Summary of The Person You Mean to Be

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Person You Mean to Be book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Inspiring


Most people want to be good people. Yet often, being seen as a good person can become more important than actually being a good person. When this happens, your efforts to make a positive difference in the world can backfire. At a time when inclusion and diversity have become mainstream topics, social psychologist Dolly Chugh demonstrates how uncovering your hidden motives and adopting a growth mindset will help you to act as a builder, rather than just a believer, in the fight against discrimination and inequality.

About the Author

Dolly Chugh is an award-winning social psychologist and associate professor of management and organization at the Stern School of Business at New York University.



You need a growth mindset to thrive in situations that threaten your identity.

Research shows that the way you see yourself – your identity – directs your actions more than any particular set of values. Consequently, your brain considers any behavior that contradicts your sense of identity as a self-threat, and tries to find ways to dismiss, ignore or justify it. This is particularly true if you consider yourself to be a “good” person. To see yourself more clearly, think of yourself as someone who “is trying to be better” instead. This allows you to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, which opens you up to learning.

If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll perceive criticism, anger or push-back as a threat. Your brain will switch immediately into defensive mode and dismiss criticism: You don’t learn. In contrast, if you have a growth mindset, you are likely to embrace information that will help you understand the reasons that might have caused the criticism or anger. Notably, situations where psychological safety is low – where people feel they will face shame or punishment for expressing innovative...

More on this topic

Subtle Acts of Exclusion
The Fix
Black Fatigue
Expand Beyond Your Current Culture
How to Be an Inclusive Leader
Fair Leadership

Related Channels

Comment on this summary