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

Drive by Daniel H. Pink
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Jan 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

To be honest, I can't remember where I heard of this book or if I encountered it while clicking around Amazon or some other how to live your best life type of site. But on my Christmas wish list it went and it ended up in my pile of loot so thank you Uncle Ken and Aunt Jane.

"The surprising truth about what motivates us" is actually more the surprising truth of what does NOT motivate us. You know the old carrot-and-stick approach? That is so 2.0. Bonuses, promotions, perks, tying rewards to performance basically does not get the job done. And Pink presents the research to demonstrate. So what is Motivation 3.0? It's an approach which centers on autonomy (the desire to direct our own lives), mastery (the urge to make progress and get better) and purpose (the yearning to do something bigger than ourselves).

Extrinsic rewards -- like bonuses or, say grades -- only motivate us in the short term. They don't produce lasting results. They don't produce real learning or innovation or loyalty. But intrinsic rewards -- the satisfaction you get from doing something you love, trying to get better at it and having a greater purpose drive it -- provides lasting motivation.

I often joke that left to my own devices I would morph into my couch while watching reruns of Law & Order. And as much as the visual makes me smile, I know in my heart that's not true. Lazy is only good for so many days. Heck, so many hours. Pretty soon, I want to do something and I create a project, I learn and I try to get better at it. My desire for "mastery" (as defined in various levels) connected with a sense of purpose keeps me going.

The basic premise from Pink is one that hits home with me, in large part because I've been coming around to this point of view, slowly, on my own. It's refreshing to have different jargon to describe it (where I don't sound like I was hit with the Oprah stick) and reassuring that I don't need to chase carrots the rest of my life or be afraid of the stick in order to create amazing things.
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