 10, she was already very celebrated; and when she turned 18, she held her violin the wrong way and her fingers were stiff. Each time she attempted to learn a new thing, she got really scared of failing she would stop taking her violin to lessons and evade playing completely.



If Christopher Reeve the actor had that type of mindset, he would have stayed totally paralyzed from the neck down for the remaining of his life, just like what the doctors predicted after his accident. But, he had a growth mindset: instead of passively admitting his destiny, he took charge of his condition.

Therefore, he went through a difficult training program – and then the impossible occurred: different to all diagnoses, he was able to move his hands, then his legs, and, eventually, his whole upper body.

Difficulties offer people that have a growth mindset the chance to chase purpose-filled actions. The more dejected they are, the more energy they invest in fighting against – and rewriting – their destiny.  Just like Reeve, they work hard to change the impossible into possible.


Chapter 6 – Our mindset is usually very influenced by the role models we had when we were kids.


What determinants decide if someone has a growth or a fixed mindset? What determinants decide if a person accomplishes his potential or spends his life being stagnant?

At birth is when the mindset development starts. Babies are born into the world with a growth mindset: they wish to learn and develop as much as possible daily.

The adults in a kid’s surroundings– typically his or her parents –play a big part in determining if the child retains this want to develop or ultimately embrace a fixed mindset. Simply put, parents lay a mindset example for their kids. Parents that have a growth mindset motivate their children and inspire them to keep on learning, parents with a fixed mindset are usually criticizing their children, telling them what is right or wrong, good or bad.

Babies between the ages one and three already act accordingly: babies that have a growth-mindset will attempt to comfort another baby who is crying; whereas babies that are fixed-mindset babies are annoyed by it.



Also, teachers are really significant role models and impact children’s mindsets. There are a lot of teachers who assume that a student’s performance cannot be changed – those good students will keep on doing well and weaker students will usually get Cs or Ds. Due to that, weaker students will have a fixed mindset.

However, good teachers –teachers who strongly believe their students can learning anything – handle the matter in a different way. They reveal to their students’ different means of solving math problems or knowing Shakespeare. Their weaker students accept a growth mindset and begin having better grades: they are no longer fated to seeing themselves as “dumb” by nature.

Our mindset is not completely fixed. It can transform as early as in childhood when we embrace the mindsets of our role models.


Chapter 7 – Anybody can embrace a growth mindset and can also make the impossible possible.


No one has to be a victim of her environments when forming her own mindset. The brain can be taught just like muscles: if we wish to have a growth mindset, we can teach ourselves to reason in that manner one step at a time.

This is an illustration: you mistakenly drop a plate on the floor. The first – fixed – thought might be, “I’m really clumsy!” However, people who are mindful of this response and wish to change it can drive themselves to embrace a growth mindset by thinking, “Oh well, such things occur. I’ll clean it up and I will be more cautious next time.”

Striving towards achieving a growth mindset offers a great chance to reach out to other people for support, to talk about our errors and mistakes, and to make feasible, tangible plans for accomplishing our goals.

It is significant to know that a fixed mindset is not easy to kick. It has likely turn into emotional support over the years: it defends us from failure, forms recognition in the sights of our parents and spouses, and enhances our self-confidence. It eases us over and over again; hence, disregarding it can be very discomforting.



As a matter of fact, it is not essential to give up a fixed mindset completely. Provided that we embrace the growth viewpoint in specific circumstances, it’s normally enough: even if someone believes he is a lost cause in sports, he could still be making rapid progress at work on a daily basis.

Embracing a growth mindset in any area allows us to make the impossible possible (Christopher Reeve) and to keep on developing our abilities and skills (Michael Jordan). In this aspect, the growth mindset is the way to self-fulfillment.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck Book Review


People that have a fixed mindset hinder their own growth through their belief in the inborn ability and their fear of failure. In contrast, people that have a growth mindset work really hard and train hard to eventually attain their potential to the fullest. By challenging our own views and notions, we can form a growth mindset.


How are people different in their mindset?

• Our mindset shapes if we believe we can learn and adjust and develop– or not.

• A person’s skills are set in stone in a fixed mindset.

• In the growth mindset, growth and development are very likely.

What influence does our mindset have on our actions?

• People that have a fixed mindset seek approval; whereas people with a growth mindset seek development.

• The fixed mindset views failures as tragedies; whereas the growth mindset views them as opportunities.

• People that have a fixed mindset evade problems; whereas people with a growth mindset enjoy them.

Can our mindset be changed?

• Our mindset is usually firmly influenced by the role models we had when we were still kids.

• Anybody can embrace a growth mindset and make the impossible possible.


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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

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