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Summary: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

One of the professional development training items on the books for FY17-18 at work was a book I’ve had on my to-read list for several years: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.

This post gives a quick overview of what I learned, with more details to be found in this PDF.


The author provides an excellent summary:

“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system — which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators — doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:

  1. Autonomy — the desire to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery — the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters
  3. Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves”

The book is divided into three parts:

  1. A tour of motivation, where we’ve come from (business vs. behavioral science), and what’s needed to bridge the gap
  2. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose — what are they and how do they work
  3. How to take the ideas from the book and put them into action

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