The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

eBook - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Pink argues that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781101150856
Branch Call Number: 153.1/534 22


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 06, 2019

Highly recommended for everyone, especially if you're alive, aged 7 to 105. It's part of a two-book masterpiece in self-help for North Americans needing opportunities going into the future.

In Pink's previous book, "Whole New Mind", he described how the globalized economy took the manufacturing businesses and much of the routine "knowledge industry and tech" businesses out of North America and Europe; they went to Asia. We haven't yet successfully replaced that; we're getting by on the skeletons of the agricultural, raw resource and manufacturing industries, with high tech adding a few jobs but not nearly enough.

The type of opportunity we need to build in North America is based on creativity and in "Whole New Mind", he describes many of the basic skills needed by creativity and whole-mind, wholistic thinking. Now in "DRIVE", he gets to the core of how to involve people; and that means understanding what naturally motivates people on THEIR TERMS! The types of tools businesses in agriculture, mechanistic industry and many institutions, use to try to motivate people, are often in direct conflict with what motivates people! Old style "reward or punishment" offers of gains or punishment are absurdly mis-matched to any activity based on authentic involvement, good will, creativity as a process, positive and consistent change.

"DRIVE" tells us of the three main components of what naturally motivates people, going into the 21st century, in operations likely to succeed. He illustrates what does and doesn't work and how to understand how to liberate yourself from old cages and "reward or punishment" types of motivation, and businesses/institutions/organizations that won't change.

Most businesses would do well to understand this, and start making adjustments. Every person benefits by understanding this book and "Whole New Mind". No career guidance, business operation, institution direction, fund-raising, growth plan, marketing, sales, business model, should try going forward in North America or Europe if they don't upgrade their understanding of people, and the changes happening on a global scale. Canada is subject to losing jobs, as well as building many more in new ways. This SHOULD be a time of optimism and can be, if we realize we aren't all of us working now on combines on the prairies or in car factories in Mississauga. We've got a lot to do, to START creating a post-colonial Canada for the 21st century! Read how YOU, yes YOU, are part of that!

Mar 15, 2018

As a manager, I found this book very insightful and hard to put down.

Since then, I've implemented some of his concepts and seen promising results, I encourage others in my line of work to read it.

Aug 28, 2017

"Drive" is subtitled, "The Surprising truth about what motivates us." That is indeed an accurate description of what the book is all about. The book talks about Intrinsic Motivation which is beyond reward and punishment which were supposed to be the only motivators. In this the twenty-first century the author has shown us how people work for hours or even days for no pay. A great example is Wikipedia which nobody would have believed possible even a couple of decades back. Also good examples are Linux and Mozilla. In my own life i can see that I write these book reviews only hoping that they will help others.

Apr 14, 2015

About as useless as his other book of flotsam, Free Agent Nation, but if you must read it, save your money and take it out from the library!

Aug 07, 2012

There is a great little animation done to his TED speech on youtube called RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Oct 09, 2011

A must read for employers and administators.

ksoles Jun 21, 2011

Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. According to Daniel Pink, these factors make up "Motivation 3.0," the force that keeps us focused on tasks and fulfilled by their completion. "Drive" asserts that humans perform according to a hierarchy of "operating systems," from meeting basic needs (eating & reproducing) to seeking reward and avoiding punishment to achieving personal satisfaction. He also differentiates between Type I workers, who are intrinsically motivated, and Type X workers, who are extrinsically motivated. These two sets of people need customized treatment from their superiors to be optimally productive.

In Malcolm Gladwell-esque style, Daniel Pink has taken an important but poorly understood topic, outlined interesting research performed by others on the topic, and presented conclusions in an engaging summary. "Drive" represents a solid introduction to a universal subject and is certainly supported by scholarship despite its oversimplifications. Pink's theories neglect to deal adequately with either the least popular jobs or the workers who don't feel enticed by autonomy, mastery and purpose but, despite limited application to the real world, Pink's conclusions provide valuable insight for anyone trying to create a more productive working environment.

iLibrarian Sep 16, 2010

Some might say that a mule will only move forward on the dusty path when you whack him with a stick. Now, if you don't believe in the threatening stick, you can dangle a big juicy carrot out in front of your mule and you should get the results you're hoping for.

Carrots and sticks always work, don't they? Isn't this the natural assumption we've adopted? What if this assumption was wrong?

According to Daniel Pink it is wrong. In his new book, DRiVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink wants to help you discover what truly motivates people and why rewards don't always work in the 21st century.

He's passionate about the "mismatch of what science knows and what business does". He points out "that business leaders are making decisions and creating policies about talent and people that are based on assumptions that are outdated, unexamined, and based on rudimentary folklore instead of science"

In many cases the carrot and stick methods don't work. What's even more interesting is that, in many circumstances, everything gets worse when you dangle a big fat reward in front of the person or the team you hope to motivate.

Rewards narrow our mind and focus on the end result with determination. The rewards increase performance. Pink explains that this works well for work that is clearly defined with precisely known outcomes, but it fails if the work is more complex or creative. In today’s working world, the work is more conceptual. Conceptual work has no clear path to the end result and often the result is often undefined or unknown.

There is no single solution and any one particular solution may be obscure and far from obvious.
This is not a philosophy. It is not the author’s opinion. It is proven science. He points to evidence that, in many circumstances, larger rewards will actually have a negative effect on performance. He's very passionate in his belief that the business community is missing the facts on what motivates people. The old mentality that we assume holds true in all cases doesn't and he has proof. It has been studied in great detail, but somehow the results continue to go unnoticed. Pink advocates that "science confirms what we know in our hearts".

DRiVE is a look inside these scientifically proven concepts about how we think and what actually motivates us. Pink puts it into practical terms for business leaders, organizations, educators, and parents. It doesn't matter what role you happen to be in, you will find some practical examples in the toolkit section, which is organized so you can quickly skip to the segments that are most relevant to you.

It's worth your time to discover what actually motivates us. Read this book and you will soon recognize out dated methods of motivation. Carrots and sticks might work for a mule on a dusty path, but isn't it time we recognize that much of the work in the 21st century is conceptual making reward based compensation dangerous.

gpatterson Jul 12, 2010

Clearly written and thoughtful assessment of the what motivates people in all aspects of life, not just at work.

Mar 22, 2010

Excellent book on what motivates people. Would be of special interest to anyone who manages other people. The world has changed and the old motivational ways no longer work.


Add a Quote
Jul 06, 2018

Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are better motivators than "carrot and stick", if-then rewards.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at STPL

To Top