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Book Review: “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink

April 6th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Technology

“Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” ~Lou Holtz

While I give credit for Lou Holtz being a great college football coach, I don’t completely agree with the above quote. After reading Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us I believe we must first make sure we’re motivating people with the correct tools before we simply “eliminate” the unmotivated.

Like many entrepreneurs, I’m constantly trying to find the right tools to make sure my staff is motivated. And when a trusted colleague, Piyush Patel of Digital-Tutors, told me this book was really interesting for motivating employees, I immediately moved it up to the top of my wish list on Amazon.

DriveDaniel Pink makes a well-devised argument that we have historically entered into a new stage of understanding motivation. He calls it Motivation 3.0. He considers the basic biological instincts to survive, including the need for food and basic fight-or-flight instincts. Motivation 2.0 is the idea that rewards or punishment is what motivates people. He likes to reference it as the carrot and stick mentality. And finally, Motivation 3.0 is the new, much more effective way to motivate people today, and further more, it’s been proven over-and-over again by scientific and case-studies, but most businesses seem to ignore the evidence.

Motivation 3.0 is made up of three premises:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

By using these three concepts, we can effectively motivate people to achieve our goals. Autonomy is the autonomy of Task, Technique, Team and Time. Mastery is the belief that humans want to improve and become experts in their chosen field. And purpose is working towards a higher purpose than just basic accomplishment of a task.

The book is much more than just a history of motivation and Daniels view of the future. He cites numerous scientific studies and several real world examples of how to use the Motivation 3.0 technique to achieve success. It’s really hard to argue with his conclusions because he provides several great examples.

I highly recommend adding this book to your reading list if you want to understand what motivates you, and just as importantly, what motivates those around you.

Daniel Pink did a presentation at TED in 2009 that does a good job of introducing the subject. It’s only a 20 minute video, but it might change your views on motivation.

NOTE: This was my first book to consume as an audio book from Amazon. While it was a great way to pass time while driving, I prefer the ability to make notes and quickly refer back to previous sections of the book.

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