The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Pink, Daniel H.

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Pink argues that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Publisher: New York, NY : Riverhead Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781594488849
Branch Call Number: 153.1534 P
Characteristics: xii, 242 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 07, 2012

There is a great little animation done to his TED speech on youtube called RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Oct 09, 2011
  • adoranti rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A must read for employers and administators.

Jun 21, 2011
  • ksoles rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. According to Daniel Pink, these factors make up "Motivation 3.0," the force that keeps us focused on tasks and fulfilled by their completion. "Drive" asserts that humans perform according to a hierarchy of "operating systems," from meeting basic needs (eating & reproducing) to seeking reward and avoiding punishment to achieving personal satisfaction. He also differentiates between Type I workers, who are intrinsically motivated, and Type X workers, who are extrinsically motivated. These two sets of people need customized treatment from their superiors to be optimally productive.

In Malcolm Gladwell-esque style, Daniel Pink has taken an important but poorly understood topic, outlined interesting research performed by others on the topic, and presented conclusions in an engaging summary. "Drive" represents a solid introduction to a universal subject and is certainly supported by scholarship despite its oversimplifications. Pink's theories neglect to deal adequately with either the least popular jobs or the workers who don't feel enticed by autonomy, mastery and purpose but, despite limited application to the real world, Pink's conclusions provide valuable insight for anyone trying to create a more productive working environment.

Sep 16, 2010
  • iLibrarian rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Some might say that a mule will only move forward on the dusty path when you whack him with a stick. Now, if you don't believe in the threatening stick, you can dangle a big juicy carrot out in front of your mule and you should get the results you're hoping for.

Carrots and sticks always work, don't they? Isn't this the natural assumption we've adopted? What if this assumption was wrong?

According to Daniel Pink it is wrong. In his new book, DRiVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink wants to help you discover what truly motivates people and why rewards don't always work in the 21st century.

He's passionate about the "mismatch of what science knows and what business does". He points out "that business leaders are making decisions and creating policies about talent and people that are based on assumptions that are outdated, unexamined, and based on rudimentary folklore instead of science"

In many cases the carrot and stick methods don't work. What's even more interesting is that, in many circumstances, everything gets worse when you dangle a big fat reward in front of the person or the team you hope to motivate.

Rewards narrow our mind and focus on the end result with determination. The rewards increase performance. Pink explains that this works well for work that is clearly defined with precisely known outcomes, but it fails if the work is more complex or creative. In today’s working world, the work is more conceptual. Conceptual work has no clear path to the end result and often the result is often undefined or unknown.

There is no single solution and any one particular solution may be obscure and far from obvious.
This is not a philosophy. It is not the author’s opinion. It is proven science. He points to evidence that, in many circumstances, larger rewards will actually have a negative effect on performance. He's very passionate in his belief that the business community is missing the facts on what motivates people. The old mentality that we assume holds true in all cases doesn't and he has proof. It has been studied in great detail, but somehow the results continue to go unnoticed. Pink advocates that "science confirms what we know in our hearts".

DRiVE is a look inside these scientifically proven concepts about how we think and what actually motivates us. Pink puts it into practical terms for business leaders, organizations, educators, and parents. It doesn't matter what role you happen to be in, you will find some practical examples in the toolkit section, which is organized so you can quickly skip to the segments that are most relevant to you.

It's worth your time to discover what actually motivates us. Read this book and you will soon recognize out dated methods of motivation. Carrots and sticks might work for a mule on a dusty path, but isn't it time we recognize that much of the work in the 21st century is conceptual making reward based compensation dangerous.

Jul 12, 2010
  • gpatterson rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Clearly written and thoughtful assessment of the what motivates people in all aspects of life, not just at work.

Mar 22, 2010
  • gshafer rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book on what motivates people. Would be of special interest to anyone who manages other people. The world has changed and the old motivational ways no longer work.


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