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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Hardcover – December 29, 2009
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"Persuasive . . .Harnessing the power of intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic remuneration can be thoroughly satisfying and infinitely more rewarding."
"These lessons are worth repeating, and if more companies feel emboldened to follow Mr. Pink's advice, then so much the better."
-Wall Street Journal
"Pink is rapidly acquiring international guru status . . . He is an engaging writer, who challenges and provokes."
"Pink's ideas deserve a wide hearing. Corporate boards, in fact, could do well by kicking out their pay consultants for an hour and reading Pink's conclusions instead."
"Pink's deft traversal of research at the intersection of psychology and economics make this a worthwhile read-no sticks necessary."
"[Pink] continues his engaging exploration of how we work."
"Pink's a gifted writer who turns even the heaviest scientific study into something digestible-and often amusing-without losing his intellectual punch."
-New York Post
"A worthwhile read. It reminds us that those of us on the right side of the brain are driven furthest and fastest in pursuit of what we love."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Pink's analysis--and new model--of motivation offers tremendous insight into our deepest nature."
"Important reading...an integral addition to a growing body of literature that argues for a radical shift in how businesses operate."
"Drive is the rare book that will get you to think and inspire you to act. Pink makes a strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation--and then provides the tools you need to transform your life."
-Dr. Mehmet Oz, co-author of YOU: The Owners Manual
About the Author
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Or so the theory goes. Yours truly, in fact, prefers to read about philosophy and history and would consider Plato to be the best organizational guru there ever was. Preferred self-help works include Dante's "Divine Comedy" and Boethius' "Consolation of Philosophy". But occasionally, nudged by the missus, I'll open up one of the works on her growing list of recommendations and start reading.
So it happened that I bumped into "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel Pink. In this book the author argues that how the vast majority of companies are motivating their workers "extrinsically" is completely outdated in our modern economy: "They continue to pursue practices such as short-term incentive plans and pay-for-performance schemes in the face of mounting evidence that such measures usually don’t work and often do harm." These monetary rewards, Pink writes, "can deliver a short-term boost — just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours. But the effect wears off — and, worse, can reduce a person's longer-term motivation to continue the project." In today's world, the author argues, folks are motivated intrinsically. You leave them to their own devices, don't burden them with sticks and carrots, and the creativity will start flowing like the Mississipi River.
This book is certainly interesting. The author puts forth a straightforward argument and provides ample research to back up his thesis, some of it eye-opening. Who would guess that young children are more motivated to produce a drawing if they are not expecting a reward after the fact? In another example, "researchers at Cornell University studied 320 small businesses, half of which granted workers autonomy, the other half relying on top-down direction. The businesses that offered autonomy grew at four times the rate of the control-oriented firms and had one-third the turnover."
It all sounds solid enough, though the question arises which companies are being investigated here. Are these Cornell researchers comparing start-ups run by fresh college grads in Silicon Valley to the McDonald's in Pleasant Hill, Iowa? Or are we talking about similar industries in order to level the playing field? As mentioned above, this reviewer owns a small business himself -- though not of the glamorous kind -- and gets the sense that Pink's head exists in a bubble of Facebook, Apple, Uber and other innovative tech giants. His examples of companies motivating their employees the 'correct' way -- Atlassian (software), 3M, Netflix, Zappos.com, JetBlue, Facebook and more such companies -- suggest as much. Pink has little to say about the unmotivated piece of work fixing your sub over at the gas station, or about the housekeeper cleaning your hotel room at the La Quinta during your April Florida vacation.
The author himself would deny this, of course, and in his defense, he does briefly address the issue of non-creative repetitive labor: "Whether you’re fixing sinks, ringing up groceries, selling cars, or writing a lesson plan, you and I need autonomy just as deeply as a great painter." But, he continues, the majority of us will at first struggle when thrown into the deep waters of "undiluted autonomy", and hence "Organizations must provide ... 'scaffolding' to help every employee find his footing to make the transition." Fair enough, but what does this "scaffolding" entail in a practical sense? It doesn't become very clear from proceeding through Pink's pages.
Next follow some Rousseauian observations about human nature that the grand master of philosophical folly could himself have whipped up: "We're designed to be Type I [motivated by intrinsic desires]. But outside forces -- including the very idea that we need to be 'managed' -- have conspired to change our default setting and turn us into Type X [motivated by extrinsic desires]. If we update the environments we're in -- not only at work, but also at school and at home -- and if leaders recognize both the truth of the human condition and the science that supports it, we can return ourselves and our colleagues to our natural state." And, quoting a researcher on the topic: "The course of human history has always moved in the direction of greater freedom. And there's a reason for that -- because it's in our nature to push for it."
