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Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations
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Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  3,587 ratings  ·  436 reviews
Bestselling author Dan Ariely reveals fascinating new insights into motivation--showing that the subject is far more complex than we ever imagined.

Every day we work hard to motivate ourselves, the people we live with, the people who work for and do business with us. In this way, much of what we do can be defined as being "motivators." From the boardroom to the living room
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Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Simon Schuster/ TED
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Amir Tesla
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Are you unsatisfied with your job?
Do you want to spark motivation among your employees?
This book might help.

The book
Dan Ariely the is a best-selling author and one of the pioneers of cognitive psychology. To the best of my knowledge, in this book, he's covered the most significant elements of motivation which I'll cover as we proceed.
I have always been fascinated by how often our intuitions lead us astray. Consider this case on motivation: Which one do you think is more motivating for employees
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David
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very short book about motivation. Money is not the only factor in motivating people; sometimes it isn't even a major factor. The scientific evidence is clear, from psychological experiments, that usually internal rather than external factors are more important. People are much more motivated to work efficiently if they have a sense of purpose, that is to say, if their efforts have meaning and the end-products are visible.

All pop psychology books describe experiments, and this book foll
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Alex Givant
Small book full of ideas of what motivate us in different period of life.
Tyler Hochstetler
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Why is my motivation sometimes strong and sometime lacking? I find myself wanting to do the things I should, and doing the things I should not. What is the formula for motivation? This book asks that question. Quick and to the point, Dan Ariely gave me an inkling of an idea about creating my own formula. Drawing from the insights of Victor Frankl, who wrote 'Mans search for Meaning', Dan showed me something..that motivation is complex, but pursing a life of meaning will give one the tools for da ...more
Clarisa Doval
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. I love Ariely and have read most of his books. This one felt pretty superficial; I guess, maybe because it is a TED book, it is meant to be mostly an introduction to the topic.
Atif Shaikh
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Seems like Dan Ariely was in a rush to finish this book or maybe the 'motivation' wasn't truly intrinsic. The book does not built a case for motivation being all about connection, meaning and goodwill but rather enumerates a few anecdotal examples here and there.

The best part of the book is that it isn't repetitive or long to read but that doesn't speak much about the topic or the book itself. That being said, the overall zeitgeist on motivation is pretty established and this book doesn't compl
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Elena
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am quite disappointed, found here too little of original thought, twist on facts, or playful language (presence of which in some cases can be an ok-enough substitute for food for thought for me). I did like Ariely's previous three books... I guess there was not enough time to gather good material this time.. Or was my disappointment simply a product of "proximity bias" (i read much more engaging book just prior to this one)?


Frank
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
It was fine, but largely a rehashing of what was in his other books. Nice quick summary for someone who hasn't read the other work.
Valentin Shvets
Feb 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
A collection of superficial and uninsightful personal stories with brief outlines of couple researches already extensively covered in previous books. The main conclusion: motivation is influenced by various emotions and studying it will be fun. I'm just glad this was a relatively short waste of time.
Ghalia Turki
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't feel like I was reading a book, I felt that I was talking to Dan, hearing his amazing stories and experiences and getting inspired. Motivation, as it's a human feature, is more complex than we think but it's spectacular as much as its complexity. I loved how the ideas in the book were supported by real experiments. His new perspective of motivation made me think about it differently. I've started to apply the ideas mentioned in Payoff since I started reading it and I already have good r ...more
Dan Connors
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
This little 100 page book packs a powerful punch. Produced by TED, I'm surprised that their book series isn't better known. TED talks, as you know, are limited to 20 minutes or less, mainly because human attention spans start drifting at the 20 minute mark. This book is short enough to read in one try, which is great for someone looking for a quick payoff in an hour's time.
Payoff is about motivation, and in four chapters Ariely condenses work from his TED talk and other books to give us a diff
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Yulia Tell
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas and thoughts on what really motivates us, good examples, but hard to figure out what to take away and how to apply this knowledge in life. Reads more like an explanation to a proposed research project.
Moshe Hoffman
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Payoff does a nice job documenting some interesting aspects of human passion and motivation, such as our need to feel that our work is appreciated, and our exaggerated opinions of our own creations. Ariely, as always, explains these phenomena clearly, and documents them cleanly in controlled laboratory experiments.

However, as is so often the case in behavioral economics and social psychology, his analysis takes only a proximate perspective--how things feel to us as humans, what we like and want
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Ethan
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Very quick read, it helps you get a better intuition on how people's motivations can be affected or invested in.
Mete Rodoper
Nov 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Dan Ariely has been of the leading scientist in the field of behavioral economics. He has written many books about irrationality aspect of the decisions we have been making. I am very interested in reading his work and have always been fascinated by his research. In this book, he again is able to convert his academic research into an easy to read book based on stories in different areas related to motivation. This book has 4 main chapters about different areas of motivation described around diff ...more
Craig Becker
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. He captures the essence of the book in the epilogue in this way:

The answer to the motivation question is meaningless because question is unclear.

Money is not the great motivating force most of us assume it to be in fact, sometimes it is a disincentive.

