Drive | Notes & Review

Daniel Pink. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books, 2009. (242 pages)


Pink starts with the stories and experiments of Harry Harlow and Edward Deci. Harlow’s experiment (lab monkeys solving a puzzle) offered a novel theory–what amounted to a third drive: “The performance of the task,” he said, “provided intrinsic reward. … The joy of the task was its own reward.” (3)

Edward Deci chose the Soma puzzle cube as his experiment, Finding that not only were rewards not effective, they were having a negative effect on motivation.”When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity. … Human beings, Deci said, have an ‘inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore, and to learn.’ ” (8)

In scientific terms, it was akin to rolling a steel ball down an inclined plane to measure its velocity–only to watch the ball float into the air instead. It suggested that our understanding of the gravitational pulls on our behavior was inadequate–that what we thought were fixed laws had plenty of loopholes. (4)

“This is a book about motivation. I will show that much of what we believe about the subject just isn’t so–and that the insights that Harlow and Deci began uncovering a few decades ago come much closer to the truth.

PART ONE: A New Operating System

Chapter 1. The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0

Imagine it’s 1995. You sit down with an economist. She says to you, “I’m going to describe two new encyclopedias–one just out, the other to be launched in a few years. You have to predict which will be more successful in 2010.” The first one comes from Microsoft. Well-compensated managers will oversee the project to paid writers, and then will sell the CD-ROM and later online. The second encyclopedia won’t come from a company. It will be created by tens of thousands of people who write and edit articles for fun. Which one of these encyclopedias will be the largest and most popular in the world and the other will be defunct?

On October 31, 2009, Microsoft pulled the plug on MSN Encarta, and Wikipedia is the largest and most popular encyclopedia in the world. (15-17)

“Most of us don’t think much about operating systems. We notice them only when they start failing–when the hardware and software they’re suppose to manage grow too large and complicated for the current operating system to handle. … Societies also have operating systems.” (17)

Motivation 1.0: survival. It worked well. Until it didn’t. As humans formed more complex societies, bumping up against strangers and needing to cooperate in order to get things done, an operating system based purely on the biological drive was inadequate. In fact, sometimes we needed ways to restrain this drive–to prevent me from swiping your dinner and you from stealing my spouse. And so in a feat of remarkable cultural engineering, we slowly replaced it with Motivation 2.0: rewards and punishments. At the core, humans are more than the sum of our biological urges. However, it also suggests that we aren’t much different than horses–that the way to get us moving int he right direction is by dangling a crunchier carrot or wielding a sharper stick. But what this operating system lacked in enlightenment, it made up for in effectiveness. It worked well–extremely well. Until it didn’t.

But in the first ten years of this century–a period of truly staggering underachievement in business, technology, and social progress–we’ve discovered that this sturdy, old operating system doesn’t work nearly as well. It crashes–often and unpredictably. It forces people to devise workarounds to bypass its flaws. Most of all, it is proving incompatible with many aspects of contemporary business.

In April 2008, Vermont became the first US state to allow a new type of business called the “low-profit limited liability corporation.” Dubbed an L3C, this entity is a corporation–but not as we typically think of it. An L3C “operates like a for-profit business generating at least modest profits, but its primary aim [is] to offer significant social benefits.” (24) Muhammad Yunus has begun creating what he calls “social businesses.”

“Economics [is] the study of behavior.” (25)

“Suppose somebody gives me ten dollars and tells me to share it–some, all, or none–with you. If you accept my offer, we both get to keep the money. If you reject it, neither of us gets anything. If I offered you six dollars (keeping for for myself), would you take it? Almost certainly. If I offered you five, you’d probably take that, too. But what if I offered you two dollars? … In an experiment replicated around the world, most people rejected offers of two dollars and below.” (26-7) Motivation 2.0 assumes we would act as robotic wealth-maximizers. However, sometimes these motivators don’t work. Often, they inflict collateral damage.

