Dweck, Carol S.

Dweck explains why it is not just our abilities and talent that brings us success–but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.


Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford conducted research into achievement and success. She observed that outcomes for both individuals and class groups were positively influenced by a what she calls a growth mindset. That is a fixed mindset of talent, self-esteem and prior accomplishment is self limiting while a growth mindset opens one to greater opportunity, success and achievement from growth and learning.

Her work has been influential in some teaching circles despite criticism from researchers who had difficulty replicating her results and criticised her methods and conclusions.

The examples quoted in the book are anecdotal and highlight a strong and simple contrast between fixed and growth mindsets rather than a continuum of qualities that make a mindset. The book pays little attention to follow-up studies of Dweck's subjects. Nor does Dweck propose a theory of mindset and so there is little guidance about how one might change mindset.

Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the idea of of a growth mindset that sees success and failure as opportunities to grow and learn is compelling.


Ballantine Books