Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel H. Pink
This is a very good book by Daniel Pink about motivation – what works, what doesn’t, and how our effort to motivate others can sometimes backfire. His argument is that there is a dramatic disconnect between the science of motivations/incentives and current business practices. We don’t leverage intrinsic motivation (autonomy, mastery, and purpose) at work, especially for right-brain, creative work that is becoming more common in the US. His basic points are well supported with science, a few examples from the business world, and some practical ideas for how to implement them.
Since I listened to the audio book, I sent an email to Daniel Pink asking if he could send a link with some of the lists and exercises. He replied the same day, graciously sending what I requested and more. He is passionate about helping others to understand human motivation, and that passion comes through in the quality of his book.
For a preview of his key points, I also recommend watching his talk on TED: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html
As with “A Whole New Mind”, I think he over estimates the degree of change most people will experience at work between the next 10 years and the last 50 – much of what most people do will still be relatively routine. That being the case, one concern is that over enthusiastic managers may try to apply Dan’s ideas where they are not the best fit. Another is that significant thought and creativity will be required to apply his ideas in many common business situations. This doesn’t mean his fundamental points are wrong – in fact, I agree with him – just that his ideas will take time to move into common practice.