What’s more, if people do things for lunk-headed, backward-looking reasons, why wouldn’t we also do things for significance-seeking, self-actualizing reasons? If we’re predictably irrational–and we clearly are–why couldn’t we also be predictably transcendent? (27)

Behavioral scientists often divide what we do into two categories: “algorithmic” and “heuristic.” An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single path way to one conclusion. A heuristic task is the opposite. You have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. (29)

30% of job growth now comes from algorithmic work, while 70% comes from heuristic. A key reason: Routine work can be outsourced or automated; artistic, empathic, nonroutine work generally cannot. (30)

Intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity; controlling extrinsic motivation is detrimental to creativity. – Teresa Amabile (30)

Chapter 2. Seven Reasons Carrots and Sticks (Often) Don’t Work

An object in motion will stay in motion, and an object at rest will stay at rest, unless acted on by an outside force. Motivation 2.0 is similar: Rewarding an activity will get you more of it. Punishing an activity will get you less of it. (34)

In other words, rewards can perform a weird sort of behavioral alchemy: They can transform an interesting task into a drudge. They can turn play into work. Let’s call this the Sawyer Effect. (37)

Negative effect: with contingent rewards, people lose their autonomy. We lose productivity. We lose creativity. “Reward, by their very nature, narrow our focus.” (44) “Mixing rewards with inherently interesting, creative, or noble tasks–deploying them without understanding the peculiar science of motivation–is a very dangerous game.” (49)

UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR: “Substantial evidence demonstrates that in addition to motivating constructive effort, goal setting can induce unethical behavior.” (50) “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.” (51) Contrast that approach with behavior sparked by intrinsic motivation…the only route to the destination is the high road.” (51)

The illustration of the Israeli day-care center:

As you all know, the official closing time of the day care center is 1600 every day. Since some parents have been coming late, we (with the approval of the Authority for Private Day-Care Centers in Israel) have decided to impose a fine on parents who come late to pick up their children. As of next Sunday a fine of NS10 will be charged every time a child is collected after 1610. This fine will be calculated monthly, it is to be paid together with the regular monthly payment. Sincerely, The manager of the day-care center.

After the introduction of the fine, there was observed a steady increase in the number of parents coming late. “The fine shifted the parents’ decision from a partly moral obligation (to be fair to my kids’ teachers) to a pure transaction (I can buy extra time). There wasn’t room for both. The punishment didn’t promote good behavior; it crowded it out.” (53)

ADDICTIONS: “…if we watch how people’s brains respond, promising them monetary rewards and giving them cocaine, nicotine, or amphetamines look disturbingly similar.” (55)

SHORT-TERM THINKING: The very presence of goals may lead employees to focus myopically on short-term gains and to lose sight of the potential devastating long-term effects on the organization.

Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon. (58)

CARROTS AND STICKS: The Seven Deadly Flaws

  1. They can extinguish intrinsic motivation.
  2. They can diminish performance.
  3. They can crush creativity.
  4. They can crowd out good behavior.
  5. They can encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior.
  6. They can become addictive.
  7. They can foster short-term thinking. (59)

Chapter 2A…and the Special Circumstances When They Do

While an operating system centered around rewards and punishments has outlived its usefulness and badly needs an upgrade, that doesn’t mean we should scrap its every piece.

“Is the task at hand routine?”

Carrots may help, and you’ll increase your chances of success by supplementing the rewards with three important practices:

  • Offer a rational for why the task is necessary.
  • Acknowledge that the task is boring.
  • Allow people to complete the task their own way.

The essential requirement: Any extrinsic reward should be unexpected and offered only after the task is complete. (66) In other words, where “if-then” rewards are a mistake, shift to “now that” rewards. … You’re simply offering your appreciation for their stellar work. But keep in mind one ginormous caveat: Repeated “now that” bonuses can quickly become expected “if-then” entitlements–which can ultimately crater effective performance. (67)

Two more guidelines:

  • Consider nontangible rewards. Praise and positive feedback are much less corrosive than cash and trophies.
  • Provide useful information.

When to Use Rewards: A Simple Flowchart

Chapter 3. Type I and Type X

A picture may be worth a thousand words–but sometimes neither is as potent as just two letters.

SDT: “Self-Determination Theory.” Many theories of behavior pivot around a particular human tendency. SDT, by contrast, begins with a notion of universal human needs. It argues that we have three innate psychological needs–competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy. When they’re thwarted, our motivation, productivity, and happiness plummit.” (71-72)

If there’s anything [fundamental] about our nature, it’s the capacity for interest. Some things facilitate it. Some things undermine it.