We are much more driven by all kinds of intangible, emotional forces: the need to be recognized and to feel ownership; to feel a sense of accomplishment; to find the security of a long-term commitment and a sense of shared purpose
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John  Mihelic
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I saw that Ariely had another book coming out on social media, I immediately bought it since I am a fan of his work. When I got it, and saw how small it was and that it was branded a TED book, I was a little worried. I feel that the TED talk infrastructure trades on the novelty effect – show something that makes someone say gee-whiz and ignore the complicated understratum that makes up the bulk of a subject. Which is something that happens a bit here, but a 100-page book is better for depth ...more
Ryan
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really short book (even shorter as an audiobook) which seems to be mostly based on Ariely's TED talk and some previous research. It's still good information, but not really novel if you've read all of his other work. Essentially he describes some of the unexpected facts about human motivation (we're less coin-operated than conventional economic theory predicts, and in some cases, cash is actually a demotivator, especially vs. other forms of reward).
Alex Railean
This is an overview of the basic motivating factors that are applicable on a personal scale, as well as in relationships with employees and other people. Good stories, interesting experiments - this was a thought-provoking read.


Note: If you've read the author's previous books, some of the materials will not be news to you.
Daniel Frank
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great insights from the brilliant Dan Ariely. For those familiar with Ariely's work, I don't think there is anything new, but it's such a short and fun read, it might be worth your time anyways.
My only nitpick is his understanding of Adam Smith's philosophy/thoughts are inaccurate and misguided.
Marci
So much of this information is presented in more detail in his other books. This was a solid introduction to some of his interesting research on what motivates people. A quick read to help fuel much more thought.
Rachel
Dec 25, 2016 added it
Short read with very interesting observations. Completely counterintuitive to what you think would motivate people.
Lyuba
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I really like Ariely's work but this book didn't contain any groundbreaking ideas, mostly high-level concepts and research I was familiar with from his past publications.
Thaths
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science, psychology
A TED "book". Very lightweight. Preferred the author's previous works which were more substantial.
Molly
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Having read Dan Ariely's first two books "Predictably irrational" and "the upside of irrationality", I didn't learn anything from this book that is not covered by the previous two books.
Paul Froehlich
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Much of conventional wisdom about motivation is wrong, according psychologist Dan Ariely. In Payoff, he explains how motivation really works. The reason we should care is that “we are all part-time motivators.” All of us try to get others to do things, whether they are our children, employees, spouses, customers, friends, or people we encounter in everyday situations.

Motivation is not a simple rat-seeking-reward equation. Instead, "We’re motivated by meaning and connection because their effects
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Al
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: business-book
What motivates us? It’s a pretty good hook for a book. Ariely uses some experimental research to find these answers. It’s not money. In fact, monetary incentives can de-motivate us. For example, if you pay more for hard work on a Friday, people are only can work hard on Fridays ( Kind of like the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% coupon we’ve come to expect).
It is that personalization and recognition that is what make those connections. A handwritten note goes further than a $20 bill. Ultimately, Ariely a
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Kimball
I'll give this 3.5 stars. It was a nice short read. And the author is a burn victim.

Notes:

Knowing what drives us and others is an essential step towards enhancing the inherit joy and minimizing the confusion in our lives.

When we are acknowledged for our work we are willing to work harder and for less pay. When we aren't acknowledged we lose motivation. Acknowledgement is human interaction and is also like a gift from one person to another.

What to do to change the situation when it is impossible
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Matthias
I found Ariely's conclusions here to be 70% just quite intuitive/common sense (ex. "Let's try to avoid canceling projects people have worked on, as the sensation of having put in meaningless work is strongly demotivating": ok, but we've known this since the Ancient Greeks, with the myth of Sisyphus), and 30% ethically questionable (ex. "In experiment X, we found a pizza voucher and a compliment had the same impact on workers' motivation of a pure monetary bonus [that they're free to spend on wha ...more
Dave
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this little book because it spoke to me about things that I've been feeling very strongly recently. What truly motivates us? What is the relative importance in our working lives of money, recognition, impact?

Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke who studies human behavior. He's great at writing books that use a very conversational tone to make me think about some concept of behavior differently. This book is a great example of that.

Here's my favorite quote from the book (near the very end):

"
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From Wikipedia:

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He also holds an appointment at the MIT Media Lab where he is the head of the eRationality research group. He was formerly the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT Sloan School of Management.

Dan Ariely grew up in Israel after birth in New York. He served in the Israeli army and
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As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ad...
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“These results show that when we are acknowledged for our work, we are willing to work harder for less pay, and when we are not acknowledged, we lose much of our motivation.” 1 likes
“Another company came up with an even more brilliant idea --- that nobody could own their own cubicle -- designing the system such that those who showed up to work earliest in the morning could claim the ones closest to the windows. None of the cubicles had anything but a desk, a place to connect a computer, and a chair. No one could establish a sense of connection to their workspace. Ultimately, by setting the atmosphere this way, the company communicated to the employees that they are valued only for their direct productivity and that they are easily replaceable.” 1 likes
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