Drive

by Daniel H. Pink

Troy Shu
Troy Shu
Updated at: March 04, 2024
 16 min read
Drive
Drive

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What are the big ideas?

  1. The book challenges the prevalent belief that rewards increase motivation and performance by introducing the concept of intrinsic motivation being equally important, especially for nonroutine, creative tasks. It also highlights how external incentives can actually decrease motivation and performance and negatively impact creativity, ethical behavior, and long-term goals.
  2. The book proposes a shift from Type X behavior (extrinsically motivated) to Type I behavior (intrinsically motivated), suggesting that the latter promotes greater physical and mental well-being and has been linked to better psychological health and lower defensive behaviors. It also provides specific recommendations for how to encourage Type I behavior, such as ensuring adequate baseline rewards, allowing autonomy in completing tasks, and offering nontangible rewards like praise and positive feedback.
  3. The book emphasizes the importance of purpose in motivation and performance, revealing that profit motives are important but not the only motive for individuals and organizations. It suggests that having a sense of purpose leads to greater satisfaction, better relationships, and more significant achievements.
  4. The book introduces the concept of autonomy as a crucial factor in motivation and accountability, proposing that people intrinsically want to be autonomous over task, time, technique, and team. It also suggests that transitioning to a more autonomous workplace requires scaffolding and understanding individual desires.
  5. The book provides insights into the role of flow (deep engagement in an activity) for well-being, revealing that it can be found both at work and in leisure activities. It encourages individuals and organizations to focus on intrinsic motivation and mastery instead of extrinsic rewards and performance goals and suggests that society and organizations often unintentionally discourage flow experiences.

Summary

INTRODUCTION

Takeaways

  • The book is about motivation and challenges the prevailing view that rewards increase interest and performance.
  • The Soma experiments conducted by Deci in the late 1960s showed that paying people for completing puzzles led to a decrease in their intrinsic motivation.
  • Harlow's research on monkeys showed that social isolation led to mental and emotional problems, while providing them with toys and companionship improved their well-being.
  • Deci's findings contradicted the belief that rewards enhance motivation and instead revealed that they can reduce intrinsic motivation.
  • The book argues that businesses continue to operate from outdated assumptions about human potential and individual performance, relying on reward-and-punishment systems that often fail.
  • Type I behavior is a new way of thinking about motivation, grounded in science and focused on autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
  • Part One will introduce the flaws in our reward-and-punishment system and propose Type I behavior as an alternative.
  • Part Two will explore the three elements of Type I behavior: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
  • Part Three will provide resources to help create settings where Type I behavior can flourish, including exercises, discussion questions, and applications to education and personal life.

Quotes

“The monkeys solved the puzzle simply because they found it gratifying to solve puzzles. They enjoyed it. The joy of the task was its own reward.”

“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.”

“Motivation is deeply personal and only you know what words or images will resonate with you.”

Drive: The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0

Takeaways

  • Motivation 2.0 is based on the assumption that people are primarily extrinsically motivated and need external rewards or punishments to work effectively.
  • However, recent research suggests that intrinsic motivation (doing things for their own sake) is also important, especially for heuristic, creative tasks.
  • External incentives can actually decrease motivation and performance for such tasks.
  • Modern work is becoming more complex and less routine, requiring self-direction and creativity.
  • Many jobs are being automated or outsourced to countries where labor is cheaper, leading to a greater need for nonroutine, right-brain work.
  • Self-directed work is increasing due to the rise of telecommuting and leaner, flatter organizations.
  • Motivation 2.0 may not be effective in today's economy as it doesn't account for intrinsic motivation or the changing nature of work.

Quotes

“Motivation 1.0 presumed that humans were biological creatures, struggling to obtain our basic needs for food, security and sex.

Motivation 2.0 presumed that humans also responded to rewards and punishments. That worked fine for routine tasks but incompatible with how we organize what we do, how we think about what we do, and how we do what we do. We need an upgrade.

