Drive Book Summary By Daniel H. Pink

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Drive is a must-read book for anyone looking to better understand motivation.

In it, author Daniel Pink outlines the different types of motivation - extrinsic and intrinsic - and how companies often focus on the former to their detriment.

The book then goes on to explain what really drives us and how we can use this understanding of intrinsic motivation to motivate ourselves and those around us.

Pink succinctly explains the nuances of each type of motivation, providing helpful examples along the way so readers can understand the distinctions.

He also provides practical guidance on how to better take advantage of our intrinsic motivations for achieving success.

Drive Book

Book Name: Drive (The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us)

Author(s): Daniel H. Pink

Rating: 4.4/5

Reading Time: 17 Minutes

Categories: Motivation & Inspiration

Author Bio

Daniel Pink is an acclaimed author and public speaker, best known for his bestselling books such as A Whole New Mind, To Sell is Human, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, and Free Agent Nation.

He originally studied linguistics and jurisprudence before becoming a professional public speaker and writer.

He even served as the chief speechwriter for then-United States Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1997.

From this experience came his books that have been reached the New York Times Bestseller lists.

Drive is one of them and it showcases the power self-motivation has on achieving success in one's endeavors.

The Stick And Carrot: How Extrinsic Motivation 2.0 Has Dominated The Working World For Centuries

Motivation 2.0

Humans have been driven by basic needs such as food, shelter, and reproduction for tens of thousands of years, known as motivation 1.0.

For centuries, these needs continued to be the main source of motivation, until industrialization and complex production cycles began to spark a shift in humanity’s motivations.

This new impetus was extrinsic motivation 2.0 which relied on rewards and punishments doled out by third parties – otherwise known as the “stick and carrot” approach.

Employers assumed that their workers would have no enthusiasm for their job without consequences; thus these rewards and punishments were slowly employeded to incentivize desired behavior while preventing undesirable behaviors from occurring – higher wages encouraged laborers to haul more coal while stern reprimands at team meetings acted as a means discourage someone from being late often.

Today, Motivation 2.0 is still prevalent across most job fronts despite many companies relaxing dress codes or working hours with hopes of keeping employees happy – its effects can be widely seen everywhere.

The underlying belief here? That besides providing for basic human needs, the only way to truly motivate employees is through punitive sanctions or rewarding incentives.

Motivation 3.0: Harnessing Intrinsic Drive For Success

Motivation 3.0 is an alternate approach to drive our behaviors that relies on intrinsic motivation instead of external incentives.

This idea was first demonstrated when professor of psychology Harry Harlow gave a group of Rhesus monkeys a mechanical puzzle, with neither any rewards nor punishments available if they solved it.

Even so, the monkeys recognized how the puzzle worked and found great enjoyment in solving it — even without external motivators.

A similar phenomenon is seen in people’s involvement with creating and editing entries for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Tens of thousands of writers and editors voluntarily contribute their time and effort for no monetary compensation.

But despite this, Wikipedia turned out to be a great success, while its rival Microsoft Encarta eventually shut down —despite being developed by well-paid professionals with material reward expectations.

This strengthens the idea that intrinsic motivation — enjoying an activity for its own sake — can serve as an equally valid alternative to exterior incentives when we need to be motivated to do something.

It is evident in those who wish to pursue jobs where they can work on what they like and dictate their own working conditions (such as programming applications or sharing recipes online).

On its own, this pleasure gives them enough satisfaction, rendering unnecessary any kind of rewards or sanctions.

The Stick And Carrot Can Disincentivize Efficiency And Creativity

It has long been believed that offering incentives such as a bonus for completing work to a certain timeline would be beneficial for both employers and employees.

However, studies have shown that this isn’t always the case, and in fact the “stick and carrot” strategy can often backfire with harmful consequences.

In one study involving mechanics in garages, it was found that any incentive provided to them via a bonus could lead to an increase in unnecessary repairs being carried out by the mechanics.

This meant that customers were receiving unsatisfactory results, leading to lost faith in the garage – even though the mechanics themselves had managed to hit target numbers.

Similar findings resulted from an agility test conducted in India where participants were rewarded money for hitting targets – but instead of improving performance as expected, they actually performed worse than their peers who weren’t motivated by a financial incentive.

They seemed overwhelmed by the pressure of exceeding expectations set by a financial reward, which clouded over their ability to think creatively and make decisive decisions – resulting in longer completion times overall.

In summary, while “stick and carrot” strategies may work if employed on routine tasks such as packing bags at supermarkets (where rewards drive employees to work faster), this isn’t necessarily true for more complex activities or tasks that require creative thinking.

In these cases, incentives are often counter-productive and can cause people to miss the intended target or goals set by their employers with potentially harmful consequences.

Intrinsic Motivation Is Being Replaced By Extrinsic Rewards As We Age

Intrinsic Motivation

When looking into how people’s motivation changes throughout their lives, it’s clear that intrinsic motivation is gradually lost as a person grows older.

An experiment done in a nursery showed this perfectly; when two groups of children were asked to draw, the ones who were offered rewards had their intrinsic motivation destroyed and no longer wanted to draw.

This pattern – if-then rewards eroding away intrinsic motivation – is seen often in our everyday lives.

As children, we are curious and eager to understand our world through hands-on activities and exploration, but as adults, most tasks require an extrinsic incentive before one takes action.

