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354 of 415 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as important as "A Whole New Mind"
Daniel Pink's new book follows well in the tradition of "A Whole New Mind," as he picks up on a new trend and explains it well. This time it's the apparent paradox of motivation - why do some people like Google pay their staff to regularly work on projects of their own choosing when they could be working hard on what they were hired to do?

Pink shows that there...
Published on November 28, 2009 by David Field

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3,752 of 3,933 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Biased and selective presentation of important ideas
Before plunking down your credit card for a copy of Drive, by Dan Pink, consider making do with just his TED talk. The talk contains the substance of this book without the excess padding.

The book has about 250 pages. One hundred fifty or so of those are for the basic content. It includes the Introduction and Parts I and II (chapters one through six)...
Published on January 24, 2010 by Walter H. Bock


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3,752 of 3,933 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Biased and selective presentation of important ideas, January 24, 2010
Before plunking down your credit card for a copy of Drive, by Dan Pink, consider making do with just his TED talk. The talk contains the substance of this book without the excess padding.

The book has about 250 pages. One hundred fifty or so of those are for the basic content. It includes the Introduction and Parts I and II (chapters one through six).

The other hundred pages are a "Toolkit." This includes some material that didn't seem to fit anywhere else, a glossary, a recap of Drive, twenty conversation starters (useful at cocktail parties), a reading list, and a fitness plan. That's forty percent of the book. And none of it helps you put what you've read to work.

The core points of the book are covered in the TED talk. You can listen to it in about fifteen minutes or read it in about ten. You won't get the fitness plan or the conversation starters. You will get the essence of Pink's message.

If you're a boss or concerned about leadership, you need to become familiar with that message. The ideas are important. Pink's rendering of them, for good or ill, will define and influence the discussion of motivation in business for quite a while.

He does get the big picture right. He says that people would prefer activities where they can pursue three things.

Autonomy: People want to have control over their work.

Mastery: People want to get better at what they do.

Purpose: People want to be part of something that is bigger than they are.

This matches research that I've done with class members for over twenty-five years. They discuss a time when "it was great to come to work" and then create a description of what those times are like. The descriptions vary slightly in wording but always include the following.

Productivity.
Community.
Interesting and meaningful work.
Clear and reasonable expectations.
Frequent and usable feedback.
Consistency.
Fairness.
Maximum control possible over work life.

I'm describing the kinds of workplaces where intrinsic motivation happens. Pink is describing three things that provide that kind of motivation. In most highly effective workplaces, it's the boss that is the most important force creating an environment when intrinsic motivation can happen.

Top management sets the basic compensation and benefits structure. If that isn't perceived as fair and consistent, natural intrinsic motivation won't kick in.

It's your individual supervisor who has the biggest effect on your daily working environment. That's why there are pockets of excellence in otherwise horrid companies and why even the best companies have workers who are unhappy and teams that are unproductive.

This book won't give you the connection from concept to workplace. But Pink does deliver many key ideas that matter.

Key Idea: There is a difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.

Key Idea: Intrinsic motivators are more powerful.

Key Idea: If you use monetary rewards to get people to perform the way you want, those rewards may have the opposite effect.

These are important things for a boss to know, but if you only have Drive to guide you, you will get some things very wrong.

The examples that are used are heavily weighted toward academic and consulting studies. It's not apparent that Pink talked to a single worker or frontline supervisor. The book would have been more helpful if he had.

There are some pre-requisites to having intrinsic motivation kick in. Pink mentions in passing that there needs to be fair compensation in place. That's true, but it's not an "oh-by-the-way" point. It's Maslow's Hierarchy in work clothes.

Throughout the book, Pink equates "monetary" incentives with "extrinsic motivation." That ignores praise, promotion, preferment (in scheduling, eg), the admiration of peers, time off, and a host of other positive incentives. It also skews the discussion toward academic studies and away from the real workplace.

Pink also presents the issue as if it were intrinsic motivators (good) versus extrinsic motivators (not good). In the TED talk he even says "This is the titanic battle between these two approaches."

That's not how things work in the real world. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and their effects interact. You don't have a simple choice of which lever to pull. You have to understand and influence a complex system.

Those shortcomings are important. They derive from one of the most important things to understand if you've going to study this material critically and turn it to good use.

