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  • Jack Lau

A Book to Read: Mindset

We probably should just stick with the topic of technology development. And, guilty indeed we are to digress. But, we do want to talk about a book.

Recently we picked up a book called "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success", written by Professor Carol Deweck, who used be at Columbia and is now teaching at Stanford.

While we are definitely bookworms, we probably should not bore you with all the silly stuff that we read. But, we do want to recommend this book to everyone. First of all, this book caught our attention because not long ago, the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, was interviewed by Forbes. The Forbes folks asked Nadella what contributed to his success in bringing Microsoft to a new peak. And, Nadella credited his thinking to this book. So, there you have it --- a link amongst technology, this book and this blog.

The thesis of this book is that while most people think that successful people are born with, the truth is that people who are successful work really hard, embrace challenges, and are not afraid of changes. The successful people have "growth mindset", rather than a fixed mindset. Fixed mindset people are those are like to blame their failure on other factors.

Fixed mindset are common to people who have been labelled prodigy and then are afraid of doing things that may make them fail. Rather than embracing challenges and trying to figure out ways to be better, "fixed mindset" people don't want to be told that they can fail. So, they are always in the comfort zone. Unfortunately, in technology and probably in life, once you sit still, the rest of the world just passes you.

Carol Deweck quoted many examples in her book, and I particularly like the example she quoted with Tiger Woods, the legendary golfer. You see, Tiger Woods is probably one of the hardest working golfers in modern era. Before him, people just thought that golf is a game of talent. Either you have it, or you don't. But, Tiger not only worked on his techniques in golf, he was the one who first went into complete physical body training to get his game to another level. In fact, a few months ago, John Daly, a definite golf prodigy, a two time major winner, reported to the news that one time he tried to invite Tiger Woods for a beer after a game. Instead of joining him, Tiger went to the gym and said, "If I had your talent I'd be doing the same thing (drinking a beer) you're doing."

Brining a technology into fruition --- building a company around technologies, is really hard stuff. Almost everyone we know who start a technology company is a genius and a prodigy. Unfortunately, in technology start up, constant failure and humiliation are almost guaranteed. Bad press, humiliating reviews, and terrible investors, are just a fact of life. These terrible events will crush anyone who have a fixed mindset or ego.

Perhaps, we should all remind ourselves that successful people need not be the smartest in the room, but they do have the mindset to keep growing and reaching new heights.

Happy reading.


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