Grades need to be studied for, trash needs to be taken out for recognition and work needs to be done for a paycheck – all these promises slowly blocking out our natural dedication with age.

It becomes clear that while extrinsic rewards give us an indication of what needs to be done, they take away the urge from within us that drives us towards completing tasks without any expectation of something in return.

This goes to show that extrinsic promises do indeed destroy intrinsic motivation.

The Power Of Motivation 3.0: Unleashing The Inner Drive For Perfection To Achieve Passion And Dedication

When it comes to achieving greatness, the most important component is Motivation 3.0 – the internal desire to master perfection.

This drive propels people who are interested in pursuing their goals and allows them to achieve excellence across all areas of their life, whether that be basketball, computer science or photography.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have this inner drive for improvement or are under-stretched in their job, which consequently dampens their motivation when it comes to professional development.

But what sets apart truly successful people from the rest is something known as ‘the flow state’.

This is where they pursue tasks with utmost passion, concentration and focus without worrying about anything else going on around them.

People like painters who love spending hours working on a single piece can understand this completely; once you’ve an internal need for perfection, you lose yourself entirely in whatever activity you’re undertaking.

Though one doesn’t stay within this state forever since the flow cannot extend for extended periods, it’s important that we still try to strive for peak performance if we have any interest of being successful.

We must believe that our skills aren’t fixed at birth and instead continue to take steps towards improvement so even small tastes of success will motivate us further.

The same goes for employees as well; if leaders provide staff with duties that should be developed further then it will likely spark this type of passion in staff members and will make them work every day with dedication and dedication in order to reach the highest level possible.

So although perfection is something that may never be achieved by humans, we should still aim high if only to come close enough.

Get into the flow: striving towards perfected leads us onto an exciting journey filled with commitment and enthusiasm!

The Pursuit Of Meaningful Goals: An Intrinsic Source Of Energy And Happiness

The need to pursue meaningfulness is a fundamental, intrinsic driving force.

Psychologists set out to discover what motivates people in their lives, and they found that it wasn’t money or fame which truly made them happy; it was the desire to develop personally and help others.

Young people who were asked to list their main goals in life found greater fulfillment in pursuing meaning in life than those who sought profit.

They reported higher levels of happiness later on, and significantly less psychological ailments such as anxiety or depression.

This pursuit of meaningfulness is not only good for personal wellbeing, but also has positive effects in business, with workers feeling more satisfied if a portion of the budget can be donated to charity – and doctors being less drained when alloted time to talk with patients and do outreach.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that striving for something bigger than ourselves – dedicating ourselves to building a better world – is far more rewarding than trying purely to maximize profits.

The pursuit of meaningfulness is truly a fundamental, intrinsic impetus that drives us at all stages of our lives.

My Task, My Time, My Team! Self-Determination Promotes Intrinsic Motivation


When it comes to motivating people, allowing them to have control over their tasks, their time, and the team they work with is key.

Companies like Google, Meddius and Zappos have seen the benefits of letting go of control when it comes to motivating their employees – from self-organizing work times, relaxed office hours and no pressured managerial roles – all of which promotes intrinsic motivation.

For example, Whole Foods lets both workers and personnel managers decide on new hires and W.L Gore & Partner requires its team leaders to find people willing to work for themselves.

By granting employees autonomy over how and when they complete their tasks as well as who works with them creates a sense of ownership that encourages dedication to the job.

By giving people more control over what they do at work can lead to higher job satisfaction levels, more creativity in pursuing solutions and an overall improved team performance.

Achieving these results means less staff turnover while minimising burnout rates – all ultimately leading to increased productivity!

In conclusion, allowing self-determination is crucial in striving towards intrinsic motivation – My task, my time, my team!

The Benefits Of Cultivating Intrinsic Motivation In The Workplace

It is clear from research that employees perform better when they are intrinsically motivated.

That is why businesses today need to upgrade to Intrinsic Motivation 3.0 – but many still don’t take advantage of this opportunity.

Instead, workers motivation continues to be based on extrinsic factors such as rewards, bonuses and carrots and ends up producing a passive and sluggish working environment.

With the right measures however, like unexpected attention, spontaneous praise, constructive feedback or even being given a say in decision-making, any business can successfully enhance intrinsic motivation and increase work productivity.

Furthermore, it is important to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to work with challenges at the perfect level of difficulty for each individual – not too hard nor too easy – in order to satisfy their drive for perfection.

Finally if linking doing good deeds with company goals, such as making donations and investing in social awareness initiatives, then every employee can pitch in feeling comfortable that their contributions are meaningful and going towards something beneficial for all involved.

The result? An effective company that understands how to motivate its employees by self-determination; striving for perfection; setting meaningful objectives; and recognizing their positive impact on others.

That’s what upgrading to Intrinsic Motivation 3.0 can do!

Wrap Up

The key take-away from Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H.

Pink is that rewards and punishments have their place, but ultimately intrinsic motivation will be the source of passion and dedication among workers.

This means empowering up employees with self-determination, meaningful goals, and focusing on the process of perfection.

In order for this to work, companies must move away from a Motivation 1.0/2.0 approach of extrinsic promises and instead focus on giving employees control over their tasks as well as teams so they can utilize intrinsic motivations in their everyday work.

When applying these principles, businesses can find an effective way to truly motivate their workers and create passionate, dedicated employees.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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