“We should focus our efforts on creating environments for our innate psychological needs to flourish. (72)

Type A personalities demonstrate,

a particular complex of personality traits, including excessive competition drive, aggressiveness, impatience, and a harrying sense of time urgency. Individuals displaying this pattern seem to be engaged in a chronic, ceaseless, and often fruitless struggle–with themselves, with others, with circumstances, with time, sometimes with life itself. – Meyer Friedman

Type B people were rarely harried by life or made hostile by its demands.They’re still ambitious and have a considerable drive, but its character is such that it seems to steady, give confidence, and security, rather than to goad, irritate, and infuriate as with Type A. … One key to reducing deaths from heart disease and improving public health is to help Type A’s learn to become a little more like Type B’s.

The alternative view to coercion, control, threats, and punishment is that taking an interest in work is “as natural as play or rest,” that creativity and ingenuity were widely distributed in the population, and that under the proper conditions, people will accept, and even seek, responsibility. (76)

Type I: Intrinsically motivated. Type X: Extrinsically motivated. “To be sure, reducing human behavior to two categories sacrifices a certain amount of nuance. … But we do have certain, often very clear, dispositions.” (78)

  • Type I behavior is made, not born.
  • Type I’s almost always outperform Type X’s in the long run.
  • Type I behavior does not disdain money or recognition. (“One reason fair and adequate pay is so essential is that it takes the issue of money off the table so they can focus on the work itself. By contrast, for many Type X’s, money is the table.. It’s why they do what they do. Recognition is similar.”)
  • Type I behavior is a renewable resource.
  • Type I behavior promotes greater physical and mental well-being.

PART TWO: The Three Elements

Chapter 4. Autonomy

ROWE: Results-only Work Environment.

“Management isn’t about walking around and seeing if people are in their offices. It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work. … Do grown-up employees doing sophisticated work need a leash of any length?” (86)

Decide against tying goals to compensation. Money, is only a “threshold motivator.” (87)

“Employees are not resources, they’re partners.” (88)

PLAYERS OR PAWNS?: Gary Hamel has observed that management is a technology. Management is built on certain assumptions about the basic natures of those being managed. It presumes that to take action or move forward, we need a prod–that absent a reward or punishment, we’d remain happily and inertly in place. It also presumes that once people do get moving, they need direction–that without a firm and reliable guide, they’d wander. But is that really our fundamental nature? Is this really our “default setting?” When we enter the world, are we wired to be passive an inert? Or are we wired to be active and engaged? … I’m conviced it’s the latter.” (88-89

Perhaps management isn’t responding to our supposedly natural state of passive inertia. Perhaps management is one of the forces that’s switching our default setting and producing that state. (89)

Autonomous motivation involves behaving with a full sense of volition and choice whereas controlled motivation involves behaving with the experience of pressure and demand toward specific outcomes that comes from forces perceived to be external to the self.” (90)

Motivation 2.1 approach employs “empowerment” and “flexibility.” However, it presumes that the organization has the power and benevolently ladles some of it into the waiting bowls of grateful employees.” (91)

Perhaps it’s time to toss the very word ‘management’ into the linguistic ash heap alongside ‘icebox’ and ‘horseless carriage.’ This era doesn’t call for better management. It calls for a renaissance of self-direction. (92)

THE FOUR ESSENTIALS: what people do, when they do it, how they do it, whom do they do it with. [VIA: notice the absence of “why,” which is the job of the ultimate leader, not manager.] This is autonomy over their task, time, technique, and team.

“Autonomy, it turns out, can be contagious.” (106)

THE ART OF AUTONOMY: “Encouraging autonomy doesn’t mean discouraging accountability.” (106)

Chapter 5. Mastery

“The opposite of autonomy is control. And since they sit at different poles of the behavioral compass, they point us toward different destinations. Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” (110) And this leads to mastery–the desire to get better and better at something that matters.

An “autotelic experience”–from the Greek auto (self) and telos (goal or purpose), is when the activity is its own reward. (113) Another word for this is “flow.”

