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Book Summary 52 — Mindset — The New Psychology of Success

You can find all my book summaries — here.

At first I was really sceptical about this book, as it started with some super obvious statements and topics which are just common knowledge.

…but as you keep reading, the examples and insights really kick and in the end I completely self-identified with parts in the book.

Now, I would totally recommend ANYONE who ever feels stuck to read it — it is truly eye opening and even the most learning focused amongst us can find little gems in the book (after the first couple chapters).

The Mindsets

Fixed Mindset

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over.

MB: “He/She is smart!” ← How I hate that statement

An assessment at one point in time has little value for understanding someone’s ability, let alone their potential to succeed in the future.

People with a fixed mindset give standardised tests the power to measure their most basic intelligence now and forever. They give this test the power to define them. That’s why every success is so important.

People who believe in fixed traits feel and urgency to succeed, and when they do, they may feel more than pride. They may feel a sense of superiority, since success means that their fixed traits are better than other people’s.

However, lurking behind that self-esteem of the fixed mindset is a simple question: If you’re somebody when you’re successful, what are you when you’re unsuccessful.

A way people with the fixed mindset try to repair their self-esteem after a failure is by assigning blame or making excuses.

Growth Mindset

The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. They believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

People in the growth mindset don’t just seek challenges, they thrive on it. The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch. And nowhere can it be seen more clearly than in the world of sports. You can just watch people stretch and grow.

Even int he growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.

For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.

Other Insights


When praised in the wrong way “you’re smart / intelligent” (fixed traits), want to maintain that and not risk being “dumb”, so stop challenging themselves .

Find a way to praise them in a growth way “you’ve done well learning and working hard! Tell me about how you did it?” — makes them proud of learning.


Enron created a culture that worshipped talent, thereby forcing its employees to look and act extraordinarily talented. Everyone had an image to uphold and had to pretend to know everything and be invincible (no self-awareness / adjustment).

The New Generation

These children of praise [Millenials] have now entered the workforce, and sure enough, many can’t function without getting a sticker for their every move. Instead of yearly bonuses, some companies are giving quarterly or even monthly bonuses. Instead of employee of the month, ti’s the employee of the day. Companies are calling in consultants to teach them how best to lavish rewards on this overpraised generation. We now have a workforce full of people who need constant reassurance and can’t take criticism.

MB: I can totally see where this is coming from + how this might exacerbate even further in future.

Creating Growth Mindset Environments

  • Present skills as learnable
  • Conveying that the organization values learning and perseverance, not just ready made genius and talent
  • Giving feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success
  • Presenting managers as resources for learning



Fixed — feel judged and permanently labeled; #1 goal: revenge

Growth — understanding, forgiving and moving on; even though deeply hurt want to learn from it

Biggest Misconceptions

  1. If you have to work at it, it wasn’t meant to be

→ every relationship expert disagrees, you need to work together, compromise and learn from each other

2. Mind Reading

This is impossible → mind reading instead of communication inevitably backfires.

3. Agreeing on Everything

Just assuming you know everything about each other is Fixed and point in time, which will never work as we constantly change.

4. Problems Indicate Character Flaws

Fixed — assigning blame to usually the partner’s character flaws

but instead of just assuming they’re fixed you can work on them

Cultivate the Right Mindset

Mindsets start being formed really early on as a kid and every interaction sends a message.

It’s core messages of:

Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence — like a gift — by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect, it makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.

Rather than praising her intelligence or her grade, I asked questions that made her reflect on the effort she put into studying and on how she has improved from the year before.

  • What did you learn today?
  • What mistake did you make that taught you something?
  • What did you try hard at today?
  • Oh, you certainly did get smarter today!
  • SUCCESS! — Oh, that’s too bad. You’re not learning. Can you find something harder to do so you could learn more?

You can find all my book summaries — here.



Goal: Read and summarise one book a week

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