The Art of Learning / Entity vs Learning Intelligence

One of my pet theories is that 95% of business books are just one good idea expanded into 300 pages. The book, The Art of Learning, is just the opposite. Josh Waitzman (the kid who was featured in Searching for Bobby Fischer) packs the book full of insight that I had to set it down every few pages.

One of Josh's points is talking about the two types of intellingence theories adopted by each of us:

  • Entity Intelligence people believe their intelligence comes innately. You'll hear them say things like, "I'm just not good at math" and they often just never try to improve at it.

  • Incremental Intelligence people believe that hard work is the source of their success. They'll say things like "I did well because I worked hard at it."

    Early on as a parent, I mistakenly thought encouraging my kids was delivering Entity feedback. I'd say, "You're smart. You got this!" That was just not right. Since then, I've tried to push my kids to understand the Incremental approach to intelligence. You gotta work hard and make some mistakes to get great at anything.

  • Michael Girdley