Laura's Reviews > Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive by Daniel H. Pink
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Sep 08, 2010

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Read from August 30 to September 08, 2010

What frustrates me is the main premise has a contradiction that is never addressed. He begins the book with some research on monkeys that demonstrated an innate interest in solving puzzles. He then goes on to describe his big premise which is that we are are in the midst of a major motivational shift. First our motivation was our biological drives. Then came a period of motivation from structure and oversight. And now we want autonomy to determine our own motivation. But Pink's presentation on the monkeys demonstrates that 'even' they are intrinsically motivated to solve puzzles. His premise that since we've shifted to more creative tasks - a new age has arrived. We need to be more aware of intrinsic motivation and create the climate for it to flourish. I think it artificially makes us 'more' different than past generations. And he does acknowledge that past generations were successful in the old model. I don't think we've changed that much. Sometimes we like to be rewarded for accomplishing simple tasks efficiently and other times we like to be challenged by something creative. And therefore the basic analysis seems incomplete. I do agree that motivation and goal setting is a tricky business that is often misunderstood. And negative results occur from seemingly good intentions - rewarding people to do something they want to do for an intrinsic reason. It's difficult for me to let go of this flaw. By overstating the shift, the book plays into the sense of "oh no the world is getting more complex so we have to get more creative".

So while the book covers some good ideas about motivation, I am cautious about the presentation.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Elii Skeans "First our motivation was our biological drives. Then came a period of motivation from structure and oversight. And now we want autonomy to determine our own motivation. But Pink's presentation on the monkeys demonstrates that 'even' they are intrinsically motivated to solve puzzles."
I interpreted it as not an evolution into Motivation 3.0 but rather an evolution into our understanding of motivation and how it is being effectively applied.


Laura I would agree. I still think the framework oddly overvalues people being drawn to creative tasks, when in fact our motivation is more fluid.


Joyce Hit the nail on the head. I smelled something fishy about this linear biological progression.


message 4: by Nathan (new) - added it

Nathan Taylor I felt his point was that WE as people have over complicated things by looking past the fact that people inherently have drive. We reward people for things they don't need to be motivated about because they already are. It's complex for sure. All in all I think he uncovered some very useful things about motivation and human behavior.


Laura Agreed - still feels incomplete. Maybe I needed him to circle back to the intrinsic drive in as demonstrated in monkeys. not sure.


Julian Sammy The arguments didn't seem to be saying humans are better or now than in the past. The domain of knowledge work is different than it was, though, and the motivations that work in this domains are diferent than in some other domains. It's not that we are different (pe se) but that our conditions are different.


...did I misread?


message 7: by Laura (last edited Oct 12, 2013 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura Julian - thank you. That helps. But for me, Pink focuses on people's motivations over conditions. So the book feels incomplete - it makes the assumption we are all on board with a shared interpretation of what the conditions are in past situations and how the conditions have changed.
And I still think the book implies current problems are more difficult. I do not read this as a judgment on whether people are better now or in the past.
However, reading the book, I felt this historic approach to conditions did not lend itself to helping people identify what type of problems are at hand and how then to approach it.


message 8: by Roy (new) - added it

Roy Miller Just started reading this interesting point of view from you


Moshe Klein Well said, I thought the same thing after I read the book. ( I ended up giving it 3 stars.)


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