Drive (Old Version) Book Summary - Drive (Old Version) Book explained in key points
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Drive (Old Version) summary

Daniel H. Pink

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

4.6 (609 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

Drive by Daniel H. Pink explores the science of motivation and argues that providing autonomy, mastery, and purpose is more effective than traditional carrots and sticks.

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    Drive (Old Version)
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    The discovery of intrinsic motivation

    In 1949, a professor of psychology called Harry Harlow gave eight Rhesus monkeys a mechanical puzzle. Their assignment was to pull out a pin and lift a hinge – not exactly what you’d call an easy task for a monkey. Harlow expected that the monkeys wouldn’t concern themselves with it. After all, the experiment was set up so that the primates wouldn’t receive any reward – neither food nor praise – for solving the puzzle. Surprisingly, the monkeys still gave it a go. They recognized how the puzzle worked, and they solved it. What’s more, they seemed to actually be enjoying themselves!

    To the researcher, this came as a big surprise. Until then, there had only been two possible explanations for such behavior: nature and external incentives. But nature clearly wasn’t at work here – solving a puzzle isn’t part of the eat-drink-procreate equation. There weren’t any external incentives present either. So, somehow, there seemed to be a mysterious third kind of drive.

    Enter intrinsic motivation – or, as Pink calls it, Motivation 3.0. It sounds a bit like an app you can download, right? It’s actually called this because Pink sees the three different types of drives as a historical sequence that describes how the way we work has evolved. Let’s take a look at each.

    1. Around 50,000 years ago, mankind was preoccupied with its own survival and driven by Motivation 1.0: the search for food and drink, a safe place to rest at night, and the desire to reproduce and pass on genes. Up until a few centuries ago, these basic needs were the main driving force of humanity.
    2. Then, during the age of industrialization, production cycles became more complex, and people started to rely increasingly on a new impetus for productivity: extrinsic motivation, or Motivation 2.0. This is based on the incentives of reward and punishment – also known as “the carrot and the stick.” The thinking here is that rewards reinforce desirable behavior, while punishment prevents undesirable behavior. During industrialization, this was actually effective – at least to some degree. With the prospect of higher wages in mind, laborers hauled more coal; and when threatened with dismissal for stealing materials, they were less likely to take anything from the workplace.
    3. The problem with version 2.0 is that workers who aren’t driven by the consequences of the carrot or the stick fundamentally have no enthusiasm for their work and will try to shirk any responsibility. Therefore, those in management positions must direct and supervise them. That’s bad news for today’s knowledge economy, which needs autonomous workers. With the carrot and the stick, you can force a worker to show up every day, stay for eight hours, and perform simple tasks. But you can’t force anyone to be curious, creative, and innovative. Instead, you can cater to someone’s intrinsic motivation – you can make them want to be curious, creative, and innovative. And that’s why Pink believes we have to upgrade our economy to Motivation 3.0.
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    What is Drive (Old Version) about?

    In Drive, Daniel Pink describes the characteristics of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. He reveals that many companies rely on extrinsic motivation, even though this is often counterproductive. The book explains clearly how we can best motivate ourselves and others by understanding intrinsic motivation.

    Who should read Drive (Old Version)?

    • Anyone who wants to learn about the components of human motivation
    • Anyone who wants to find out how to effectively motivate themselves and others

    About the Author

    Daniel Pink studied linguistics and jurisprudence. He rose to prominence with his book A Whole New Mind. Along with Drive, other books of his have ranked in the New York Times Bestseller list, including To Sell is Human, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and Free Agent Nation. Between 1995 and 1997, Pink was chief speechwriter for US Vice President Al Gore.

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