Pink has written this book like a political speech. He writes to make a point, not to present a balanced argument.

Like a good speech writer, Pink uses language that implies value judgments. He uses terms like "humanistic psychology" for things he agrees with. When he doesn't agree he uses terms like "rat-like seeking."

Like a good speech writer, Pink makes sweeping statements without providing support for them. "Sometimes" and "a surprisingly large proportion of the time" are used with no indication of what they actually mean. He says that sales quotas "can be effective," but doesn't tell you when or how often.

Like a good speech writer, Pink leaves out things that don't support his simplified message. There's no mention of studies that support the use of rewards in business settings.

Like a good speech writer, Pink boils his facts down to only the ones that support his argument. If all you read was Drive, you would think that the work of Deci and Ryan is about the superiority of intrinsic motivators to extrinsic in all situations.

But their work is more complex than Pink describes it. It includes analysis of effective extrinsic motivators as well as extrinsic motivators that are counter-productive.

Like a good speech writer, pink, picks up studies from one sphere and applies them elsewhere without telling you what he's doing. Deci and Ryan have done admirable and important work, but it's on motivation in personal development, not in the workplace.

Like a good speech writer, Pink ignores contradictions. He describes a horrid, slave ship workplace ruled by carrots and sticks. Later he mentions that most "flow" experiences happen at work.

Pink tells us about "20 percent" time for creativity at Google and Atlassian. But he doesn't discuss why they only offer their intrinsic reward of creativity to engineers and not the other workers in the company.

Like a good speech writer, Pink sets up the straw man of "Motivation 2.0" so that he's easy to knock down. And, inconvenient truths are sometimes mentioned in passing and then never heard from again.

The Bottom Line

You should learn what's in this book because, for better or worse, it is influencing the conversation about what makes a great workplace. But because of the presentation and selective use of facts, you can't rely on this book alone to help you do a better job as a boss.
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354 of 415 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as important as "A Whole New Mind", November 28, 2009
By 
David Field (Groveland, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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Daniel Pink's new book follows well in the tradition of "A Whole New Mind," as he picks up on a new trend and explains it well. This time it's the apparent paradox of motivation - why do some people like Google pay their staff to regularly work on projects of their own choosing when they could be working hard on what they were hired to do?

Pink shows that there has always been monetary motivation, but that has lost its attractiveness as we've moved from the "top-down" management system to the more heuristic style (workers being free to decide how to do their jobs). He points out that repetitive jobs lend themselves more to traditional rewards, whereas money doesn't seem to motivate innovation.

I used to work for a major corporation (which we'll call "EMC," because that is their name). Pretty much everyone I met had responsibility for something, to the degree that supervisors were enablers - you went to them and told them what to do. Supervisors could (and sometimes did) give you reasons why not, but they weren't about to come into your cubicle and micromanage you. And the wider your responsibility, the harder you worked.

This system was totally unlike anything I'd come across before. Most businesses would act as though their employees couldn't be trusted. And although I was looking behind me nervously, I shone in this environment, and now I realized that's what they wanted from me.

Pink mentions Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (if that's new to you, look it up on Wikipedia), and I think he is right that now that there's a relatively well-paid group of workers, they can ask for something more than basic salary. As Pink puts it, we need to feel that the work we do is worthwhile, and thus we move to the top of Maslow's pyramid and realize esteem and self-actualization.

Hopefully you will have recognized some of the tenets of your organization. However, I think it's unlikely that all Pink's principles will have been adopted, so get this book now. It gives you a great deal to think about, and in the last section, Pink quotes people that have influenced his thinking.

Whether you run a company or see yourself as "just an employee," you need to read this. It shows pretty much everything to know about what will drive you or your staff to much better performance. It involves more than having an employee of the week, and you may find that if you work in a place that doesn't use these principles you may have to change jobs. But it will be worth it.
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164 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Winner, November 30, 2009
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Daniel Pink has written a highly interesting and very informative book on the truth about what motivates us.

He uses a very interesting analogy - comparing motivation to different generations of operating software. Motivation 1.0 the basic operating system for the first few thousand years was based on the primary needs of the human - food, shelter, clothing and reproduction. Eventually we moved to Motivation 2.0 - basically the carrot and the stick - reward and punishment worked fairly well for a time.