One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. … But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious. This is the essence of flow.” (119)

THE THREE LAWS OF MASTERY: Mastery is a mindset. People can hold two different views of their own intelligence. Those who have an “entity theory” believe that intelligence is just that–an entity. It exists within us, in a finite supply that we cannot increase. Those who subscribe to an “incremental theory” take a different view. They believe that while intelligence may vary slightly from person to person, it is ultimately something that, with effort, we can increase. … In one view, intelligence is something you demonstrate; in the other, it’s something you develop. (121)

Type X behavior often holds an entity theory of intelligence, prefers performance goals to learning goals, and disdains effort as a sign of weakness. Type I behavior has an incremental theory of intelligence, prizes learning goals over performance goals, and welcomes effort as a way to improve at something that matters. Begin with one mindset, and mastery is impossible. Begin with the other, and it can be inevitable. (123)

Mastery is a pain. Regarding West Point, the best predictor of success is a noncognitive, non-physical trait known as “grit”–defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals. (124) “Grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment. … It’s grueling, to be sure. But that’s not the problem; that’s the solution.” (125)\

Mastery is an asymptote. “You can approach it, you can home in on it. You can get really, really close to it. But you can never touch it. The mastery asymptote is a source of frustration. 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.

OXYGEN  OF THE SOUL: “Motivation 3.0 isn’t a nicety. It’s a necessity. We need it to survive.” (129)

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 only the latter will get you through the night.

Chapter 6. Purpose

“The most deeply motivated people–not to mention those who are most productive and satisfied–hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves.” (133) Motivation 2.0 relegates purpose to “the status of ornament–a nice accessory. … From the moment that human being first stared into the sky, contemplated their place in the universe, and tried to create something that bettered the world and outlasted their lives, we have been purpose seekers. Purpose provides activation energy for living.” (134)

Motivation 2.0 centered on profit maximization. Motivation 3.0 doesn’t reject profits, but it places equal emphasis on purpose maximization. (135)

“Humanize what people say and you may well humanize what they do.” (139)

How people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn.” (141)

It’s in our nature to seek purpose. But that nature is now being revealed and expressed on a scale that is demographically unprecedented and, until recently, scarcely imaginable. The consequences could rejuvenate our businesses and remake our world.

PART THREE: The Type I Toolkit

Type I for Individuals: Nine Strategies for Awakening Your Motivation

GIVE YOURSELF A “FLOW TEST”: Set an alarm for 40 random times in a week. Each time your device beeps, write down what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and whether you’re in “flow.” Record your observations, look at the patterns, and consider the following questions:

  • Which moments produced feelings of “flow”? Where were you? What were you working on? Who were you with?
  • Are certain times of day more flow-friendly than others? How could you restructure your day based on your findings?
  • How might you increase the number of optimal experiences and reduce the moments when you felt disengaged or distracted?
  • If you’re having doubts about your job or career, what does this exercise tell you about your true source of intrinsic motivation?

FIRST, ASK A BIG QUESTION…: What’s your sentence? “A great man is one sentence.” Abraham Lincoln: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.” Franklin Roosevelt: “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.” etc. As you contemplate your purpose, begin with the big question: What’s your sentence?

…THEN KEEP ASKING A SMALL QUESTION: Were you better today than yesterday? Did you do more? Did you do it well?

TAKE A SAGMEISTER: a 365-day sabbatical.


  • Set both smaller and larger goals so that when it comes time to evaluate yourself you’ve already accomplished some whole tasks.
  • Make sure you understand how every aspect of your work relates to your larger purpose.
  • Be brutally honest.

GET UNSTUCK BY GOING OBLIQUE: An oblique card is one of a hundred single, often inscrutable, questions or statements that push you out of a mental rut. What would your closest friend do? Your mistake was a hidden intention. What is the simplest solution? Repetition is a form of change., etc.


  • Remember that deliberate practice has one objective: to improve performance.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Seek constant, critical feedback.
  • Focus ruthlessly on where you need help.
  • Prepare for the process to be mentally and physically exhausting.

TAKE A PAGE FROM WEBBER AND A CARD FROM YOUR POCKET: Rules of Thumb offers a simple exercise. Get a few blank 3×5 cards. On one of the cards, write your answer to this question: “What gets you up in the morning?” Now, on the other side of the card, write your answer to another question: “What keeps you up at night?” Pare each response to a single sentence. And if you don’t like an answer, toss the card and try again until you’ve crafted something you can live with. Then read what you’ve produced. If both answers give you a sense of meaning and direction, “Congratulations!” says Webber. “Use them as your compass, checking from time to time to see if they’re still true. If you don’t like one or both of your answers, it opens up a new question: What are you going to do about it?”


Type I for Organizations: Nine Ways to Improve Your Company, Office, or Group

TRY “20% TIME” WITH TRAINING WHEELS: Encourage employees to spend one-fifth of their hours working on any project they want. Or 10%, or an afternoon. Create an island of autonomy.

