Monday, March 20, 2017

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Drive is basically about motivation and I ended up taking lots of notes while reading so here you go. Right now, motivation (called Motivation 2.0 in the book) is based on a carrot and stick approach, i.e. Rewarding something gets you more of it and punishing it gets you less. But experiments have shown that extrinsic rewards decrease intrinsic motivation and even altruistic behaviour. For example, when kids were given a reward for drawing (and that reward was made clear before they started), they were more likely to have lower levels of enjoyment of drawing, no matter how much they liked it before. Also, money makes people give less blood. That said, extrinsic rewards/carrot and stick system is useful for tasks which are linear and have a clear goal in mind.

From there, the author comes up with two personality types: Type I (intrinsic) and X (extrinsic). No one is purely one type and everyone is on the continuum, but the author believes that we are naturally Type I. And even though I is mainly intrinsic, they still need things like adequate pay, which is kind of like what Herzberg's hygiene factors were talking about.

With these two types in mind, the author goes into detail on intrinsic motivation and defining three factors:

1. Autonomy - people need autonomy but don't suddenly switch their environment, they'll struggle.

2. Mastery - Flow is essential to mastery but does not guarantee it. Mastery is also a mindset: if you believe that intelligence is fixed then... wrong mindset. If you think you can increase it, it leads to mastery. For more, read Anderson Ericsson (who was referenced).

3. Purpose - to quote the book: "Autonomous people working towards mastery perform at very high levels. But those who do so in the service of some greater objective can achieve even more." But this motivator is not recognised by Motivation 2.0

From there, the book talks about the Type I toolkit, about what individuals, companies, parents etc can do. Suggestions include giving yourself a flow test, doing an autonomy audit and such.

One thing was that the book talked about unschooling, which I have some reservations about (though if everyone was born as Type I, like the author believes, I can see why he would recommend it), but it did recommend The Teenage Liberation Handbook which I really hated so I have mixed feelings about it. Plus, even if everyone is born Type I, external factors may make unschooling totally unsuitable (for example, if the parents let kids watch as much TV as they want).

There are also book recommendations, guru recommendations, and even fitness recommendations.

I would totally recommend people to read this book with Peak by Anders Ericsson and Grit by Angela Duckworth. This is on motivation, Peak is on practice and Grit is on hanging on. Someone should package these books as a set.


  1. This sounds very interesting, Eustacia! I've been taking a series of trainings at work that focus on strengths and using those strengths as motivators. Many of the concepts mentioned here are similar.

    Until about a year ago, I had never known unschooling existed. I had been familiar with homeschooling, just not the idea of unschooling.

    Sounds like a worthwhile book! Thanks for sharing, Eustacia!

    1. That sounds like an interesting course! I had to study a few motivation theories for business, but they weren't really how the book described motivation, which made it a good read for me(:

      Hope you get the chance to read it soon!


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