But according to Pink and other scientists, reward and punishment no longer work in most situations. We need to move to Motivation 3.0.

Pink goes into great detain about why the carrot and stick motivation does not work. "The traditional `If then' rewards can give us less of what we want. They extinguish intrinsic motivation, diminish performance, crush creativity and crowd out good behavior. The can encourage unethical behavior, create addictions and foster short-term thinking. These are the bugs in our current operating system."

The "if then" reward/punishment system does work under very limited conditions. Pink explores these.

He then introduces the I Type and X Type behavior - named for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Type I behavior concerns itself less with external rewards and more with doing things for the joy of doing them.

There are three elements to the I Type behavior: Autonomy - we all long to be autonomous - to have control over our lives and destiny. To the extent that we don't have autonomy we feel something missing. The second element is Mastery. We need to learn to master the tasks we are undertaking. The third element is Purpose. We need to "buy in" to why we are doing things. There needs to be a reason.

The final section of the book is a Toolkit section where there are strategies for individuals, companies, tips on compensation, suggestions for education and suggested reading.

This is highly entertaining and thought provoking. At some time we all face the challenge of trying to motivate others. For the most part we have relied on the reward/punishment approach. You will learn why this does not work and a better approach to motivation no matter who you are working with.

The book is well written and there are many references to back up the claims made. I highly recommend this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gladwell-esque, Which is Generally a Good Thing. Plus: Drive meets the Army., February 28, 2010
Daniel Pink's Drive is a great example of a type of book popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. These books generally set out to do the following: take a topic that is important but poorly understood by a large section of the public, summarize a diverse collection of research performed by others on the topic, and present the findings in a concise, readable summary.

While highly popular, such books come in for criticism, much of which, I think, misses the point. A book like Drive is not scholarship, but scholarship does inform it. It is a simplification of a complex topic, but then a book on a topic like "why people do what they do" _must_ be simplified if one expects to be able to lift it without a forklift. In my opinion, Pink's book is a very good introduction to a topic that touches on so many aspects of contemporary work and leisure. It's not the last word on the subject, but it is a good first word.

As many others have described the contents, the simplified thesis of the research presented in Drive is that humans do things according to a hierarchy of motivational "operating systems".

Motivation 1.0 - eat and reproduce or die.
Motivation 2.0 - Carrot and sticks.
Motivation 3.0 - Do things because they enhance one's autonomy, enable mastery of a valued skill, and contribute to a higher purpose.

I read this with interest because my current employer, the U.S Army, is all too often an example of a Motivation 2.0 workplace. The Army is in the midst of a self-examination of why it chronically fails to retain many of its most talented personnel. Viewed through Pink's lens, most of the strategies the Army has traditionally employed to attract and retain talent center on Motivation 2.0: retention bonuses for signing up (carrots) and bad evaluations and non-promotion for under-performance (sticks). When Soldiers are surveyed, the only Motivation 3.0 factor that they consistently site as a positive is the sense of higher purpose found in serving the country. Common complaints are a lack of ability to exert any control over the direction of a career or a chance to specialize in a particular aspect of it (no autonomy or mastery, in Pink's formulation). Up to this point, Drive does an excellent job of describing a problem in my "place of business", and I think that the lessons on how to create a more "3.0" workplace can be beneficially applied in both my small unit and the Army at large (if anyone will listen).

That said, motivation is an incredibly complex topic, and it would be foolish to think a single book would cover all contingencies. This theory of motivation is less adequate in how to deal with common problems like a) jobs nobody wants to do, b) assignments to locations where volunteers alone are not enough, and c) the true goldbricker, who is not enticed by autonomy, mastery, or higher purpose. Here is where critics of Drive have a point. While a simplified version of motivational science is to be expected, Pink is perhaps too quick to dismiss the problems of applying the tenets of Drive to the real world.

So overall, an engaging book that will introduce readers to an important topic. Worth the time.

4 stars.
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80 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great New Idea But Lacks Substance, December 13, 2009
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This is the first I have read of Daniel Pink, and from what others have said, Drive may not represent his best work.
While I was very interested in his theories about what truly motivates us, I found the book to be rather short. Well, the book is thick, but the substance is rather short. I do agree with him that there are plenty of instances where a new management theory is needed that would allow people to perform their best work, but he did not provide many real life examples of it actually working. Sure, there are a few examples given and they were successful, but I would have liked to have seen case studies on a dozen or so companies or organizations that have turned to this type or management style. Drive was interesting, and I think it holds some great truths, but I just think it could have included more in depth information and less fluff. The first half of the book is great, but the second half will leave you wondering if he ran out of time.

