Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Book Summary

One thing that can have a huge impact on your career path is your level of motivation. Whether you have the drive to get ahead and stay ahead is dependent on whether you have the motivation to put in the necessary legwork. If you’re looking to learn more about motivation — how to maintain it and how to develop it – then Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us may be a great book to consider adding to your shelf.

Drive draws on decades of scientific research to show the disconnect between the motivational techniques and practices used in the business world and the techniques that science has shown to be most effective. After shattering certain basic – but unfounded – beliefs about motivation, he goes on to examine the elements of motivation and provide helpful techniques for implementing them into your daily life. The book is part easy-to-read analysis of studies and part toolkit. The toolkit portion in the back provides various tools to help you with the specific points mentioned in the book and also with other motivational issues in general.

Some of the most valuable takeaway points Pink details are:

1) Extrinsic rewards are not effective. In other words, the carrot-and-stick approach doesn’t work. In olden days, when most jobs were routine, repetitive physical tasks, the carrot-and-stick approach was effective. These days,

2) Rewards can narrow your focus. Pink presents an example involving a creative problem solving exercise and goes on to cite research indicating that untimed study participants solved the exercise more quickly than timed participants. The reason, Pink says, is because rewards can narrow your focus.

3) Self-determination theory (SDT) is a better motivational approach. SDT, which Pink explains in detail, basically says that people are motivated by the drives for autonomy, mastery, and purpose – all of which are distinctly different from the motivation for reward.

4) If you create the right environment, you can keep your employees motivated by offering the right possibilities for autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose. Although these may seem tricky, Pink provides good advice on how to create an environment that fosters these.

Pink is a solid business author with some great credentials for his published works. His earlier works have been New York Times bestsellers, Wall Street Journal Business bestsellers, and Washington Post bestsellers – and based on the popular reaction, it seems that Drive is well on the way to joining that crowd.