Mindset (Carol Dweck) - Book Summary, Notes & Highlights

Having the right mindset will help you achieve your goals and be happier. In her book "Mindset", Carol Dweck explains why adopting a growth mindset will take you further. It will allow you to consistently improve and eventually reach your goals

Mindset (Carol Dweck) - Book Summary, Notes & Highlights

Carol Dweck helps us understand how we can get the best out of ourselves in all parts of life with the help of the right mindset. The most important part of this book is understanding the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Growth mindset = Believing that it is possible for people to develop their abilities and improve through practice. This mindset will lead to success through a focus on practice and improvement.

Fixed mindset = Believing that people can not change or improve, instead believing people were all born with a certain amount of ability or talent. This is unfortunately a common mindset in a society where talent is often praised over effort.

⏳The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Cultivating a growth mindset will help you to handle failures and challenges, and learn to view them as opportunities for growth.
  2. Praise people for their efforts and not their abilities, this will cultivate a growth mindset allowing them to keep improving because hard work leads to success.
  3. Never stop learning, nurture your curiosity, and always keep practicing to reach your goals.


I think embracing the growth mindset and applying it in your will go a long way toward a fulfilling and successful life. I did feel that this core idea of what a growth mindset is and why it is beneficial was communicated early on in the book. The rest of the book was more about applying the mindset in different parts of life such as sports, careers, and relationships.

I found this approach valuable, but a little repetitive at times. I think I will use those chapters as something to come back to when I am looking for specific examples for an area of my life. To summarize I think the book has a powerful message and we should all consider how our mindsets shape our lives.

📖Who Should Read It?

I think this a great book to read for everyone to read. We can all benefit from having the right mindset. The book talks a lot about how our interactions with others shape our and their mindsets. It is helpful to understand the motivation and mindset of different people in our lives.

If you are interested in understanding human psychology and the possibilities and challenges our minds face you will enjoy this book. The book is also full of great stories to exemplify the concepts which makes it an enjoyable read.

👩‍🏫Lessons I Have Learned

How my life / behavior / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

  • It made me think a lot about my own childhood. I was often complimented for my talent in school which lead to me not always applying myself in school when I was young. This taught me the importance of how we interact with kids and compliment them on their achievements.
  • It reinforced the importance of practice and effort to reach success. This is a message that can be hard to hear, but also hopeful. We can all make huge improvements if we only put the time and effort into practicing.
  • Our mindsets have a huge influence on our habits and actions. Making sure you are in environments that promote growth and learning will have a huge impact on your life.

📝Summary + Notes

Carol Dweck is an American psychologist who has done a lot of work on mindset and motivation. In her book Mindset, she explains the importance of embracing a growth mindset. Creating that mindset in ourselves will help us both improve performance and happiness over time.

The book highlights how powerful the right mindset can be and how devastating the wrong one can be. The book is filled with great examples and stories showcasing the concepts described. Below you will find my seven takeaways from the book.

1. Deliberate practice and consistent improvement will lead to more success

Embracing the fact that we can improve our abilities and get better almost anything can be both daunting and liberating. The fact that consistent practice over time will make you more successful is a simple truth, but not an easy one always. It might take longer than you want it to, more effort than you thought, and require you to make some sacrifices. But the fact is that given time and effort, deliberate practice will create improvements.

What are the fundamental things you need to improve to get better? Once you have established them it is time to get to work and do them. Establish habits that will allow you to do those things and start improving.

2. Failures are an opportunity to grow - Learn how to handle failures and challenges

Once we have established that we have the possibility to improve our abilities we can stop viewing failures as a flaw in ourselves. Instead what they offer is an additional data point for what we need to work on. We should push ourselves and try things that are at the limit of our abilities because that is how we grow and improve. It is better to have tried and failed, than not tried at all.

Praise people for their effort, not their ability

3. Deepening understanding should always be the learning goal

When we are learning we should always strive to build a deeper understanding. Unfortunately, this is often not the case in schools today. The system is built to reward students for good grades and not actual knowledge. This often creates an environment where students are cramming for the test to get a good grade, but then forget everything two weeks later. For our own sake, we are better off trying to learn things on a deeper level so it becomes useful knowledge that we can remember later.

4. "Leadership is about passion and growth, not brilliance"

To be an effective leader you don't have to be the smartest person in the room. Your job is to get the best out of the people you are leading not to pad your own ego. The best leaders try to recruit people who are smarter than them and make sure to listen to the people they lead. Another thing great leaders do is that they never stop learning. They realize the importance of staying up to date both on what is going on within the organization and external things that could help them.

Learning to embrace smarter people in your organization was something I learned working as a manager of IT consultants at Chalmers Teknologkonsulter. At first, I felt intimidated by the fact that the consultants I was managing knew a lot more about software than I did. But as time went on I realized that was not a problem, it was a benefit to me and the company. I had people that I could ask questions and rely on for second opinions. Once I realized this I became a much better manager.

5. Curiosity + Studying --> Success

This is related to the last point of how great leaders never stop learning, it goes for everyone, not just leaders. The world we live in today moves faster than ever before. Technologies are being changed, culture is shifting and the world is more connected than ever. It is more important than ever that we don't stop collecting knowledge. Stay curious about your work, and make sure you follow the exciting findings and opportunities. It doesn't hurt to be curious about other industries or fields either, maybe you learn something that is transferable to your field.

6. Relationships are like life, they take work and effort.

In a relationship, there are three things that you can have a growth or fixed mindset regarding. Yourself, your partner, and the relationship. Having a growth mindset will allow you to believe in change and improvements for all three. This is important as relationships take a lot of work and won't always be picture-perfect. There will be struggles and remembering in those moments that things can change for the better can be important.

It is important to view a relationship as something that can grow. Often a fixed mindset is communicated to us regarding relationships from Hollywood movies. They portray love as finding "the one" and then everything will be perfect. But for almost everyone, relationships take a lot of work and effort to grow.

Both you as individuals will grow and change, but also your relationship. It is important that partners help each other to do the things they want to do and become the people they want to be. Make sure you are both helping each other become the best versions of yourselves.

7. Be mindful of how you interact with others

It can be easy to forget just how much our words and actions can impact those around us. One important thing is that we should praise people not for their ability/talent but instead for the effort they put in. This is after all the impressive part, the work they put in and it will cultivate a growth mindset. Giving someone a compliment for their natural ability or talent sends a message that you value them for their talents and can instill a fixed mindset. This often makes people worried about failing and can often lead to worse results going forward.