If you are interested in learning about motivation or management styles, Drive will point you in the right direction but won't necessarily fill in all the blanks.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you hate your job, this book will help you understand why, January 2, 2010
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I read 39 books in 2009, just "a few" shy of my goal of 50. Thanks to a little nudge from some friends I've set my 2010 sights just a little bit higher: a book a week, for a total of 52. I got the list off to a good start this weekend when I finished this latest from Dan Pink. Interestingly, one of the first books I read in 2009 was also one of his, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

In that previous book, as the title suggests, Pink describes the type of workers that will emerge - actually are emerging - to solve the complex business and social problems now facing us. Taking that as a starting point in Drive, Pink provides some guidance on what will be necessary to "manage" these new types of worker by exploring the what motivates these workers to perform. Or, as the title put its, what drives them.

Part One of the book explores the evolution of the motivation "operating systems" at play throughout human history and how the science of motivation is leading us to version 3.0 of that Motivation OS. Or, at least, how it should be leading us to this new version. I found it fascinating that much of what Pink describes in the book is not new at all, but has been known for several decades. Known and ignored. Known and actively buried buy those who just couldn't believe it or didn't want to accept what it meant for them and their positions of control within organizations. Fascinating reading.

At the end of Part One, Pink delves into the differences between workers who are intrinsically (Type I) and extrinsically (Type X) motivated, and leads right into Part Two, which explores the three elements that make up Type I behavior: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The chapters for each of these elements includes some insight into each, along with practical examples of what they mean.

Part Three is the "Type I Toolkit", which includes suggestions, reading lists, and other tools for individuals and organizations to help them become more Type I. As Pink says, Type I's are made, not born, and this toolkit can help you remake yourself, or your organization, as a Type I.

Perhaps the most damning statement about the current state of affairs, at least in my mind, comes in the sentence: "Unfortunately...the modern workplace's most notable feature may be its lack of engagement and its disregard for mastery." Longtime readers of my blogs know that mastery is a concept I've long thought and written about. Pink's chapter on mastery in the context of work pulls together many ideas that I've struggled with over the years. This chapter alone was worth the price of the book.

All the rest is an excellent bonus.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Powerful, December 2, 2009
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In A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink argued that America's need for left-brain (logical, linear) skills has largely been replaced by automation (software) -- just as physical skills were replaced by machinery in the industrial revolution -- and he described what right-brain (creative, empathic) thinking adds that makes it critical to today's business success. Now in DRIVE, Pink tackles how to motivate these creative workers (hint: think intrinsic empowerment, not extrinsic rewards and punishments).

His first 130+ pages rate 5 stars; they're filled with highlighter-worthy content that's developed logically and presented simply. They're followed by a 70-page "toolkit" for applying the principles which, while helpful and interesting, is laid out with huge fonts and lots of white space and feels frankly padded and dumbed-down.

DRIVE is recommended reading for anyone involved in motivating people in the workplace, school, or home ... though I wonder if Pink's message might have reached even more readers if it had been published as the short, succinct book it really is.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How this book can help teachers, March 19, 2010
I can still remember when my dad came back from our dog's first training class. He was thrilled. We had been wondering how to get our German Shepherd, who didn't understand English, to sit. He had finally learned her language: thimble-sized chunks of hotdog. Turns out, dogs will do anything for a wiener, just like they'll stop doing most things at the sound of our raised voices. My dad could now motivate a dog. What he said next struck me as a little funny, "If only I had taken this class when you boys were younger, I would have been a much better parent." It was then that he realized the power of carrots and sticks.

Now that I work with kids on a daily basis, I use an arsenal of carrots and sticks. Carlos keeps aiming balled up handouts at Jennifer's head: that's a demerit. Jared only does his homework half of the time: he can go on spring trip if he turns starts turning it in. Carrots and sticks have been schools' primary tools for motivation since the start of public education. And they've worked well enough that we never really question them. Then comes this guy, Daniel H. Pink, and his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. It turns out that we should start questioning.