ENCOURAGE PEER-TO-PEER “NOW THAT’ REWARDS: Anyone in the company can award a $50 bonus to any of their colleagues

CONDUCT AN AUTONOMY AUDIT: Rate on a scale of 1 to 10,

  1. How much autonomy do you have over your tasks at work–your main responsibilities and what do you do in a given day?
  2. How much autonomy do you have over your time at work–for instance, when you arrive, when you leave, and how you allocate your hours each day?
  3. How much autonomy do you have over your team at work–that is, to what extent are you able to choose the people with whom you typically collaborate?
  4. How much autonomy do you have over your technique at work–how you actually perform the main responsibilities of your job?

Make sure they’re anonymous.


  1. Involve people in goal-setting. People often have higher aims than the ones you assign them.
  2. Use noncontrolling language. Next time you’re about to say “must” or “should,” try saying, “think about,” or “consider.”
  3. Hold office hours. Set aside one or two hours a week when your schedule is clear and any employee can come in and talk to you about anything that’s on their mind.

PLAY “WHOSE PURPOSE IS IT ANYWAY?”: Blank 3×5, and answer: “What is our company’s (or organization’s) purpose? Collect them, read them outloud, discuss.

USE REICH’S PRONOUN TEST: Do employees refer to their company as “they” or as “we?”


  • create an environment that makes people feel good about participating
  • give users autonomy
  • keep the system as open as possible


  • Begin with a diverse team. You want people who can really cross-fertilize each other’s ideas.
  • Make your group a “no competition” zone. If you’re going to use a c-word, use “collaboration” or “cooperation.”
  • Try a little task-shifting. If someone is bored, see if they can train someone else, and then take on some aspect of a more experienced team member’s work.
  • Animate with purpose, don’t motivate with rewards.

TURN YOUR NEXT OFF-SITE INTO A FedEx DAY: Set aside a day where your employees can work on anything they want, with whomever they’d like. People must deliver something the following day.

The Zen of Compensation: Paying People the Type I Way


Type I for Parents and Educators: Nine Ideas for Helping Our Kids

“We’re bribing students into compliance instead of challenging them into engagement.” (174)

  1. APPLY THE THREE-PART TYPE I TEST FOR HOMEWORK. Refashion homework into homelearning.
  2. HAVE A FedEx DAY. Kids come up with projects themselves.
  3. TRY DIY REPORT CARDS. Ask students to list their top learning goals, and then ask them to “do-it-yourself” grade themselves.
  5. OFFER PRAISE…THE RIGHT WAY. Praise effort and strategy, not intelligence. Make praise specific. Praise in private. Offer praise only when there is a good reason.
  6. HELP KIDS SEE THE BIG PICTURE. Why am I learning this? How is it relevant to the world I live in now?
  7. CHECK OUT THESE FIVE TYPE I SCHOOLS: Big Picture Learning, Sudbury Valley School, The Tinkering School, (Gever Tulley’s talk), Puget Sound Community School, Motessori Schools.
  8. TAKE A CLASS FROM THE UNSCHOOLERS. They encourage mastery by allowing children to spend as long as they’d like and to go as deep as they desire on the topics that interest them. Start with Dumbing Us Down.