Motivation 3.0, the upgrade we now need, presumes that humans also have a drive to learn, to create, and to better the world.”

“that enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on the project, is the strongest and most pervasive driver.”

“find what drives us”

“So get rid of the unnecessary obligations, time-wasting distractions, and useless burdens that stand in your way.”

“Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational, a book that offers an entertaining and engaging overview of behavioral economics.”

“We leave lucrative jobs to take low-paying ones that provide a clearer sense of purpose.”

“for some people work remains routine, unchallenging, and directed by others. But for a surprisingly large number of people, jobs have become more complex, more interesting, and more self-directed.”

“Intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity; controlling extrinsic motivation is detrimental to creativity.”

“Nobody “manages” the open source contributors.”

“That’s why Linux and Wikipedia and Firefox work.”

Drive: CHAPTER 2 - Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don't Work . . .

Takeaways

  • Extrinsic motivators, such as rewards and punishments, can extinguish intrinsic motivation by making people view tasks as less enjoyable and meaningful.
  • They can diminish performance by narrowing focus on the reward or punishment rather than the task itself, leading to poorer quality work.
  • They can crush creativity by discouraging exploration of new ideas and approaches and encouraging conformity to rules and expectations.
  • They can crowd out good behavior by making people prioritize the attainment of rewards over ethical considerations.
  • They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior as people look for ways to maximize rewards or minimize punishments.
  • They can become addictive as people come to rely on external motivators to feel satisfied or validated, rather than finding fulfillment within themselves.
  • They can foster short-term thinking by encouraging a focus on immediate rewards rather than long-term goals and consequences.

Quotes

“An object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted on by an outside force.”

“Newtonian physics runs into problems at the subatomic level. Down there--in the land of hadrons, quarks, and Schrödinger's cat--things gent freaky. The cool rationality of Isaac Newton gives way to the bizarre unpredictability of Lewis Carroll.”

“Of course, the starting point for any discussion of motivation in the workplace is a simple fact of life: People have to earn a living. Salary, contract payments, some benefits, a few perks are what I call “baseline rewards.” If someone’s baseline rewards aren’t adequate or equitable, her focus will be on the unfairness of her situation and the anxiety of her circumstance. You’ll get neither the predictability of extrinsic motivation nor the weirdness of intrinsic motivation. You’ll get very little motivation at all. The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.”

“grades become a reward for compliance—but don’t have much to do with learning. Meanwhile, students whose grades don’t measure up often see themselves as failures and give up trying to learn.”

“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.”

“For artists, scientists, inventors, schoolchildren, and the rest of us, intrinsic motivation—the drive do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing—is essential for high levels of creativity.”

“if-then” rewards usually do more harm than good. By neglecting the ingredients of genuine motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—they limit what each of us can achieve.”

“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.”

“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.”

“When the reward is the activity itself--deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one's best--there are no shortcuts.”

“In fact, the business school professors suggest they should come with their own warning label: Goals may cause systematic problems for organizations due to narrowed focus, unethical behavior, increased risk taking, decreased cooperation, and decreased intrinsic motivation. Use care when applying goals in your organization.”

“Here’s why an allowance is good for kids: Having a little of their own money, and deciding how to save or spend it, offers a measure of autonomy and teaches them to be responsible with cash. Here’s why household chores are good for kids: Chores show kids that families are built on mutual obligations and that family members need to help each other. Here’s why combining allowances with chores is not good for kids. By linking money to the completion of chores, parents turn an allowance into an “if-then” reward. This sends kids a clear (and clearly wrongheaded) message: In the absence of a payment, no self-respecting child would willingly set the table, empty the garbage, or make her own bed. It converts a moral and familial obligation into just another commercial transaction—and teaches that the only reason to do a less-than-desirable task for your family is in exchange for payment.”