I'm sorry, but human history is not moving unstoppably towards greater freedom any more than I, employer, am suppressing my workers' creative nature by setting deadlines and doling out incentives. What is happening here is that we in the West have arrived at an utter anomaly in human history in which the battle for basic subsistence has been won (for now) and that we are at liberty to enjoy the unprecedented luxuries brought forth by science, technology and the arts. It is certainly true that these fields are driven forward by man's intrinsic curiosity and desire to create new things, and the fact that they have thrust our civilization -- if not humanity at large -- to great heights should instill an enormous dose of gratitude and humility in us.
But back down on Earth, real goods still need to be produced, not just dreamed up by hipster types: Oil and gas need to be pumped to the surface, corn and wheat have to be harvested, cars need to be assembled, hotel rooms need to be cleaned, restaurant meals have to be cooked, and homes need to be built. Much of the production of these goods revolves around basic, repetitive tasks and invokes a certain level of dread and boredom. From my personal experience, the majority of workers involved want to work just enough hours for their paycheck to hold them over to the next one (and who can blame them?). The successful completion of their tasks is contingent upon a supervisor setting clear expectations, checking for quality of work after the fact, and showing gratitude for good behavior by continuing the employment relationship and handing out a nice paycheck.
None of this is to say that “Drive” isn't worth your valuable time. As with many such works, one takes a few good ideas and runs with them. While I can't afford to allow my employees to spend twenty percent of their time brainstorming about new products or process improvements, there's nothing stopping me from empowering them to have a say in how things are done in my company. So how about coming together for a half-day plenary session every three months and allow the staff to blurt out any idea that might have popped up in their head? I might just give it a try.
With all this in mind, I would recommend this book to certain types of readers, such as consultants, employers or the budding and dreaming entrepreneur. Just don't expect to be blown away by every word you're reading.
I read "It's Okay to be the Boss" after this book and found it to be IMMENSELY better and effective (I've been practicing the teachings of "It's Okay to be the Boss" for a couple weeks now and have already seen many positive effects.) In terms of readability and effectiveness, I'd recommend "It's Okay to be the Boss" over this one 1000 times. (100% not a paid review btw. Honest opinion.)
There. I just saved you $10.
I was furious reading this book and feel utterly cheated.
Of 270 some odd pages, only 140 are the actual book. The rest are discussion questions, summaries of other books, a lengthy sample of another book, etc.
Even the content on the first 140 is drawn out and ridiculous. (The author’s imagined thought process: Blackberries are sooo corporate; here’s a funny joke about them! Motivational systems are like computer operating system! Look how hip and up to date I am!).
I was hoping for information about how to motivate myself, but the book is focused toward managers and business.
Pink breaks down motivation into different versions. Motivation 1.0 is our basic need of survival. It's the simplest level of motivation and there isn't much time spent on this topic.
Motivation 2.0 is what Pink believes to be an outdated model. This is what is referred to as "carrots and sticks." We use these tools to encourage or reinforce positive behaviors and to curb behaviors we want to eliminate.
Pink shows, through research and studies, that adding monetary incentives does not inspire us like many have believed. It only serves as a temporary boost but winds up fading fast.
Instead, Pink believes we need to move to Motivation 3.0. This is where we are inspired by internal drivers rather than external factors.
There are three main themes to 3.0 with autonomy, mastery and purpose. These are the driving factors that need to be fostered in order to motivate us. Companies employing ROWE, results-only work environments, have shown statistically that Motivation 3.0 works.
Pink weaves in his book the findings of other noted authors and books in this same line of study like Dweck's Mindset, Csikszentmihalyi's Flow, Duckworth's work on Grit, along with work by Deci, Deming, Drucker, Kahneman, Gladwell, Godin, and many others.
This book receives a 4.4 rating on Amazon after 1,039 reviews. Goodreads gives this one a 3.95 after 60,238 ratings and 3,131 reviews. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it.
#FridaysFind #MIAGD #DanielPink #Drive
Hope this review was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!
Top international reviews
Sadly that is the entirety of his insight, and Pink talks around it (and around and around it) without ever getting anywhere else.