The Type I Reading List: Fifteen Essential Books

  1. Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility by James Carse. A “finite game” has a winner and an end; the goal is to triumph. An “infinite game” has no winner and no end; the goal is to keep playing. Nonwinnable games, Carse explains, are much more rewarding than the win-lose ones we’re accustomed to playing at our work and in our relationships. Type I Insight: “Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”
  2. Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. What’s the difference between those who are pretty good at what they do and those who are masters? The answer is threefold: practice, practice, practice. The secret is “deliberate practice”–highly repretitive, mentally demanding work that’s often unpleasant, but undeniably effective. Type I Insight: “If you set a goal of becoming an expert in your business, you would immediately start doing all kinds of things you don’t do now.”
  3. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. A book on “optimal experiences.” Type I Insight: “Contrary to what we usually believe…the best moments in our lives are not passive, receptive, relaxing times–although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to the limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” (see also Finding Flow, Creativity, and Beyond Boredom and Anxiety)
  4. Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation by Edward Deci with Richard Flaste. The popular book of his theories. Type I Insight: “The questions so many people ask–namely, ‘How do I motivate people to learn? to work? to do their chores? or to take their medicine?’–are the wrong questions. They are wrong because they imply that motivation is something that gets done to people rather than something that people do.”
  5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. People have two mindsets. 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. Go with growth. Type I Insight: In the book and likewise on her website,, Dweck offers concrete steps for moving from a fixed to a growth mindset:
    • Learn to listen for a fixed mindset “voice” that might be hurting your resiliency.
    • Interpret challenges not as roadblocks, but as opportunities to stretch yourself.
    • Use the language of growth–for example, “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn with time and effort.”
  6. Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. This darkly hilarious debut novel is a cautionary tale for the demoralizing effects of the Type X workplace. At an unnamed ad agency in Chicago, people spend more time scarfing free doughnuts and scamming office chairs than doing actual work–all while fretting about “walking Spanish down the hall,” office lingo for being fired. Type I Insight: “They had taken away our flowers, our summer days, and our bonuses, we were on a wage freeze and a hiring freeze and people were flying out the door like so many dismantled dummies. We had one thing still going for us: the prospect of a promotion. A new title: true, it came with no money, the power was almost illusory, the bestowal a cheap shrewd device concocted by management to keep us from mutiny, but when word circulated that one of us had jumped up an acronym, that person was just a little quieter that day, took a longer lunch than usual, came back with shopping bags, spent the afternoon speaking softly into the telephone, and left whenever they wanted that night, while the rest of us sent emails flying back and forth ont he lofty topics of Injustice and Uncertainty.”
  7. Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet by Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and William Damon. How can you do “good work” in an age of relentless market forces and lightening-fast technology? By considering three basic issues: your professions’ mission, its standards or “best practices,” and your own identity. Type I Insight: “What do you do if you wake up in the morning and dread going to work, because the daily routine no longer satisfies your standards?”
    • Start groups or forums with others in your industry or outside it to reach beyond your current area of influence.
    • Work with existing organizations to confirm your profession’s values or develop new guidelines.
    • Take a stand. It can be risky, sure, but leaving a job for ethical reasons need not involved abandoning your professional goals.
  8. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. With a series of compelling and gracefully told stories, Gladwell deftly takes a hammer to the idea of the “self-made-man.” Success is more complicated. High achievers are often the products of hidden advantages of culture, timing, demographics, and luck that helped them become masters in their fields. Reading this book will lead you to reevaluate your own path. More important, it will make you wonder how much human potential we’re losing when so many people are denied these advantages. Type I Insight: “It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine-to-five. It’s whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75k a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I’m guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money.”
  9. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin shows Abraham Lincoln as an exemplar of Type I behavior. Type I Insight:
    • He was self-confident enough to surround himself with rivals who excelled in areas where he was weak.
    • He genuinely listened to other people’s points of view, which helped him form more complex opinions of his own.
    • He gave credit where it was due and wasn’t afraid to take the blame.
  10. The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal by David Halberstam. What would compel a group of men to endure untold physical pain and exhaustion for a sport that promised no monetary compensation or fame? That’s the question at the heart of the 1984 US rowing trials. Type I Insights: “No chartered planes or buses ferried the athletes into Princeton. No team managers hustled their baggage from the bus to the hotel desk and made arrangements so that at mealtime they need only show up and sign a tab. This was a world of hitched rides and borrowed beds, and meals, if not scrounged, were desperately budgeted by appallingly hungry young men.”
  11. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn. Kohn throws down the gauntlet at society’s blind acceptance of B.F. Skinner’s “Do this and you’ll get that” theory of behaviorism. Type I Insight: “Do rewards motivate people? Absolutely. They motivate people to get rewards.”
  12. Once a Runner by John Parker, Jr. Originally published in 1978, this novel offers a fascinating look into the psychology of distance running. Type I Insight: “He ran not for crypto-religious reasons but to win races, to cover ground fast. Not only to be better than his fellows, but better than himself. To be faster by a tenth of a second, by an inch, by two feet or two yards, than he had been the week or year before. He sought to conquer the physical limitations placed on him by a three-dimensional world (and if Time is the fourth dimension, that too was his province). If he could conquer the weakness, the cowardice in himself, he would not worry about the rest; it would come.”
  13. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. A wise meditation on the obstacles that stand in the way of creative freedom and a spirited battle plan for overcoming the resistance that arises when we set out to do something great. Type I Insight: “It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom. The air of liberty may be too rarified for us to breathe. Certainly I wouldn’t be writing this book, on this subject, if living with freedom were easy. The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”
  14. Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace by Ricardo Semler. While many bosses are control freaks, Semler might be the first autonomy freak. This book, along with The Seven-Day Weekend show show to put his iconoclastic and effective philosophy into action. Type I Insight: “I want everyone at Semco to be self-sufficient. The company is organized–well, maybe that’s not quite the right word for us–not to depend too much on any individual, especially me. I take it as a point of pride that twice on my return from long trips my office had been moved–and each time it got smaller.”
  15. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge. Senge introduces readers to “learning organizations”–where autonomous thinking and shared visions for the future are not only encouraged, but are considered vital to the health of the organization. Type I Insight: “People with a high level of personal mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them–in effect, they approach their life as an artist would approach a work of art. They do that by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning.”

