Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink: It used to be (way back when) that we were motivated solely by the desire survival. Later, as we evolved, our prime motivators became the seeking of rewards and the avoidance of punishment. Scientist across multiple fields are advising that we’ve now come to a third iteration of motivation…unfortunately, our businesses are still built on the last one.
Pink’s book explores the tests and experiments that have led scientist to identify the three key aspects of this “third level” of motivation: autonomy, master and purpose. He then breaks each one down to fully explain it, reveal how it’s not being utilized in most businesses and then reveal how a few innovative businesses are utilizing it; usually to phenomenal results.
The crux of this book is really a paradigm shift in business that, when presented in this way, rings true to the reader and yet astonishes with how the reader would still assume the exact opposite to be true in business life. A worker may say, “I’m happier at work when I have control of my own projects and feel challenged.” Yet, this same worker will often look first to higher compensation for greater job satisfaction.
At the end of the book, Pink offer sections about putting these revelations into practical use for workers, bosses, businesses and parents. This section, too, is eye opening about what traditional external motivators we take for granted and what changes should be made. “Getting good grades” has never been a good motivator for students, and yet this is the most prevalent and socially-enforced method of motivating them.
Pink’s book is relatively short (and one gets the impression that the Recap, Glossary and Discussion Guide were recommended by the publisher to bump up the page count), but full of thought-provoking concepts and propositions well worth anyone’s reading time.