Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

Daniel H. Pink is the author of a number of provocative bestselling books on the changing world of work.

Dan’s articles on business and technology appear in many publications, including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. He has provided analysis of business trends on CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR, and other networks in the U.S. and abroad. He also lectures to corporations, associations, and universities around the world on economic transformation and the new workplace.

Dan held his last real job in the White House, where he served from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore. He also worked as an aide to U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and in other positions in politics and government.

His books include: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future charts the rise of right-brain thinking in modern economies, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself.

His latest book is Drive, published by Canongate Books in January 2010.

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.

We’ve been conditioned to think that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is either through fear of punishment or through external rewards such as money and fame.  Dan exposes this common mistake and describe how people and corporations can embrace his innovative approach to the science of motivation.

Money can be a powerful motivator, but as studies performed by universities around the country (and this video) explain, rewarding people financially only works to a point. Beyond that, you need autonomy and purpose.

17 thoughts on “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

  1. “This book has really made me consider other motivations that compel people to take action.” – “Use it (the book) in working with cross functional teams. Should change the way we drive behavior as well.” I would like to personally thank Daniel for being apart of the IBM Competitive Edge Book Club experience and for creating a book that one can learn from and apply to everyday life. Best Regards, Brien Convery IBM Business Operations Leader and Competitive Edge Book Club Leader.

    1. Hello there,
      It’s a transformative book for transformative times. What I took away was that what truly motivates us to be creative, work smarter and live better are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I’ve read where money isn’t the strong motivator most people think it is, but Mr. Pink makes the point clearly with illuminating examples. Thanks for finding this.

    When you have 38 minutes (it’s a quick 38 minutes), you should look into this conversation from “Tech Nation” between host Dr Moira Gunn and author Guy Kawasaki about his book “Enchantment: Changing the Hearts, Minds and Actions”. It’s how to enchant (= capture the imagination, interest, goodwill) of a customer, boss, or an employee and how to resist enchantment aimed AT you. It’s about motivation. Kawasaki also stresses the failure of money as a motivator. He’s a former Chief Evangelist of Apple. Apparently, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group) reviewed the book very favorably. I just listened to the conversation yesterday, so haven’t read it yet. Very interesting!

    http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4810.html

    1. I haven’t had time to explore this topic more fully. I will however put that on my reading list and when I have time I will check into it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Holy crap this is important! I steer projects for a set of 3 agile development teams and, even though I spend all my FREE TIME working on learning programming and blogging about product ownership, I didn’t understand this. Passing it straight up the chain at my organization RIGHT NOW.

    Thanks timethief.

    -Unbreakablepo

    1. I agree. :)

      This is what Sylvia Lafair said in Altruism at Work:
      “Perhaps we have needed this economic downturn to see the benefits of team collaboration, of doing for others, that rest in the realm of helping each other rather than staying so darned focused on the competitive edge.

      Dan Pink, in his book “A Whole New Mind” discusses the needs of leaders for this time, the conceptual age. He points out “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.” http://www.womenonbusiness.com/altruism-at-work/

  4. One of the best videos around.
    It brings back faith into humanity. Money is not all what motivates us :)

  5. I think this points the way to a better world if we can turn this world in that direction.

    I watched Dank Pink give this talk on TED a while ago, and if you would like to see the man speaking, here is the link:

    Dan Pink On Ted

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