Pink starts by making a useful distinction between ‘algorithmic’ and ‘heuristic’ tasks (p. 29). The former are ones which you perform by following a series of pre-determined steps, while the latter require a more creative approach. Crucially, the latter are far more motivating! In our field this would translate into a distinction between, say, the standard transformation exercise and an activity like improvising and recording a monologue. The big Q for us is: what is the ratio between these two types of activities in our classroom?
Later on, Pink draws on Csikszentmihalyi’s insights on ‘Flow’ (p. 115). Csikszentmihalyi’s research showed that most tasks where people achieved ‘Flow’ shared three key elements: a) there were clear goals, b) there was immediate feedback and c) the task difficulty level was perfectly pitched – slightly higher than the performer’s current level. The implications for task design here are obvious...
In discussing ‘extrinsic’ vs ‘intrinsic’ motivation, Pink points out that there is often a trade-off; extrinsic factors may work best in the short-term, but in the long run intrinsic motivation is always the winner! (p. 79) Back to ELT, exam classes illustrate this perfectly: granted, both parents and students often clamour for more exam-oriented material as there is always a test round the corner, but in the long run this is disastrous (I have yet to meet students who do CPE tests for fun after getting their certificate...)
Motivation leads to ‘autonomy’ and this is where things get really exciting! On p. 86 we are introduced to the concept of ROWE (‘Results-Only Work Environment’). The idea is simple: your employer does not care how or when you do something, so long as you deliver the goods! Now imagine ROSE instead! Imagine a school where classes are not compulsory, where students are more autonomous and they have to actually generate something as evidence of learning (rather than sit endless tests). This is not a dream; the IB model has taken many steps in that direction...
Then on p. 93 we go one step further still! Atlasian is a software company where once a week employees can do anything they want!! At the end of the day, employees just show what they have come up with. Now, can you imagine a school where once a week you can work on any project you want? Imagine being paid to design your favourite activities, to incorporate novel IT-based task in the syllabus or prepare worksheets for ‘Comedy for ELT’ sketches? Sheer bliss! :-)
The book is split into three sections, the first being the background and explanatory information about the subject. Here Pink explains how in his view the old trusted model of carrot/stick is somewhat counterproductive in today's modern and creative workplaces. Instead, he proposes that a more inherent desire exists within each of us, around subject areas such as mastery and autonomy. The core idea is that the notion that people have to be forced or bribed to produce their best work is false. The examples cited are slightly American in method, which isn't surprising considering that is where Pink is based, but apply in the most part to a UK audience too.
The second part of the book presents a framework of various situations that the ideas can be applied to. This is not really a cohesive section, and each "chapter" is relatively independent from the last, however the author does explain that this is intentional. You read the chapters which are relevant to your situation, although I found reading them cover to cover equally enlightening.
The last and smallest part is a small summary of the first part's content, intended as an aide mémoire. I liked this idea a lot, as it provides a simple and concise reference guide that can be used in the future without having to thumb and search the entire book. There are also a number of suggestions for further reading, which again proves that the author's agenda is truly to improve and better our lives rather than to simply push his own product.
This is a small book, but one which packs a big punch, at least for me. I found several of its suggestions both inspiring and exciting, and I hope to implement a few of his strategies myself in the future. The writing style is relaxed and easy, neither patronising nor complex, and it was a pleasure to keep turning each page.
I would recommend this book not only as a general read to those interested in business psychology and motivation, but also to any manager who feels burnt out and that their workplace needs a bit of a motivational facelift. You won't find many glib solutions, but you will find a detailed explanation of why what you are currently doing probably isn't working.
The second half, which is the mostly practical half of what you can do about it in personal and professional areas, is slow moving, repetitive and focusses on just a few sources.
Ideally this book would keep the first half and condense the second half into 5-10 pages.
What makes this book an exceptional 5 star read is the many ways to apply the learning through easy to remember practical tips. For me, this book made Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi's concept of Flow much more tangible. If you are looking to get more Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in your life - or to help your children, workplace or others there are many useful strategies here.
It's also worth signing up to Daniel Pinks website for the equally useful Flip Manifesto PDF which contains another set of practical ideas.
The book is well set out and clearly written, with a useful recap at the end, as well as pointers to a range of additional resources. After enjoying this book, I went on to buy some books covering the timeless work of Peter Drucker Essential Drucker (Classic Drucker Collection).
1. Autonomy - directing our own lives,
2. Mastery - to learn and create new things,
3. Purpose - do better by ourselves and the world
It's like the difference between a horse and a car.
Take that analogy and apply it to what motivates humans. It's a huge step forward.
My total respect and appreciation for this book, its author and all the people that worked in order to reach this great understanding.