The idea of a fixed mindset, in which people are smart or not smart, stands in contrast to a growth mindset, in which people become intelligent and knowledgeable through practice.

In her 2006 book The New Psychology of Success, psychologist Carol Dweck described the two: People with growth mindsets believe that the harder they work, the smarter they get.

The group most damaged by fixed-mindset thinking is high-achieving girls, Boaler argues, because it’s girls who are told by society that they probably won’t be as good as boys at math and science.

Speaking of percentages, math is a good example of the importance of avoiding the fixed mindset.

The idea of a “Math person” or a math gene is a primary reason for so much math nihilism, math failure, and “Math trauma,” as Boaler called it on Monday.

When kids get the idea that they “Aren’t math people,” they start a downward trajectory, and their career options shrink immediately and substantially.

There is also the common idea of a wall in math: People learn math until they hit a wall where they just can’t keep up.

In no other discipline but math are people so given to thinking, instead of I need to practice, just Well, I’m not good.

## Summary of “Don’t Call Kids ‘Smart'”

“You can tell kids that they’ve done something fantastic, but don’t label them as smart.”

The idea of a fixed mindset, in which people are smart or not smart, stands in contrast to a growth mindset, in which people become intelligent and knowledgeable through practice.

The subtleties of the ways in which we praise kids are related to the mindsets those kids develop.

The group most damaged by fixed-mindset thinking is high-achieving girls, Boaler argues, because it’s girls who are told by society that they probably won’t be as good as boys at math and science.

Speaking of percentages, math is a good example of the importance of avoiding the fixed mindset.

The idea of a “Math person” or a math gene is a primary reason for so much math nihilism, math failure, and “Math trauma,” as Boaler called it on Monday.

When kids get the idea that they “Aren’t math people,” they start a downward trajectory, and their career options shrink immediately and substantially.

There is also the common idea of a wall in math: People learn math until they hit a wall where they just can’t keep up.