Book Notes #001 - Driven: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us By Daniel H. Pink

Updated: Mar 11

Rating: 4.5/5


"Intrinsic motivation–the drive to do something because it is interesting, challenging, and absorbing–is essential for high levels of creativity."

THE BOOK IN 10 SECONDS


This book explores the different techniques human beings motivate themselves and others. What most people think to be the best approach to motivate people is often mistaken. In this book, you will learn what intrinsic motivation means and how to make the most out of it.


 

Main Ideas.

  • There are three drives that power motivation;

  • 1) Biological Drive: We behave in certain ways because we are motivated by our human condition, desires and urges. Hunger, thirst, and carnal urges.

  • 2) Rewards and punishments. This is what is called the carrots and sticks approach. External rewards are delivered to influence behaviour. Ex. Using money, awards, or punishments. Ex. Giving someone candy to do a task.

  • 3) Intrinsic reward: The third drive discovered by Harry F. Harlow is "The performance of the task" or the intrinsic reward drive. This means that the joy of the task is its own reward. "Human beings have an innate ability to seek out novelty and challenges, to explore and learn. " This creates a sense of challenge which motivates someone to act. No external reward is needed, the task itself is the reward. Ex. The feeling to be solving a problem or making progress towards something.

  • There are three elements of true motivation = Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is the desire to be in control. Mastery is the mindset of craftsmanship (to be great at something). Purpose talks about the alignment of our actions to a bigger cause.


 

QUOTES


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


  • "Works is not inherently enjoyable–which is precisely why we must coax people with external rewards and threaten them with outside punishment."


  • "Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attending 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."


  • "When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting costumers, doing one's best–there are no shortcuts."


  • "The goal is to become a reader not to read x amount of books."


  • "Ensure that the baseline rewards–wages, salaries, benefits, and so on–are adequate and fair. Without a healthy baseline, motivation of any sort is difficult and often impossible."


 

BOOK NOTES


What motivates us to act?


Work is not inherently enjoyable, which is why we use external motivators like money or punishments like being fired. But a different type of motivator exists that does not require external rewards. This is called the intrinsic reward. The fun of mastering a challenge is its own reward. Certain tasks have intrinsic rewards, especially highly creative ones, such as writing, composing or creating an ad campaign.


Jobs that require routine work are great to use external motivators. Like money, raises, etc. Work that depends on the creative aspect of humans is best suited with an intrinsic reward.


The Sawyer Effect - Turning work into play or play into work.


External motivation can damage intrinsic rewards if they are not used properly. You can turn the play into work. This is the hidden cost of using external motivators when the activity itself has enough intrinsic motivation. Always try to turn work into play.


"If then" Rewards


If then Rewards can have a negative effect long term. Ex. If you take the trash out, I will give you $5" This might work in the short term but in the long term it may make the task harder to do with no external motivator. By offering a reward, you might signal that the tasks at hand are undesirable. Ex. If you get a price for reading 3 books, you will most likely not read a 4th, let alone make reading a habit.


Genuine Motivators = Autonomy, mastery, and purpose.


Human beings have an innate need to be autonomous, self-determined (choosing our own challenges), and connected to one another.


Autonomy

  • When faced with routine work on a daily basis, the best way to create motivation is by turning work into play. Allow people to complete the task at hand in their own way. Give them control of their own tasks.

Mastery

  • Give people the opportunity to master a skill. Give them the tools and resources they need to make that happen.

Purpose

  • Offer a reason for why the tasks are necessary. A task can always become more meaningful.


 

EXERCISES


Exercise #1: When to use rewards?


Is the task mostly routine?


  • YES: Can you increase the task's challenge or variety, make it less routine or connect it to a larger purpose?


  • Yes: Concentrate on building a healthy, long-term motivational environment that pays people fairly and that fosters autonomy, mastery and purpose. Avoid "If-then" rewards in almost all circumstances. Consider unexpected, noncontingent "now that" rewards. And remember that those rewards will be more effective if

  • 1) They offer praise and feedback rather than things people can touch or spend.

  • 2) They provide useful information rather than an attempt to control.

  • No: Use rewards even "if-then" rewards but be sure to:

  • Offer a rationale on why the task is necessary.

  • Acknowledge that the task is boring.

  • Allow people to complete the task in their own way.


  • NO: Concentrate on building a healthy, long-term motivational environment that pays people fairly and that fosters autonomy, mastery and purpose. Avoid "If-then" rewards in almost all circumstances. Consider unexpected, non-contingent "now that" rewards. And remember that those rewards will be more effective if

  • 1) They offer praise and feedback rather than things people can touch or spend.

  • 2) They provide useful information rather than an attempt to control.

 

Exercise #2: Adopt a Type I Behaviour


Note: A type I behaviour is made not born. (This means that anyone can learn how to adopt it)

  • Type I behaviour is fueled more by intrinsic desires than extrinsic ones. It concerns less with the external rewards to which an activity leads and more with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.

  • For type I's, the main motivator is the freedom, challenge and purpose of the undertaking itself; any other gains are welcome but only as a bonus.

  • Types I's almost always outperformed type Xs in the long run. They work hard and persist through difficulties because of their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures.

  • Type I behaviour does not disdain money or recognition.

  • Type I behaviour is a renewable resource. Type I behaviour is built around intrinsic motivation and is endless renewable.

  • Type I behaviour promotes greater physical and mental well-being.

  • Ultimately Type I behaviour depends on three nutrients: Autonomy, mastery and purpose. Type I behaviour is self-directed, motivated and it connects the quest for excellence to a larger purpose. Mastery is the goal to become better and better at something that matters.

 

Action Steps


Step 1) Use the Sawyer Effect and turn work into play! (use intrinsic motivation whenever possible).


Step 2) Adopt mastery as a goal; The goal is to get better and better at something meaningful to you. Ex. Become a reader.


Step 3) Adopt a type I behaviour by understanding the concept of mastery as a mindset; Mastery is not something you are born with, is something you create by voluntarily choosing to be great at something.


Step 4) Use the feeling of "flow" to determine the optimal state of challenge in your life; Neither too easy nor too hard. The optimal state of challenge = flow.


Step 5) Before going to bed each night ask yourself? Was I better today than yesterday?