Success from what doesn’t come “naturally”
: Columnist Janet Rae Dupree (pictured),writes the  “Unboxed” column in the Los Angeles Times business section,. She highlights the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who has spent 25 years examining the differences between people who believe they already have all the talents they’ll ever have, and those who think they can add skills as they go on:

“Society is obsessed with the idea of talent and genius and people who are ‘naturals’ with innate ability,” says Ms. Dweck, who is known for research that crosses the boundaries of personal, social and developmental psychology.

“People who believe in the power of talent tend not to fulfill their potential because they’re so concerned with looking smart and not making mistakes. But people who believe that talent can be developed are the ones who really push, stretch, confront their own mistakes and learn from them….”

In her 2006 book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” she shows how adopting either a fixed or growth attitude toward talent can profoundly affect all aspects of a person’s life, from parenting and romantic relationships to success at school and on the job.

She attributes the success of several high-profile chief executives to their growth mind-set, citing an ability to energize a work force. These include John F. Welch Jr. of General Electric, who valued teamwork over individual genius; Louis V. Gerstner Jr. of I.B.M., who dedicated his book about I.B.M.’s turnaround to “the thousands of I.B.M.’ers who never gave up on their company”; and Anne M. Mulcahy of Xerox, who focused on morale and development of her people even as she implemented painful cuts.

But Ms. Dweck does not suggest that recruiters ignore innate talent. Instead, she suggests looking for both talent and a growth mind-set in prospective hires — people with a passion for learning who thrive on challenge and change.

After reading her book, Scott Forstall, senior vice president of Apple in charge of iPhone software, contacted Ms. Dweck to talk about his experience putting together the iPhone development team. Mr. Forstall told her that he identified a number of superstars within various departments at Apple and asked them in for a chat.

Given the weekend’s iPhone craziness, Mr. Forstall might want to reach out to his more veteran “superstars,” whose mindsets tend to include a healthy understanding of Murphy’s law.

12  ways of looking at Patti Smith:  Speaking of someone whose career has cycled far from her original inklings, the 61-year-old poet, artist and rock-and-roll singer has had more lives than many cats. which must have made this week’s “Questions For” column in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine challenging to write. How do you craft 12 questions and answers to offer a glimpse of someone whose body of work, career, and politics literally contain multitudes, as explained in the new documentary about her?   However, Newsmix does find parts of the result just  a touch mystifying.

It starts promisingly enough as Smith gets to put aside the title of “godmother of punk” and says when calls her  music her most original achievement: “ I’m not an evolved musician. I’m an intuitive musician. I have no real technical skills. I can only play six chords on the guitar.” But then, it appeared that questioner Deborah Solomon had  talking to a woman who doesn’t wear makeup or salon-smooth her hair, since she swerves from talking about Smith’s life to spend 3 of her 12 questions on ‘beauty’ issues:

You seem to cultivate a kind of wild-child mystique, even in your appearance. For instance, why don’t you use hair conditioner? I do use conditioner!

I’m surprised. You’re the queen of split ends. That’s very funny because I’ve just cut about eight inches off my hair because it was just too ratty-looking.

Seriously, are you trying to cultivate any sort of image, androgynous or otherwise? I’m disinterested. I’ve always looked the same. Since I was a child, I hated having to deal with my hair. I hated having to change my clothes. As a kid, I had a sailor shirt and the same old corduroy pants, and that’s what I wanted to wear everyday.

Smith, who’s right about looking the same {we suspect an aging painting somewhere in the East Village) then finally gets to answer more interesting questions, such as her mid-career retirement and her upcoming memoir “Just Kids,” about her life with the late artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Newsmix can’t possibly second-guess the Times’ editorial judgments. but can only wonder why such a brief interview with a major artist of the 20th and 21st centuries spends nearly a quarter of its space on her looks. (P.S. Our response had some company; Gawker was similarly struck, and says so with the usual snark.)

The link above to the new film has lots of great clips, but Newsmix couldn’t resist anyway. Below is Smith in 2006, from the very last song ever played at the now-extinct club CBGB’s:

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