Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Nov 17, 2012

A book about motivation not to be missed by business owners and those who want to understand people and how they work—the book itself is a treatise against traditional motivating factors in workplaces. It does an excellent job of explaining how and why short-term and monetary rewards can be detrimental to innovation and business growth while encouraging new systems and concepts of work. By giving employees 1) autonomy, 2) mastery, and 3) purpose, managers can create the kind of workplace that people fight for.

Pink defines all motivating factors as either intrinsic or extrinsic. His goal of businesses is, essentially, to exploit the fact that humans express a need for fulfillment and happiness by experiencing flow and mastering a skill. The desire to achieve mastery is an intrinsic one that, once basic needs are met, all people strive for. In turn, employees with a personal investment in the business have higher rates of happiness, productivity, and creativity necessary to keep businesses in top shape.

The largest caveat of the book is that there is a fair amount of lecture among the studies and proof that the theories inside it work. This 146 page read (I did not include the ‘toolkit’ which is more appendix than book) could be summed up in half that. Still, the message is simple: pay people fairly, leave them alone, and they will do great work—because they want to.

Written by Meredith N.

I've eaten rat.