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Book Review: Little Bets, How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

Weekend is almost over. So let’s begin new week with new insight. Instead of sharing chemical engineering things which may be quite serious, in this post I want to share you a book I read. The title is Little Bets – How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims.

I just read second chapter of the book of ten chapters. So I am quite slow at reading. That is because content in second chapter is really amazing. I highlighted most of the chapter and I internalized the chapter. Problem I always face after reading good book is I forget the content or I don’t know how to behave better based on the book. So, here I write it so it will lessen my forgetfulness.

Title about second chapter is The Growth of Mind-SetI kept repeating word “growth”, “grow”, “growing” to myself and I visualized is as growing small tree. This chapter is really important for me.

About Little Bets

This book encourages us to be brave at taking risk by spending “little bets” that we can afford the risks. Instead of thinking of something big while there is an opportunity, this book said, “Take it! Don’t overthink. Learn from mistakes”.

Little bets
Little bets

The Growth of Mind-Set

This chapter encourages me to take action no matter what the results will be. Being imperfect is essential to success. But it does’t mean we try to fail, but we are encouraged to make important discoveries by being willing imperfect, especially at the initial stages of developing ideas.

I found this is very true when I was developing this blog. I don’t know what to write, then I just wrote what’s on my mind, any important conversations during the day. Then I developed the topic to be more advance and sharp.

This chapter mostly explained Dr. Carol Dweck‘ study about learning and failures. Her study demonstrated two general way of thinking about learning and failures. Those are fixed-mind set and growth mind-set.

Fixed mind-set vs growth mind-set
Fixed mind-set vs growth mind-set (

During reading this chapter, I kept wondering if I am the one with fixed mind-set or growth mind-set. I guessed I am in between.

I highlighted several keys to check which if you have fixed mind-set or growth mind-set.

When confronted with a task…

FMS: “Am I going to be good at it immediately?”

GMS: “Well, can I learn to do it?”

FMSs want to appear capable, even if that means not learning in the process. FMSs tend to gravitate to activities that confirm their abilities, whereas GMSs tend to seek activities that expand their abilities.

When faced with better people…

FMS will pose better people as threats. Whereas GMSs will see difficulties and better people as opportunities.

When they fail…

FMS will take failure more personally, even as being disgraced.

One of the most important insight about the growth mind-set is not about not caring about failure. But to think differently about failures and mistakes, seeing them as opportunities for learning and growth.

Something we must afraid and worried about is complacency – feeling like we have it all figured out. (I personally afraid if I have this complacency, especially about LNG project that I have been involved since a year ago. I am afraid I underestimated it and stop learning and growing).

Little Bets and Growth of Mind-set

Little bets can be a good approach to develop growth mind-set. Practicing little bets frees us from expectation that we should know everything before we begin. In little bets, we are encouraged to take failures as opportunities.

So, that’s all I want to share. In the future, I wish I can share completely about the other chapters or other books.

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