Listen to the Gurus: Six Business Thinkers Who Get It

  1. DOUGLAS McGREGOR. Big Idea: Theory X vs. Theory Y. McGregor described two very different approaches to management, each based on a different assumption about human behavior. The first approach which he called Theory X, assumed that people avoid effort, work only for money and security, and therefore need to be controlled. The second, which he called Theory Y, assumed that work is as natural for human beings as play or rest, that initiative and creativity are widespread, and that if people are committed to a goal, they will actually seek responsibility. Theory Y, he argued, was the more accurate–and ultimately more effective–approach. Type I Insight: “Managers frequently complain to me about the fact that subordinates ‘nowadays’ won’t take responsibility. I have been interested to note how often these same managers keep a constant surveillance over the day-to-day performance of subordinates, sometimes two or three levels below themselves.” More Info: The Human Side of Enterprise.
  2. PETER DRUCKER. Big Idea: Self-management. “Drucker’s primary contribution is not a single idea,” Jim Collins once wrote, “but rather an entire body of work that has one gigantic advantage: nearly all of it is essentially right.” With the rise of individual longevity and the decline of job security, he argued, individuals have to think hard about where their strengths lie, what htey can contribute, and how they can improve their own performance. “The need to manage oneself,” he wrote shortly before he died in 2005, is “creating a revolution in human affairs.” Type I Insight: “Demanding of knowledge workers that they define their own task and its results is necessary because knowledge workers must be autonomous…workers should be asked to think through their own work plans and then to submit them. What am I going to focus on? What results can be expected for which I should be held accountable? By what deadline? More Info:
  3. JIM COLLINS. Big Idea: Self-motivation and greatness. “Expending energy trying to motivate people is largely a waste of time. If you have the right people on the bus, they will be self-motivated. The real question then becomes: How do you manage in such a way as not to de-motivate people? Type I Insight: Collins suggest four basic practices: 1) “Lead with questions, not answers.” 2) “Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.” 3) “Conduct autopsies, without blame.” 4) “Build ‘red flag’ mechanisms.” In other words, make it easy for employees and customers to speak up when they identify a problem. More Info:
  4. CALI RESSLER AND JODY THOMPSON. Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It. Big Idea: The results-only work environment. ROWE. The only thing that matters is results. Type I Insight: Among the basic tenets of ROWE: “People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or their company’s time.” “Employees have the freedom to work any way they want.” “Every meeting is optional.” “There are no work schedules.” More Info: (now
  5. GARY HAMEL. Big Idea: Management is an outdated technology. Hamel likens management to the internal combustion engine–a technology that has largely stopped evolving. The solution? A radical overhaul of this aging technology. Type I Insight: “The next time you’re in a meeting and folks are discussing how to wring another increment of performance out of your workforce, you might ask: ‘To what end, and to whose benefit, are our employees being asked to give of themselves? Have we committed ourselves to a purpose that is truly deserving of their initiative, imagination, and passion?’ ” More Info: The Future of Management,, and

The Type I Fitness Plan: Four Tips for Getting (and Staying) Motivated to Exercise

  1. Set your own goals.
  2. Ditch the treadmill. Unless you really like treadmills, that is.
  3. Keep mastery in mind. Pick an activity in which you can improve over time.
  4. Reward yourself the right way. If you’re really struggling, consider a quick experiment with Stickk (

Drive: The Recap

TWITTER SUMMARY: Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose. There are other summaries (COCKTAIL SUMMARY, CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER), however…

Drive: The Glossary

Includes the following terms: Baseline rewards, FedEx Days, Goldilocks tasks, “If-then” rewards, mastery asymptote, Motivation 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, Nonroutine work, “Now that” rewards, Results-only work environment (ROWE), Routine work, Sawyer Effect, 20 percent time, Type I behavior, Type X behavior, all available above.