“There’s no going back. Pay your son to take out the trash—and you’ve pretty much guaranteed the kid will never do it again for free.”

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one's sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

CHAPTER 2A

Takeaways

  • Ensure adequate baseline rewards for motivation
  • For routine tasks, use rewards as a motivational booster shot without harmful side effects
  • Offer rationale for why the task is necessary and acknowledge it's boring when using rewards
  • Allow people autonomy in completing the task their own way
  • Use rewards carefully for non-routine, creative work; unexpected, now that rewards are best
  • Consider nontangible rewards like praise and positive feedback
  • Provide useful information about the work instead of controlling extrinsic motivators.

Quotes

“Rewards do not undermine people’s intrinsic motivation for dull tasks because there is little or no intrinsic motivation to be undermined.”

“Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose.”

CHAPTER 3: Drive

Takeaways

  • The Motivation 2.0 operating system depends on Type X behavior, which is fueled more by extrinsic desires than intrinsic ones.
  • The Motivation 3.0 operating system requires a shift from Type X to Type I behavior, which is fueled more by intrinsic desires than extrinsic ones.
  • Type I behavior is not fixed and can be learned; it is self-directed, devoted to mastery, and connects that quest for excellence to a larger purpose.
  • Type I behavior promotes greater physical and mental well-being and has been linked to better psychological health and lower defensive behaviors.
  • The shift from Type X to Type I requires addressing the three nutrients of autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Quotes

“we have three innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy.”

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

“If you believed in the “mediocrity of the masses,” as he put it, then mediocrity became the ceiling on what you could achieve.”

“children who are praised for “being smart” often believe that every encounter is a test of whether they really are. So to avoid looking dumb, they resist new challenges and choose the easiest path. By contrast, kids who understand that effort and hard work lead to mastery and growth are more willing to take on new, difficult tasks.”

“The most successful people, the evidence shows, often aren’t directly pursuing conventional notions of success. They’re working hard and persisting through difficulties because of their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.”

Drive: Autonomy

Takeaways

  • The traditional motivational operating system (Motivation 2.0) assumes that people need external rewards and punishments to be motivated, and that autonomy is a way to bypass accountability.
  • Motivation 3.0 assumes that people intrinsically want to be autonomous and accountable, and that providing autonomy over task, time, technique, and team is a pathway to motivation and accountability.
  • Autonomy is important for all types of work, from fixing sinks to painting masterpieces.
  • Transitioning to a more autonomous workplace requires scaffolding and understanding individual desires.
  • The course of human history has always moved in the direction of greater freedom.
  • Recognizing the truth of the human condition and the science that supports it can help us return to our natural state as autonomous individuals.

Quotes

“Management isn’t about walking around and seeing if people are in their offices,” he told me. It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work.”

“The freedom they have to do great work is more valuable, and harder to match, than a pay raise—and employees’ spouses, partners, and families are among ROWE’s staunchest advocates.”

“Have you ever seen a six-month-old or a three-year-old who’s not curious and self-directed? I haven’t. That’s how we are out of the box.”

“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”

“autonomy over four aspects of work: what people do, when they do it, how they do it, and whom they do it with. As Atlassian’s experience shows, Type I behavior emerges when people have autonomy over the four T’s: their task, their time, their technique, and their team.”

“Hire good people, and leave them alone.”

“Lawyers often face intense demands but have relatively little “decision latitude.” Behavioral scientists use this term to describe the choices, and perceived choices, a person has. In a sense, it’s another way of describing autonomy—and lawyers are glum and cranky because they don’t have much of it.”

“In the past, work was defined primarily by putting in time, and secondarily on getting results. We need to flip that model,” Ressler told me. “No matter what kind of business you’re in, it’s time to throw away the tardy slips, time clocks, and outdated industrial-age thinking.”

“a “grouplet”—a small, self-organized team that has almost no budget and even less authority, but that tries to change something within the company.”

