Drive, Daniel Pink - Book Summary

Drawing on motivational research conducted over the past four decades, Pink outlines the differences between theory and practice – and their impact on our lives. He proves that, while popular throughout the twentieth century, the old "carrot and stick" approach is no longer relevant to motivating people to overcome challenges in today's world. .

In Behavioral Motivation , he outlines three factors that create true motivation:

  • Autonomy – the desire to be in control of one's own life.
  • Mastery – the urge to constantly improve and add to your knowledge on any subject.
  • Ideal – the desire to contribute not only to oneself.

Who should read this book?

  • Those who want to learn about the factors in human motivation.
  • Those who want to find the most effective way to motivate themselves and others.
  • Those interested in social psychology and human decision-making in general.


Daniel H. Pink is an American writer, author of four famous books that changed the world of work. He is also a speaker at companies, organizations, universities and educational conferences. From 1995 to 1997, Pink was the lead speechwriter for US Vice President Al Gore.

Momentum 1.0 and 2.0

From about 50,000 years ago to the last few centuries, humans were concerned only with survival - they were driven by motivation 1.0 - basic needs such as: finding food and drink, earning a safe place to sleep, the desire to copulate to reproduce and perpetuate the species.

However, with the age of industrialization, this began to change. The production cycle is becoming more complex and people have new motivations to work: Exogenous Motivation 2.0 – third-party rewards or punishments aka “carrots and sticks” ". The strategy behind it is that rewards will promote desirable behavior, while punishments discourage undesirable behaviour.

Motivation 2.0 has been dominating the world of work. The management of most companies believes that rewards and punishments are two of the most important factors that motivate employees to work.

Intrinsic Motivation 3.0

Have 8 monkeys play a mechanical puzzle. Without giving them food or praise, of course they have no 1.0 or 2.0 motivation to solve the puzzle. However, the monkeys tried again and, after understanding the operation, happily solved without any outside encouragement. So are humans.

Have you ever been curious about the development of the giant encyclopedia Wikipedia? Tens of thousands of people have volunteered to write and edit Wikipedia articles simply out of interest. They spend their precious time and effort without receiving any material money in return. Although Wikipedia relies mostly on amateur writers, it has grown and achieved great success. In contrast, Microsoft's Encarta dictionary, Wikipedia's rival product, paid a lot of professional authors and editors but still failed and had to be shut down a few years ago.

In the two examples above, what drives the behavior of humans and animals? That's intrinsic motivation 3.0. When a person finds work he likes, it doesn't take too many rewards to encourage him to work.

Intrinsically motivated people want to decide when to do something and take responsibility for it. They don't need guidance or rewards, because they like and are willing to do without asking for anything.

When the “stick and carrot” backfired

Motivation 2.0 can be effective with repetitive tasks such as packing groceries at the supermarket, it makes employees more productive, but with difficult tasks or requiring high creative skills. then this method can easily lead to fraud or reduce performance.

For example, in most garages, if a mechanic completes a certain amount of repair work within a period of time they will receive a reward. Employers expect extrinsic incentives to motivate workers, resulting in satisfied customers.

But in the end, the strategy has disastrous consequences: workers only focus on achieving results to receive rewards, they even fix unnecessary parts that make customers uncomfortable and have a bad impression of the company. company.

The promise of carrots often produces the same mixed results. An agility test is held in India. Participants are rewarded with a sum of money if the ball hits the target and, surprisingly, those who are promised the most rewards perform the worst. Financial incentives make them feel more pressured, not only not improving their performance, but also hindering their psychology.

The most dangerous is when the "carrot and stick" method along with the basic needs - motivation 2.0 and 1.0 make people forget about motivation 3.0: Extrinsic motivation destroys intrinsic motivation.

As children, we are highly motivated from within: we are not afraid to learn, to observe everything around us. However, we gradually change as we grow up, the desire to seek challenges and novelty dwindles. Little by little, we stop honing our skills.

Intrinsic motivation gradually disappears when people have to live in a world where everything depends on extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation towards perfection

Successful people in their fields all have one key element of Motivation 3.0 in common: the inner drive to perfection. It helps them improve themselves and maintain their passion and determination on the path to pursuing their goals.

Creative people with a desire for perfection often work in a “climax,” when they have the highest concentration and passion, leaving the outside world alone and completely immersed in the task. This state can not last long, it appears in intervals but it is associated with perfectionism, continuous development and leads to a new "climax". The sense of success and belief in continuous improvement drive people to rise.

The people who are difficult to motivate are the ones who always think that their skills have not improved much from the start, no matter how much practice. Those who believe that they can develop further will work hard to improve themselves.

While perfection may be something we can never achieve, it's still a goal we should aim for: we need to be ambitious enough to achieve the best we can.

Pursue the meaning of life

A survey was conducted with University of Rochester students with a question of life purpose. There are people who want to make money, want to be famous, there are people who want to develop personally and help others with specific jobs such as working for international relief organizations.

A few years later, the researchers returned to interview the same students to see how far they had come. Those who have a goal of making money are not satisfied even though they have been promoted to senior managers in large companies. They are also often worried and in crisis. In contrast, the latter group said they lived happier lives and rarely had psychological problems.

Having a big goal in mind is also more inspiring and motivating than just wanting to do something. Instead of trying to get the most profit, those who are after the meaning of life want to do something that contributes to society - also gives strength to themselves.

Self-determination boosts intrinsic motivation

There are some companies that have adopted a management approach that depends entirely on the autonomy of employees, instead of clamping and monitoring, leaders let go of control or let employees do things on their own. .

The most typical is Google, which allows its employees to choose their own work schedule and dedicate 20% of their time to developing their creative projects. This motivational strategy worked: during that time, Googlers created hit products like Google News or Gmail.

Your teammates are also a big factor in your motivation. At Whole Foods, employees and managers choose new people together. At WL Gore & Partner, anyone who wants to be a team leader has to find people willing to work under them.

Whether we're scientists, cashiers, or mechanics, we're all more committed to our jobs when we have agency. Some people want more control over their schedules, some want control over who to work with. If they are given this freedom, they will develop better, be more satisfied at work, less prone to burnout. In summary, self-determination positively affects motivation.

Upgrade to 3.0 for corporate efficiency  

Intrinsic motivation is no longer a secret, but many companies still don't know how to capitalize on it. The motivation they give employees continues to be foreign “carrots and sticks”, this conservative management motto only creates passivity and inertia.

The most creative employees when motivated from within, this productivity will benefit the whole company. Simple measures like surprise attention can bring about many changes. More than anything, constructive praise will help employees focus on the joy of work, their intrinsic motivation will naturally increase.

Those who have a say in the company's decision-making process also have greater intrinsic motivation. When leaders clearly emphasize the individual's contribution to the success of the whole company, each person will feel that their actions are meaningful and they become more committed.

The perfectionist drive is also achieved through a balanced allocation of work: Each employee should be given a task of complexity that is stimulating enough to challenge their abilities, but not so difficult to discourage them.

To make employees feel that they are doing good work for the community, it is advisable to link their work with charities or social organizations. As a result, they will work with a very happy feeling that they are making a positive contribution, fighting for a greater mission.

An administrator upgrading the Motivational 3.0 “operating system” modifies his rewards accordingly, promoting self-determination, perfectionism, and meaningful goals. As a result, employees will show a more dedicated, long-term commitment, not just going to work according to obligations without great ambition.

Main message:

Rewards and punishments are only as effective in the short term as energy drinks. In the long run, they cause harmful behavior and destroy intrinsic motivation. Employee passion and dedication can be better built if they have self-determination, a thirst for perfection, and meaningful goals.