Saturday, March 7, 2015

Mindset Book Review

I was offered a chance to get a free book and be a part of the discussion group at my son's school.  You know that I couldn't pass that up.  I didn't know anything about that book but I signed up immediately.  I have tried to get into a book group on some many occasions that I jumped at the chance even if it was just a one time thing.

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset.  Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

I enjoyed the book and felt like I was back in school again (in a good way).  I had a little piece of paper stuck in the book where I made little notes with the page numbers of things that I found most interesting.  I figured that if I had to talk about it later that I should know where to find it.  Who knows how that will go but I am super excited after reading this book to sit down and talk about it with other parents.  What I learned from reading the book is that I had a lot of these same problems growing up and I want to make sure that I help my son to not feel the same way as I did growing up.  In the chapter about businesses, I saw many of the bosses that I worked with that only wanted people working for them that agreed with everything that they said (which I am not really good at and it takes a lot to hide my opinion).  I know that I am going to try to change the way that I speak to my son and I hope that it helps him to know that he can learn and grow and I think that in a working environment, I have learned how to make some changes that will make me happier.  There is a lot to learn in this book and I think that it has benefits to all people (even those without kids) to make sure that you set your mind to think about growing.  I can see how it will make your life better and help you learn to interact with others more positively.  I can't wait to put it into effect and put this reference book on my shelf to pick up again to refresh my memory.  I hope that you check this out at your local library or bookstore soon and enjoy it as much as I did!


  1. I think it's great that the school organized a book group centered around a resource that will help them parent their kids more constructively. I was a Family/School Liaison for one short year at my local elementary school and my role was to try to help parents become more involved in their children's education. Our elementary school serves a very poor population and it was hard getting parents to come to school to participate in activities or get advice. This would have been a great opportunity to get parents involved who maybe couldn't come to school because they could have read the book at home and participated in an online forum if they couldn't come to school (provided that they had internet access, of course. I see a lot of people at the library using the computers but you have to want to participate in order for these initiatives to be successful.).

    I agree that praising a kid won't necessarily ensure success. So many other factors come into play for success to happen and I think that the best predictor of success is parental involvement. Not to the point of becoming a helicopter parent, mind you, but if people took the time to participate in their kids' education by being aware of what they're doing in school, making sure homework is being done, communicating with teachers, and showing that education is important by modeling those behaviors, then most kids would get the message and have some measure of success because "education is important" would become part of their mindset. Of course, you have those kids who don't want to listen (my middle son was one of those) and kids with learning disabilities or other challenges where just parental involvement might not be enough.

    Nowadays too many kids get praised for the littlest things they do, it's ridiculous. Gold star for everyone! I think it lowers everyone's expectations including the kids' because they don't have to do any work, they get a gold star for something anyway ("most improved in P.E.!"). The first year my youngest was in elementary school (3rd grade, I homeschooled him through 2nd grade), a disruptive kid in his supposedly advanced classroom kept on getting "gold tickets" for doing his work. My son always did his work but never got a gold ticket. He finally asked me why and said that all his friends were wondering the same thing and talking about it. I didn't know so I asked the teacher who said it was part of a behavioral modification technique to reward low-performing students and improve their self-esteem. What it actually did, because no one explained it to the other students, is that it lowered everyone else's self-esteem and motivation as the kids realized that they weren't going to be rewarded for always being good students but the mediocre students would always be rewarded for improving. My son and I had a good discussion about it and thankfully he was smart enough to understand that gold tickets didn't matter in our family and why that kid was getting them. But I feel this particular technique lowered the expectations of 23 out of 24 kids in that classroom. As a side note, that specific kid's parents were nowhere to be seen, wouldn't respond to repeated attempts to contact them, his homework was never completed, he fell asleep in school, and was pretty aggressive. All the gold tickets in the world weren't going to help him achieve success because clearly his parents didn't give a crap neither about his education or his well-being :(

    Anyway, I think it's awesome that your school is providing this opportunity for parents and that you are involved with it and that the book has provided you with ideas on how to help your child!

    1. I think that it is great too. This is a new school for us so I am happy to get involved and see what is going on. I had a similar problem at the last school with the tickets and it really killed my son because he just wanted everyone to like him. He loves school now and is really happy. I just want to make sure it stays that way through his whole school career and he loves learning!!!


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