One of my personal challenges this year is to read at least 26 books before the year is out. The first one I read was Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential by Carol Dweck which was a recommendation Bill Gates included in his 6 best books of 2015.

One of the reasons I wanted to read  this book is to understand the ways in which I can develop my own  mindset to become more comfortable outside of my areas of expertise and  recognise when I am behaving in a fixed mindset way. It’s clear I can  never learn to swing a golf club like Tiger Woods, drive a car like  Lewis Hamilton or ride a bike like Sir Bradley Wiggins, but what Dweck  claims is that anyone can improve their abilities in any area if they  approach it with a growth mindset.

I loved mindset as it made me  understand that our gifts are the things that mean we have the ability  to see and do things in a way that appears natural to us. It doesn’t  mean that others can’t learn to achieve success in these areas with  practice and a growth mindset. Sometimes we just need a great teacher,  the right material or a way of deconstructing problems in a different  way and with a growth mindset to improve along with practice.

The main reason I wanted to read this  book was to understand the kinds of things I can do as a father to my  children to reinforce a growth mindset as they develop their skills and  abilities throughout their lives. There is real practical advice within  to help do just that by articulating problems and challenges in the  right way to our little ones that helps them understand the journey of  how we learn is just as important as the destination of what we learn.  (I also recommend the superb Tara Binns children’s books)

Rewards and reprimands, Dweck claims,  reinforces the fixed mindset, making our children want the feeling of  pleasing others with their achievements and not personal satisfaction  realised through effort and growth. Dweck asserts, failure is not a sign  of stupidity, incompetence, lack of skill or ability, it is a lack of  practice to develop skill and Dweck gives many examples through the book  to validate her points with the growth mindset.

The thing I really liked about this  book was the example situations and solutions where a parent, husband,  colleague, leader, student, athlete etc have been A/B tested to support  the claims. It has already influenced my behaviour around my family and  children and how I approach problems at work.

I would recommend this book to anyone  who resonates with the summary. I do believe their are some things we  can never fully absolve a fixed mindset from; you have to want to have a  growth mindset in a particular area to start with, otherwise the hard  work attributed to success is not going to be an enjoyable process.

Personal Rating: 7/10