Goodreads Review: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a teacher I have always remained ambivalent about just how much my job is to motivate my students. This was in part what drove me to read Drive. I enjoyed Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, which definitely had implications for my teaching practice. Pink has a genuine knack for making the research wonky material readable for the layperson, which is a strength. While I tend to read a lot of wonky research, I still appreciate reading the kind of research-lite that Pink is so good at serving. Ultimately, Drive is a compelling read, bridging the gap between the kind of methods we think are motivational and what truly tends to work most successfully.

Pink spends a lot of time exploring the rift between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and their associated techniques. He accurately explores how most typical business enterprises still rely on extrinsic, reward-and-punishment-style, methods. Often these efforts may even be counterproductive. Despite a vast amount of research and evidence that suggests finding ways to harness intrinsic motivation can be considerably more effective, we all find ourselves stuck in old fashioned modes. Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the three core intrinsic factors that Pink argues are the key to better motivation, what he calls the third drive.

While this gap between what science and research continues to understand and what business actually does persists, Pink is optimistic that this can and will change. I am not quite so sure that I have the same degree of optimism. However, I believe that the case that he makes is a compelling one, albeit perhaps a little oversimplified. There are a lot of interesting elements that can be taken and applied format he book. On the most fundamental level it is a great introduction to the field of motivation and perhaps a precursor to the work of the individuals he highlights in his exploration.

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