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

Daniel Pink

The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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23 mins
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    Drive (New 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 (New Version) about?

    Drive (2009) points out that many organizations still follow a “carrot and stick” approach, using external incentives to motivate people. It explains why this is a bad idea and introduces a more effective solution: sparking engagement by catering to the psychology of intrinsic motivation.

    Who should read Drive (New Version)?

    • Psychology buffs interested in human behavior
    • Executives who’d like to leverage the power of intrinsic motivation
    • Anyone who wants to find out how to effectively motivate themselves

    About the Author

    Daniel Pink studied linguistics and jurisprudence. He’s written seven books, including A Whole New Mind, Drive, To Sell is Human, When, and The Power of Regret – which were all New York Times best sellers. Between 1995 and 1997, Pink was the chief speechwriter for US Vice President Al Gore.

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