“It’s Not About How Smart You Are”

MINDSET by Carol Dweck

In this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education, staff reporter David Glenn has written an interesting piece considering the pioneering work—and controversial viewpoints—of psychologist, professor and author Carol Dweck.  

Dweck, currently a professor at Stanford University, is a leading expert on motivation and personality psychology.  Having done more than twenty years of research on mindset, she has come to form what many consider to be a contratian view: by fostering the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait, and praising students for simply “being smart”, educators do a disservice not only to students but to society-at-large.

The article has sparked varied reactions among Chronicle readers.  In exchange for a free copy of Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, we’d like to get your point of view as well.  Simply read the Chronicle article and/or the book excerpt and post a thoughtful comment here.  Then email us for your free copy (please be sure to include your full school mailing address).


Filed under From the Moderator

7 responses to ““It’s Not About How Smart You Are”

  1. Dweck has a good point. One can mess up one’s life trying to prove how smart they are. It is similar to happiness. One does not attain it by searching for it, but, rather, one is happy if one does things that make one happy.

  2. As the dean of an opportunity law school, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, both the Chronicle article and the excerpt from Chapter One confirm our experience that motivated students whose LSAT scores disqualify them from admission to most law schools can succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice. Our faculty is especially inspired by our evening law students who work hard for four years with full-time day jobs, families, and other responsibilities. Professor Dweck has really articulated the reason for the success of law students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

  3. Amy Kautz

    Glad to see new research on emotion and intellegience. Seems to be similiar to some theories on Emotional Intelligence. Look forward to seeing what she does with the Stanford Freshman.

  4. Heather

    As I’m beginning to develop a course for students returning after academic suspension, my co-instructor and I have been working with how we get our students to realize they can initiate change in their behaviors and their “intelligence” in terms of decision making; helping them developing the right skills, attitudes, and utilizing opportunities to help them persist to their college degrees. I look forward to reading more of her work to apply to this course!

  5. Tim Russell

    It has long been known (and proven) that expectancy can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. People with a growth mindset expect to do well, and when they don’t, they expect that they will find a solution to overcome the difficulty. The bigger question is: How do we create this sense of expectancy in people? If we could figure that out, we could, literally, change the world. But, because the answers are as individual as each person, only trial and error will get us to to the realization of a predominantly growth-minded society.

  6. John Ruiz

    As I read this I realized that I used to be a person with a fixed mindest. I used to try to prove myself over and over again, and I was miserable. That was until I learned that human potential is limitless, and that everyone is entitled to tapping into this potential. This made my mind free. I enjoyed this excerpt thouroughly and MUST read this book. Please give me a free copy!

  7. Belle Zembrodt

    Mindset is an interesting idea and obviously important in how one reacts to events in one’s life. How does mindset develop? Perhaps if people are confronted with overwhelming challenges that they can’t resolve, the develop hopelessness and then events under their control seem just as unsurmountable. If people overcome challenges, perhaps they develop confidence in their ability to overcome new challenges and are excited about the possibility and less likely to give up quickly. I would love to have a copy of the book.

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