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Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology) [Paperback]

Carol Dweck
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 2000 1841690244 978-1841690247 1

This innovative text sheds light on how people work -- why they sometimes function well and, at other times, behave in ways that are self-defeating or destructive. The author presents her groundbreaking research on adaptive and maladaptive cognitive-motivational patterns and shows:

* How these patterns originate in people's self-theories
* Their consequences for the person -- for achievement, social relationships, and emotional well-being
* Their consequences for society, from issues of human potential to stereotyping and intergroup relations
* The experiences that create them

This outstanding text is a must-read for researchers in social psychology, child development, and education, and is appropriate for both graduate and senior undergraduate students in these areas.

Frequently Bought Together

Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology) + Mindset: The New Psychology of Success + Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools
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Editorial Reviews


Based on extensive research with children and young adults, this book examines adaptive and maladaptive cognitive-motivational patterns and shows how these patterns originate in people's self theories; their consequences for one's achievment, social relationships, and emotional well-being; thier consequences for society; and the experiences that create these cognitive-motivational patterns. -- Resources in Education
What we have here is no ordinary scholarly psychology volume. Ever so rarely, we are offered a psychology book that is so beautifully written, lucidly organized, and elegant in its description of ideas... I see many uses for this wonderful volume. Instead of having to put together a rather large stack of reprints to introduce students to her groundbreaking work, I now can refer them to something far better -- the author's view of how her work has developed over the years. -- Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology
[This book] describes pathbreaking research in a style that is accessible to many audiences. It calls into question some of the most widely-held beliefs . . . about effective practices for maximizing children's self-confidence and learning. -- Deborah Stipek, UCLA
The book is central to basic issues in social, personality, and developmental psychology. Indeed, it is like a guided tour through the scenic terrain of Carol's fascinating program of research. The writing is lively and engaging and the organization is unusually clear. The examples are well-chosen and intuitively compelling; they are easy to relate to our own lives and to the people that we know. -- Diane N. Ruble, New York University
[This book] is simply among the best book in psychology I've read during the past year or two. It's superb. . . I could hardly put [it] down. -- Robert J. Sternberg , Yale University
The book is central to basic issues in social, personality, and developmental psychology. Indeed, it is like a guided tour through the scenic terrain of Carol's fascinating program of research. The writing is lively and engaging and the organization is unusually clear. The examples are well-chosen and intuitively compelling; they are easy to relate to our own lives and to the people that we know. -- Diane N. Ruble, New York University
[T]his is an important book addressing fundamental problems of enduring interest. [W]e think Self-Theories should be read by anyone with a serious interest in children's motivation, academic achievement or social development. -- Human Development
This book does a great deal to undo the damage done by psychology books which have emphasised the importance of intelligence and of fixed stages which pupils and students cannot move out of, or work beyond... The contents of this delightful affirming book should be known to every teacher and every pupil, and most of all to every teacher trainer. -- David Turner, University of Glamorgan. -- Book Review

Product Details

  • Series: Essays in Social Psychology
  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Psychology Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841690244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841690247
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is widely regarded as one of the world's leading researchers in the fields of personality, social psychology, and developmental psychology. She has been the William B. Ransford Professor of Psychology at Columbia University and is now the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her scholarly book Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development was named Book of the Year by the World Education Fellowship. Her work has been featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and she has appeared on Today and 20/20. She lives with her husband in Palo Alto, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
This is a fascinating book. And while I'm just a mom with no particular background in psychological research, I found I had no difficulty either understanding the procedures of the research, or finding `everyday' applications for the profound information that Carol Dweck and associates provide.

In fact I wish I had read this book earlier because it has a great deal to teach about how children devise concepts of themselves (self image) and how we might avoid the pitfalls of rearing a child who `gives up' too easily.

Five Stars. Very interesting. The other reviewers are right. This is a fast paced, good read that explains Carol Dweck's research into personality, motivation and development. As a mom of a 3 and 5 year old, I wish that I had come across this book earlier.

As Amazon's `Search inside this book' feature only lists page one of the Table of Contents, I've typed out the second page for your info.

