What We’re Reading
Over the past year, a handful of UF MBA students took part in a seminar on understanding the minds of others—and gaining insight into their own thinking. Students identified three titles that helped them make better decisions, from choosing future corporate mentors to identifying and correcting their own flawed assumptions.
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset
Development psychologist Dweck identifies two starkly different types of mindsets: fixed and growth. Holders of fixed mindsets, Dweck discovered, are risk averse and believe skill is something you possess, not something you acquire through practice. In contrast, growth mindsets embrace challenges and view failure and mistakes as inevitable outcomes on the path to acquiring skill. Intriguingly, one can have a fixed mindset in the workplace and still have an emotional growth mindset—or have a growth mindset in the workplace and a fixed mindset in handling relationships.
Nicolas Epley, Mindwise
The title Mindwise is ironic, since Epley's book mainly focuses on the range of errors in our judgments of both ourselves and of others about everything from compassion to attractiveness. Even our sense of knowing our own minds, Epley argues, is an illusion. But Mindwise is no mere foray into our myriad of errors in thinking about ourselves and others. Instead, Epley provides a series of in-built mechanisms that can help us understand how others think, from identifying emotions through others' body language to eliciting others' perspectives.
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness
Gilbert, a Harvard professor studying positive emotions, proposes that habituation inevitably makes happiness fleeting. The more you experience the things you enjoy, the less intensively you enjoy them. Also, Gilbert, argues, our present selves are poor predictors of our futures selves because we fail to take into account how experience changes us. As a guide to understanding how we make decisions, Stumbling on Happiness can be invaluable. For example, we find regrets harder to live with than mistakes because, while we can recall our mistakes concretely, we inevitably picture the roads not taken as more attractive than they might actually have been.