Drive is not about schools. It mostly speaks to the business world, but its insights have direct implications for us in the business of educating kids. Pink explains that just because carrots and sticks have been the motivational method of choice since the stone age, doesn't mean it's the best. He explains that our tendency to seek rewards and avoid punishment is pretty primitive and that a deeper drive exists. This drive, Pink calls Motivation 3.0, is the intrinsic motivation to do a job well.

Take for example my high school English teacher, Mrs. Moen. She came to school early and left late every day. She called parents, graded mountains of papers, and constantly innovated her curriculum, even after twenty-five years in the classroom. Why did she do this? There were no pay-for-performance incentives. She rarely even received a "thank-you." According to the carrots and sticks idea, Pink says, this doesn't make sense.

It turns out that she was driven by an internal fire Pink calls Motivation 3.0. This means that, more than rewards and punishments, people are motivated simply by working hard at a job they love. In order to tap into Motivation 3.0, people need three things: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Pink shows us dozens of examples where companies and leaders use these three motivators to garner amazing results. One such example is Google, where engineers get what's called 20% time. They get one day per week to work on whatever project they want. It is during this time that they've developed some of Google's most important programs, including Gmail and Google News. Pink cites that not only are people more motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose, but that they produce better results.

This doesn't mean that carrots and sticks never work, just that we need to question whether or not there's a better way. YES Prep already embraces the idea of Motivation 3.0 on a large scale, giving faculty quite a bit of autonomy as to how they run their schools, programs, and classrooms. But is it enough? What if we gave teachers and students more autonomy as to what projects and skills they worked on? What if we gave our students a deeper sense of purpose by connecting their learning with the real world? I don't have the answers, but read this book and you'll start asking more questions.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A 1000 word book that fills 225 pages, July 25, 2010
I was really looking forward to this book after watching Dan's TED talk. But as some other reviewers have pointed out, he adds little substance in the book beyond that speech.

The book is layers and layers of fluff over one interesting observation about intrinsic motivation. Dan builds this mountain of nonsense by comparing motivational strategies to computer operating systems, and labeling them 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. I found this silly, and it also made me feel like I was reading a Fortune Magazine article from 1996, where some editor had just discovered the Internet and was in awe of the social implications. The ideas about "results oriented work environments" and "20% time" were also well-known in the 90s, and presenting them in a 2009 book made it feel even more dated.

I was also surprised at how little data is presented in the book. Dan references the same behavioral psych experiments over and over again. This book was so repetitive, I was ready to throw it out the window if he said "carrots and sticks" one more time.

Somewhere around page 135, Dan must have realized that he was not fulfilling his contract to write a 200+ page book, and he starts doing quick summaries of ideas from better books, like Carol Dweck's "Mindset", Mikhaly's "Flow", and Colvin's "Talent is Overrated". He then ends the book with a 65 page "toolkit" that summarizes the work of many other books, and takes the most obvious, trite recommendations out of those books.

I've read a lot of books on motivation and business, but have never seen an author try to stretch out a topic like this. If you're interested in intrinsic motivation, read "Flow" or "Mindset", or watch Dan's speech at blog.ted.com. I also think the bigger lesson from this book isn't about intrinsic motivation, but that in an age where there's free content all over the web, non-fiction authors should really give their readers something in the book they can't get on the web. Malcolm Gladwell and the Freakonomics guys do a pretty good job of this. Dan doesn't.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Light Bulb" turns on in your brain, January 31, 2010
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J. B Kraft "lonestargazer" (Palestine, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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Okay, so that's the way it really works!

Every now and then, I come along a book that challenges enough lifelong assumptions I've held about myself and others to be "enlightening", and this is such a book.

The book is easy to read and accessible, and the research backing up the author's conclusions are also laid out to impact.

I spent the first hour reading this book sitting next to my wife, and about every 3-4 minutes, I'd blurt out "Did you know . . ." or "I never knew . . . " and then read her a passage. A day later, the book was gone from the end table next to the sofa, and my wife had absconded with it. If you are a professional or manager, you will see major implications into your own behavior and that of others. If you are just reading out of interest, you will learn a lot about yourself I haven't seen in another place.

The writing is worthy of the exciting revelations -- fresh and vigorous, making the book as enjoyable for me as it was informative.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink (Paperback - April 5, 2011)
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