Chapter 14 -- How Does It All Begin? Young Children's Theories About Goodness and Badness

Chapter 15 -- Kinds Of Praise And Criticism: The Origins Of Vulnerability

Chapter 16 -- Praising Intelligence: More Praise That Backfires

Chapter 17 -- Misconceptions About Self-Esteem and About How To Foster It

Chapter 18 -- Personality, Motivation, Development, and The Self: Theoretical Reflections

Chapter 19 -- Final Thoughts On Controversial Issues


Appendix: Measures Of Implicit Theories, Confidence, and Goals

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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Carol Dweck's SELF-THEORIES is a work in the tradition of cognitive psychology. It is the academic counterpart to MINDSETS -- a later work intended for a more general readership, in which she applies her conceptual innovations to a broader range of domains: business, interpersonal relationships, etc. I've read both. In Self-Theories Dweck's target are academic or educational contexts in which she argues that the difference in academic performance can plausibly be explained by distinguishing between two conceptions of ability, the entity theory and the incremental theory. According to the **entity theory**, the abilities you possess are of a fixed quantity (for all time) and therefore unalterable; which is to say your abilities cannot really be altered or changed; they are not really responsive to EFFORT. On the **incremental view**, abilities you possess are not FIXED and ARE RESPONSIVE TO EFFORT over time.

Dweck's book yields genuine insights which are psychologically-actionable. One huge payoff, which Dweck points out frequently, is that in voluntarily adopting an incremental view of ability, you put yourself in a position to be FAR less vulnerable to self-blame, helplessness patterns, and self-despair in the event of failure, which can futher undermine your ability to execute your abilities. People of a more perfectionistic turn of mind have MUCH to gain by adopting a incremental spin on ability for the reasons just mentioned. "An ability is only as good as its execution."--Bandura.

Dwecke's an exceptionally lucid writer, and even her more academic work, "Self-Theories" is not written in academese but in language so clear and informal, you almost begin to wonder whether this is a professor in psychology at Columbia University. She's that good, at least I think so.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary title, great book! August 13, 2000
By A Customer
I was intimidated by the title of this book, and was afraid it was going to be highly academic. However, the book is completely accessible and fascinating. Dr. Dweck describes her remarkable studies on motivation and achievement, and shows that a fixed view of intelligence (meaning: either you're born smart or you're not) sells us short. Her work has enormous implications for both childrearing and teaching. This book should be required reading for all parents and teachers.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 GIGA-Watt Light-Bulb September 29, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From my perspective, "Self-Theories," is incredible. Fascinating, absolutely fascinating! I guarantee that if you are not familiar with Dr Carol Dweck's work you will have the equivalent of an epiphany when you read this. It is hard to believe that these theories have escaped popular culture and remained hidden.

Carol Dweck would deny it, but she is a genius. The proof of her theories are borne out in these pages. The light-bulb part is that when you read them; it's a real "Ah-Ha!" moment. It is something that we see glimpses of in ourselves but precious few have truly understood. Things become clearer and clearer with each chapter.

The crux of it is that there are people, children and adults, which have an attitude of mastery or growth mindset. These people shrug off failures, mistakes and difficulty with subjects and work at incremental growth. They develop their abilities. The rest of us, have this belief in their abilities and an attitude that if you are gifted then things will come naturally. These people have a tendency to dislike effort, struggles and incremental growth because they see it as a weakness. For the growth mindset people they see the big picture and develop new strategies to overcome.

It is similar to the two different schools of economic theory; either you believe that economies are STATIC and there is only so much wealth to go around and so legislate to equalize wealth; or you believe economies are DYNAMIC and grow, therefore increasing wealth through successful strategies and encourage risk and experimentation. The static would be equivalent to ability or scarcity mindset and the dynamic would be equivalent to the mastery or growth mindset.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindset Kinda Sucked
This is better, not as pop-psychology oriented as Mindset. Her writing is incredibly clear, other studies are meticulously cited. Read more
Published 1 month ago by k black
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating research that provokes you to action
This book was an easy read (easier than my other textbooks) that I looked forward to in my graduate studies. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alana
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and perhaps useful
The information contained here is a more scholarly treatment than in her popular press book Mindset. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Danny B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
I wish I had known about this book years ago. Really helped to explain what I see in my college classrooms and helped me to know how better to couch my teaching. Amazing read!
Published 5 months ago by Stephanie Burns
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
Dweck is a knowledgeable person but lacks a good way of presenting her information. This book is hard to keep up with and presents to many ideas without fully explaining them.
Published 6 months ago by Elizabeth Grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Really important book
Carol Dweck's work speaks to me on several levels: I recognize myself, and I recognize a number of my students. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Scorpiette
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable book for teachers and parents
As other reviewers have noted, Self-Theories gives some good ideas about student motivation, the difference between learning and performance, and links between student achievement... Read more
Published on May 23, 2012 by C
4.0 out of 5 stars An essay format text for teachers today
Though I haven't yet finished reading this book, it was used as the basis of a professional develpment lecture in my school district. Read more
Published on October 5, 2009 by french1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for parents
Extremely insightful book about how we think and what we define as success. A must read for everyone.
Published on May 27, 2009 by Anuja Sharma
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