The learn-it-all does better than the know-it-all

Satya Nadella on growth mindsets: “If you take two kids at school, one of them has more innate capability but is a know-it-all. The other person has less innate capability but is a learn-it-all. The learn-it-all does better than the know-it-all.”

Satya Nadella has been an advocate of the growth mindset for a while, often referencing the work of Carol Dweck and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Dweck has long been writing about what a growth mindset is and how individuals and companies can benefit. In her terminology, a “fixed mindset” applies to those who view talent as a given quality, something they either have or lack, whereas a “growth mindset” refers to those who enjoy challenges, seek to learn, and always see potential to develop new skills. She even wrote about the work Nadella was doing at Microsoft[2] a year before Hit Refresh was published.


The fact is that we all want to know everything and become experts in our field, this is probably why we learn, practice and master a topic or skill. But it is almost impossible to know everything, especially these days when knowledge is expanding so rapidly.

We cannot know everything as a practical matter, so we must instead dedicate ourselves to being lifelong learners.



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