Book Review: Drive – Daniel Pink #I with extended Notes

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us: Pink, Daniel H.:  8601420442870: Books
Daniel Pink – Drive – what motivates us besides rewards and basic desires

I had a chance to re-read this book. It is about motivation – intrinsic motivation which is the desire to learn, grown and thrive. I would give this book a 3/5. It is pretty good in the theory and outline, but short on specifics.

Scientists then knew that two main drives powered behavior.

The first was the biological drive. Humans and other animals ate to satiate their hunger, drank to quench.

If biological motivations came from within, this second drive came from without— the rewards and punishments the environment delivered for behaving in certain ways.

The performance of the task, provided intrinsic reward. Perhaps this newly discovered drive or “intrinsic motivation”—was real.

When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity.

Rewards can deliver a short-term boost—just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours. But the effect wears off—and, worse, can reduce a person’s longer-term motivation to continue the project.

person climbing concrete stairs
Intrinsic Motivation

Human beings, have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore, and to learn.”

One who is interested in developing and enhancing intrinsic motivation in children, employees, students, etc., should not concentrate on external- control systems such as monetary rewards.

Daniel Pink

The book has 3 parts.

Part One will look at the flaws in our reward-and-punishment system and propose a new way to think about motivation.

Part Two will examine the three elements of Type I behavior and show how individuals and organizations are using them to improve performance and deepen satisfaction.

Part Three, the Type I Toolkit, is a comprehensive set of resources to help you create settings in which Type I behavior can flourish. Here you’ll find everything from dozens of exercises to awaken motivation in yourself and others.

Part One – A New Operating System

Enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on the project, is the strongest and most pervasive driver. Economics was the study of human economic behavior. We leave lucrative jobs to take low-paying ones that provide a clearer sense of purpose.

Work consists mainly of simple, not particularly interesting, tasks. The only way to get people to do them is to incentivize them properly and monitor them carefully.

External rewards and punishments—both carrots and sticks—can work nicely for algorithmic tasks. The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. In other words, rewards can perform a weird sort of behavioral alchemy: They can transform an interesting task into a drudge. They can turn play into work.

People use rewards expecting to gain the benefit of increasing another person’s motivation and behavior, but in so doing, they often incur the unintentional and hidden cost of undermining that person’s intrinsic motivation toward the activity.

Algorithmic (following a set path) but heuristic. Study of artists over a longer period shows that a concern for outside rewards might hinder eventual success.

Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others—sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on—can sometimes have dangerous side effects.

Like all extrinsic motivators, goals narrow our focus.

The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road.

Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed endemic to modern life involve shortcuts.

The Seven Deadly Flaws

1. They can extinguish intrinsic motivation.

2. They can diminish performance.

3. They can crush creativity.

4. They can crowd out good behavior.

5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior.

6. They can become addictive.

7. They can foster short-term thinking.

Carrots and sticks aren’t all bad. If they were, Motivation 2.0 would never have flourished so long or accomplished so much.

The assignment neither inspires deep passion nor requires deep thinking. Offer a rationale for why the task is necessary. Acknowledge that the task is boring.  Allow people to complete the task their own way.

Autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.

Part 2 – The Three Elements

Autonomy – Mastery – Purpose: What Motivates a Tester – jasmin tests code
3 elements that drive us – Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose


“The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive—and autonomy can be the antidote.”

TOM KELLEY General Manager, IDEO

Type I behavior emerges when people have autonomy over the four T’s: their task, their time, their technique, and their team.


“Try to pick a profession in which you enjoy even the most mundane, tedious parts. Then you will always be happy.”

WILL SHORTZ Puzzle guru


Nine Strategies for Awakening Your Motivation

  1. Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance.
  2. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition matters.
  3. Seek constant, critical feedback
  4. Focus ruthlessly on where you need help.
  5. Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting.
  6. Praise effort and strategy, not intelligence. As Dweck’s research has shown, children who
  7. Make praise specific.
  8. Praise in private.
  9. Offer praise only when there’s a good reason for


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; and

(3) Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.