Driven Book Summary - Driven Book explained in key points
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Driven summary

Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria

How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices

3.6 (27 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Driven by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria is a leadership book that explores the four fundamental drives that motivate people. Understanding these drives can help leaders create environments that cultivate success and foster collaboration.

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    Scientists still don’t fully understand why the human brain evolved to become so complex.

    Scientists now know that humans, chimpanzees and pygmy chimpanzees all share the same ancestor. A few million years ago, however, the three species began evolving in markedly different ways.

    The most significant evolutionary shift toward the Homo sapiens we are today occurred between 75,000 and 100,000 years ago. Prior to that, early humans progressed in a rather straightforward manner: the weapons they used were quite simple and changed very little over time.

    The Great Leap changed all that. In the Great Leap, humans started developing more advanced hunting techniques and building their own shelters – they even decorated them!

    Scientists still aren’t entirely sure why this happened, but there are several theories.

    One theory suggests that the Great Leap resulted from our increase in brain size. It’s our brains that make us who we are and human brains are about three times bigger than those of our closest ancestors.

    The theory goes that because we developed a larger brain, we also developed different representational systems in our memory. These representational systems then propelled us into the beings we are today.

    First, there’s the episodic system, the basic form of memory we share with other animals. Then there’s the mimetic system, which allows us to learn by copying other people’s behavior. Most apes don’t have a mimetic system.

    We also have a mythic system and a theoretic system, which both developed alongside language. These are the systems that set us apart – they enable us to share our knowledge and store it in written language. It’s the mythic system and the theoretic system that make humans so much more intelligent than any other species.

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    What is Driven about?

    Driven (2002) is about the four innate urges that determine our behavior: the drive to defend, the drive to acquire, the drive to bond and the drive to learn. It outlines the reasons these traits arose in humans specifically, what they mean for us in the modern world and how we can use our knowledge of them to our benefit.

    Driven Review

    Driven (2001) by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria explores the deep drivers behind human behavior and how they influence our actions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents a comprehensive analysis of the four core drives that motivate us, shedding light on what truly pushes people to act.
    • The book connects psychological theories with real-world examples, making it both enlightening and relatable.
    • By understanding the complexity of human motivation, readers gain valuable insights into themselves and others, making interactions more meaningful and effective.

    Who should read Driven?

    • Anyone interested in psychology
    • Evolution or anthropology nerds
    • Managers who want their organization to run more efficiently

    About the Author

    Paul R. Lawrence is a writer and professor at Harvard Business School. His work focuses on organizational design, management and the psychological underpinnings of business. Nitin Nohria is also a writer and professor at Harvard Business School. He’s edited or coauthored several books, including The Differentiated Network.


    © Paul R. Lawrence: Driven copyright 2002, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    Driven FAQs 

    What is the main message of Driven?

    We learn that there are four drives behind our actions: the drive to acquire, bond, learn, and defend.

    How long does it take to read Driven?

    The reading time for Driven depends on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Driven a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Driven is worth reading because it provides valuable insights into human behavior and motivation, helping us better understand ourselves and others.

    Who is the author of Driven?

    Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria are the authors of Driven.

    What to read after Driven?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Driven, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Captivology by Ben Parr
    • Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
    • A New Way To Think by Roger L. Martin
    • Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
    • Filterworld by Kyle Chayka
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • The Seven Circles by Chelsey Luger & Thosh Collins
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Olivia Telford
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Born to Win by Zig Ziglar with Tom Ziglar