A Business Book Review: Drive
The book: Drive, by Daniel Pink
The big idea: People are more motivated by internal factors than by external drivers. The desire for mastery, a sense of autonomy and driving purpose are what Pink refers to as intrinsic motivators. Combining intrinsic motivation with others’ perspectives and feedback is the best route to creating flow and unleashing creativity.
The backstory: Daniel Pink is the author of the long-running New York Times bestseller, A Whole New Mind. He has written for several industry publications and has provided analysis for CNN, NPR, ABC, and more.
If you read nothing else: Chapter Five focuses on the difference between learning goals and performance goals. When challenged to learn, people often go far beyond what the performance goal would have set for them. Learning goals force you to use the information in a new unique situation while performance driven tasks focus more on memorizing and repeating routine. The urge to learn and get better at something that matters, is a powerful driver.
My favorite quote from this chapter: “It is hard for me to fathom that ‘faking it’ will really work in today’s world. It is a much more sophisticated environment … people want to know more and will work hard to learn, given the chance.”
You can skip: The intro. While Pink does a nice job of getting the reader prepared to understand his theory with stories and case studies about lab monkeys in the intro, it’s not always clearly tied to the thesis of the book. Also it often references early books of his, and if you haven’t read those it can be confusing. Each chapter has a story and/or case study associated with it so you will not miss out on much.
Who this is best for: Understanding your own motivation is meaningful, but it’s not necessarily useful for everyone. I think this book is best for leaders in the creative industry.
Don’t have time to read the book at the moment? Get acquainted with Pink’s theory with his 2009 TED Talk: The puzzle of motivation.
You can find Dan Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us on Amazon!