Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

DriveThe Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

September Reading Recommendation

What motivates us?

For many years, it’s been thought and taught that in order to motivate people and mold their habits, one should punish undesired behavior, and reward desired behavior. This “carrot and stick” approach to management is based on the idea that humans are fundamentally extrinsically motivated.

Not so, says Daniel H. Pink, author of the New York Times Best Seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates UsAlthough rewards and punishments do have their specific applications, humans are driven by a different force entirely: an intrinsic need for autonomy over our lives, desire to explore and innovate, and drive to improve ourselves and the world around us. Pink calls this, “Motivation 3.0.”

With decades of research behind him, Pink reveals the disconnect between what science tells us about human behavior and what business and education practices.

For example, how do you motivate your team or employees? When they’ve completed a big project or creative task (i.e. not filing, data entry, or similarly routine and mechanical assignment), how do you reward a job well done?

You may be surprised to hear that traditional carrots– in the form of bonuses, parties, little giveaways– can undermine their creativity and intrinsic desire to push themselves and bring their talents to the table. This is especially true if a reward is promised at the outset of the task.

So what do you do instead? One piece of advice from Pink is to give verbal praise; acknowledge the mastery and inventiveness of your people and feed the Motivation 3.0 machine.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us will change your life. Whether you’re a business professional, a teacher, a parent, or simply looking to get on a better fitness regimen, this book will give you all the tools you need to motivate your team, your students, your child(ren), and yourself.

If you don’t have time to read the book, check out Daniel’s wildly popular TED Talk:

But really, go read the book. Change your life for the better.


Dr. Susanne Gaddis
The Communications Doctor

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