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.

    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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