The Drive Discussion Guide: Twenty Conversation Starters to Keep You Thinking and Talking

  1. Has Pink persuaded you about the gap between what science knows and what organizations do? Do you agree that we need to upgrade our motivational operating system? Why or why not?
  2. How has Motivation 2.0 affected your experiences at school, at work, or in family life? If Motivation 3.0 has been the prevailing ethic when you were young, how would your experiences have differed?
  3. Do you consider yourself more Type I or Type X? Why? Think of three people in your life (whether at home, work, or school). Are they more Type I or Type X? What leads you to your conclusions?
  4. Describe a time when you’ve seen one of the seven deadly flaws of carrots and sticks in action. What lessons might you and others learn from that experience? Have you seen instances when carrots and sticks have been effective?
  5. How well is your current job meeting your need for “baseline rewards”–salary, benefits, a few perks? If it’s falling short, what changes can you or your organization make?
  6. Pink draws a distinction between “routine” work and “nonroutine” work. How much of your own work is routine? How much is nonroutine?
  7. If you’re a boss, how might you replace “if-then” rewards with a more autonomous environment and the occasional “now that” reward?
  8. As you think about your own best work, what aspect of autonomy has been most important to you? Autonomy over what you do (task), when you do it (time), how you do it (technique), or with whom you do it (team)? Why? How much autonomy do you have at work right now? Is that enough?
  9. Would initiatives like FedEx Days, 20 percent time, and ROWE work in your organization? Why or why not? What are one or two other ideas that would bring out more Type I behavior in your workplace?
  10. Describe a time recently when you’ve experienced “flow.” What were you doing? Where were you? How might you tweak your current role to bring on more of these optimal experiences?
  11. Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to master that you’ve avoided for reasons like “I’m too old” or “I’ll never be good at that” or “It would be a waste of time”? What are the barriers to giving it a try? How can you remove those barriers?
  12. Are you in a position to delegate any of the tasks that might be holding you back from more challenging pursuits? How might you hand off these tasks in a way that does not take away your colleagues’ autonomy?
  13. How would you redesign your office, your classroom, or your home–the physical environment, the processes, the rules–to promote greater engagement and mastery by everyone?
  14. When tackling the routine tasks your job requires, what strategies can you come up with to trigger the positive side of the Sawyer Effect?
  15. Drive talks a lot about purpose–both for organizations and individuals. Does your organization have a purpose? What is it? If your organization is for-profit, is purpose even a realistic goal given the competitive pressures in every industry?
  16. Are you–in your paid work, family life, or volunteering–on a path toward purpose? What is that purpose?
  17. Is education today too Type X–that is, does it put too great an emphasis on extrinsic rewards? If so, how should we reconfigure schools and classrooms? Is there an elegant way to reconcile intrinsic motivation and accountability?
  18. If you’re a mom or dad, does your home environment promote more Type I or Type X behavior in your child or children? How? What, if anything, should you do about it?
  19. Does Pink underplay the importance of earning a living? Is his view of Motivation 3.0 a bit too utopian–that is, is Pink, if you’ll pardon the pun, too rosy?
  20. What are the things that truly motivate you? Now think about the last week. How many of those 168 hours were devoted to these things? Can you do better?

Find Out More–About Yourself and This Topic

Are you Type I or Type X? Take the comprehensive, free online assessment at

Interested in regular updates on the science and practice of human motivation? Subscribe to Drive Times, a free quarterly email newsletter at

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  3. Daniel Ven Neal, P.E

    Just finished reading and attempting to digest ALL of the concepts in the book “DRIVE”

    I RETIRED IN MARCH, 2010– After a 43 year vocation and avocation as a Registered Professional Civil Engineer. I was a TYPE I individual in a TYPE X profession it did have its challenges.
    I am now saying “OH——- For I did and had to stand alone with my third Drive – -time and time again — and my career though varied was marvelous, but 5 times IMPACTS were MAJOR!!

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  6. benjperry

    This is epic. Thank you!

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