Drive: Mastery

Takeaways

  • Motivation 3.0 focuses on intrinsic motivation and mastery as opposed to extrinsic rewards or performance goals
  • Type X behavior, which is commonly seen in people who lack intrinsic motivation, holds an entity theory of intelligence, prefers performance goals to learning goals, and disdains effort as a sign of weakness.
  • Type I behavior, which is characterized by intrinsic motivation, has an incremental theory of intelligence, prizes learning goals over performance goals, and welcomes effort as a way to improve at something that matters.
  • Mastery requires effort and long-term commitment, often involving setbacks and adversity. Grit, or perseverance and passion for long-term goals, is an important predictor of success in many fields.
  • Flow, or deep engagement in an activity, is essential for well-being and can be found both at work and in leisure activities.
  • Children naturally seek out flow experiences and should be encouraged to continue doing so as they grow older. Society and organizations often unintentionally discourage flow by focusing on extrinsic rewards and performance goals rather than intrinsic motivation and mastery.

Quotes

“Living a satisfying life requires more than simply meeting the demands of those in control. Yet in our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you through the day, but the latter will get you through the night.”

“Report cards are not a potential prize, but a way to offer students useful feedback on their progress. And Type I students understand that a great way to get feedback is to evaluate their own progress.”

“People can have two different mindsets, she says. Those with a “fixed mindset” believe that their talents and abilities are carved in stone. Those with a “growth mindset” believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a test of their worthiness. Growth mindsets see the same encounters as opportunities to improve.”

“Follow these steps—over and over again for a decade—and you just might become a master: • Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance. “People who play tennis once a week for years don’t get any better if they do the same thing each time,” Ericsson has said. “Deliberate practice is about changing your performance, setting new goals and straining yourself to reach a bit higher each time.” • Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repetition matters. Basketball greats don’t shoot ten free throws at the end of team practice; they shoot five hundred. • Seek constant, critical feedback. If you don’t know how you’re doing, you won’t know what to improve. • Focus ruthlessly on where you need help. While many of us work on what we’re already good at, says Ericsson, “those who get better work on their weaknesses.” • Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting. That’s why so few people commit to it, but that’s why it works.”

“mastery often involves working and working and showing little improvement”

“As Carol Dweck says, “Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.”

“Being a professional,” Julius Erving once said, “is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”

“Why reach for something you can never fully attain? But it’s also a source of allure. Why not reach for it? The joy is in the pursuit more than the realization. In the end, mastery attracts precisely because mastery eludes.”

“Once we realize that the boundaries between work and play are artificial, we can take matters in hand and begin the difficult task of making life more livable.”

Drive: Purpose

Takeaways

  • The science of human motivation reveals that profit motives are important but not the only motive for individuals and organizations.
  • Purpose is a crucial factor in high performance, creativity, and conceptual abilities.
  • If-then rewards (carrot-and-stick motivators) are effective in limited circumstances but can suppress high-level abilities.
  • Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the three essential elements of motivation according to self-determination theory.
  • Employees who have autonomy, mastery, and a sense of purpose report higher levels of satisfaction and subjective well-being than those who focus solely on profit goals.
  • Companies can improve their employees' emotional well-being by giving them control over how the organization gives back to the community through pro-social spending.
  • Physicians in high-profile settings like the Mayo Clinic have lower burnout rates when allowed to spend one day a week on the aspect of their job that is most meaningful to them.
  • Understanding the importance of purpose for individuals and organizations can lead to greater satisfaction, better relationships, and more significant achievements.
  • The science of motivation aligns with our intuition and experiences, making it an essential affirmation of our humanity.

Quotes

“And the first step in bulldozing these obstacles is to enumerate them. As Peters puts it, “What you decide not to do is probably more important than what you decide to do.”

“The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive, but our third drive—our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.”

“We're designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren't when we're clamoring for validation from others, but when we're listening to our own voice-doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves.”

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