Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck [Summary]

This is a comprehensive summary of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. Covering the key ideas and proposing practical ways for achieving what’s mentioned in the text. Written by book fanatic and online librarian Ivaylo Durmonski. Supporting Members get full access.


The book categorizes people into the following groups: fixed mindset and growth mindset. While the first group is convinced that their qualities are carved in stone and talent is god-given, the second will climb to the top with hard work. Yep, according to Carol S. Dweck, your natural capabilities will only get you so far. By sharing studies, interviews, and stories, the author wants to embed a simple idea in your worrying mind – that with the right mindset, everything can be learned. With the right mindset, everything can be achieved.

The Core Idea:

Want something? You need to work for it! It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not about talent or skills. It’s about giving your best effort. About understanding that to be among the top achievers, you must first convince your mind that winning is not a one-time event. It is a continuous process. Ah, and one more thing: don’t glorify intelligence. Praise people for their efforts.


  • People with a fixed mindset survive in life by avoiding challenges and blaming others.
  • People with a growth mindset focus on continuous learning and improving their abilities.
  • To change your life, you need to change your mindset.

The 5 Key Lessons From Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

Lesson #1: There Are Two Mindsets We Can Embody – Fixed or Growth

You either have it, or you don’t. You’re either smart, or you’re not. At least that’s what people with the fixed mindset think.

In contrast, folks who don’t have cemented understandings of the world visualize things differently – “I’m still not kick-ass at this thing, but through trial and error I can get better.”

Some consider the set of cards they get when they’re born unchangeable. Others, the folks with the flourishing mindset, see them as a temporary condition.

That’s the whole concept of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Throughout the whole book, Carol S. Dweck outlines the main characteristics of the two mindsets we humans can embody – the fixed and the growth mindset.

Here are the essentials:

What People With a Fixed Mindset Believe:

  • You’re born with certain skills. Like a car coming off the production line. Once you’re out in the world, no one, not even the manufacturer – your mom – can upgrade your skills or elevate your thinking.
  • These folks hang around people who are worse than them to feel better. They avoid high-achievers because they feel threatened by them and their self-esteem suffers.
  • Blame, excuse, avoidance, and criticism are their primary tools to go around in life.
  • They focus on praise and on the prize. Their mantra is: “Give me the prize. I already know everything. If I don’t win, I quit.”

What People With a Growth Mindset Believe:

  • They don’t hide in the bushes, quit, abandon ship when things are not coming together as they initially planned. Quite the contrary. They get even more determined. Their motivation to confront their problems and improve skyrockets.
  • Grow-minded people prefer to communicate with folks who are better than them. To learn from them. To share their errors and ask for advice. Their ego is not fueled by fake compliments, it’s endorsed by improving.
  • Determination, action, ability to learn, and desire to go further despite the current setbacks are their main abilities.
  • Their main priority in life is to keep learning. Their mantra is: “I want to learn and to get better. I don’t care about prizes. Give me a new challenge.”

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow?” Carol S. Dweck

Lesson #2: Learn To Risk Your Success And Don’t Let Failure Define You

I am a failure.

That’s what people with a fixed mindset think about themselves when they fail to achieve a specific task. They can be caring parents. Passionate writers. Compassionate friends. But when “I can’t open this can of beans. I’m must be a total loser.”

Even professional athletes. People who won gold medals. People who, in front of thousands of other people, beat other players can fall into this degenerating way of thinking when they miss an opportunity or do something wrong.

As the author writes, “If you’re somebody when you’re successful, what are you when you’re unsuccessful?”

But can a one-time event really summarize and define your whole life?

For people with a fixed mindset, it can. For these folks, winning 10 times means nothing if they lose 1 time.

That’s why they dream about retiring early, and they avoid bigger challenges – they don’t want to turn success into failure. After they won an award, the intentionally hide the invitation of the next contest. They don’t want to risk what they have currently.

They dodge learning new things because they know how unprepared they will be in this new area. And when they lack skills, their mind transforms the “I’m not good at this” into “I’m not good at all.”

That’s why it’s so important to adopt and growth-minded belief.

No matter whether you’re winning or losing, the important thing is to learn and to get better.

Don’t let failure define who you are. You can constantly improve and get better – if you choose to.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt…

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