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Driven: How Human Nature Shapes our Choices Hardcover – October 15, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Harvard Business School professors Lawrence and Nohria here present a sociobiological theory of motivation, claiming that humans possess four basic drives to acquire, to bond, to learn, and to defend. What makes their theory novel is the way they apply it to the workplace. The authors use historical case studies to show that successful organizations are those that give their employees opportunities to fulfill all of these drives, while those that fulfill only the drive to acquire are ultimately less stable. Examples of both types of organizations are provided. The authors are well versed in sociobiology, and their four-drive theory makes intuitive sense. There are, however, a number of competing drive theories, from Freud's sexual drive and death urge to Steven Reiss's 16-drive theory. The authors acknowledge that the numbers and exact nature of our drives need further exploration and provide suggestions for research projects that would verify their hypotheses. Though this book is accessible to the lay reader or undergraduate, its narrow subject area recommends it mainly to academic libraries. Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"...an interesting book which explores and integrates findings from several disciplines and which contributes further to the field of evolutionary psychology in a readable manner..." (The Occupational Psychologist, April 2002)

Product Details

  • Series: J-B Warren Bennis Series (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1st edition (October 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787957852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787957858
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is evolutionary psychology as seen by two professors from the Harvard Business School (!). While some readers may be familiar with a lot of what is presented here, it is agreeable to get a perspective from another academic discipline and a new sense of application. It is especially pleasing because professors Lawrence and Nohria write well and have an appreciation of what an exciting time of biological discovery we are living in, a time when the convergence of knowledge and techniques from various disciplines is giving us the ability to look inside the black box of human nature previously closed.
The authors' use of the term "drives" to designate the source of behaviors is familiar, but the idea that these drives come from modules in the brain, or a network of modules, is what is relatively new. Whether this is just another construct like Freud's ego, id, and superego is an open question. However--and this is important and at the very essence of what is going on in brain science today--unlike Freud's construct, the one presented here is based on something tangible in the brain's structure. As the authors report, recent advances in technology allow us to discern the brain's structure as it works. These observations provide a scientific basis for constructs attempting to explain human behavior. Whether there are four fundamental drives, as messrs. Lawrence and Nohria think, or some other number, or whether an entirely different construct is required, is also an open question. Personally, I find their array persuasive, and I think the idea of "drives" a valuable one. More important though is their understanding that we are motivated by more than rational self-interest, the so-called "invisible hand" from Adam Smith and the market place.
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Format: Hardcover
Leave it to two Harvard business professors - Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria - to break every rule of conventional academic etiquette. Their transgression? Applying their knowledge of companies and individuals to present a unified explanation of human behavior, thereby encroaching on the academic fiefdoms of evolutionary biology, psychology and anthropology, just to name a few. They use the four basic human drives that influence behavior to offer deep insights into corporate and individual actions. We [...] strongly recommend this ambitious, far-ranging book to management students, executives searching for understanding and for anyone who delights in tweaking the collective nose of academia.
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By A Customer on October 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This has been one of the few books I have read lately that really makes me think about what makes me tick but also the larger issues that guide us all -- not only in how we work but what we value in life. The chapters on the four drives are some of the most interesting I have ever read -- though it feels like this topic is just really beginning to be explored. This book will stay on my shelf to be picked up and reread. Very thoughtful.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is right, or at least on the right track. In contrast to many models of human behavior (economic = self-maximizing, etc) that aren't credible because they don't explain much of what we human beings are really like, this book presents a more complex model that, in my opinion, rings true. Even better, the authors don't try to claim perfection, instead being happy with being useful. In the best scientific traditions, the conclusions of this book are stated in such a way that it is clear what they know, what they think and what they hope. The authors are also unafraid of criticism (good science), confident that their thoughts are valid but quick to point out areas that need more research and in several cases, describing realistic experiments that could be conducted. Finally, this book is not limited to theoretical exploration but also describes specific do's and don'ts about leading groups of real people that can now be better undersood because of the better understanding of why people are the way they are.
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Format: Hardcover
At first glance this book seems to be leaning too much toward the scientific/academic side. I was actually dreading to read the book, however the authors have done a magnificant job of livening up each academic part with real world case studies. The main theme of this text is how we base our decision making on four psychological drives that every person is born with regardless of religion, race or other factors:
1.) The Drive to Acquire (D1) - We all have it, it is normal but some have too much of it. Those who have an overdose of D1 tend to teeter on the edge of self-destruction and those around them.
2.) The Drive to Bond (D2) - Everybody likes to feel wanted and belong to some type of organisation (family, cultural, religion, hobby, etc., When a person engages in decicion making, they will usually decided positive for the person who has something in common with them.
3.) The Drive to Learn (D3) - Learning is a part of life and when this drive is not satisfied in people they become aggressive and restless. Have you ever seen a highly intelligent well-paid co-worker leave a job although this person never had any problems with peer or superiors? Chances are that this person was in dire need of a cerebal orgasam i.e. The person was somebody who needed to be mentally challenged.
4.) The Drive to Defend (D4) - We have learned certain beliefs and take them to be true until proven otherwise. When somebody attacks or tries to show us otherwise we become agitated, angry or beligerent because deep down in our subconscious we have a defense mechanism that does not want to be proven wrong.
This is an excellent book for markets, negotiators and employers. What makes us tick inside our crainium.
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