I saw a short talk from Dan Pink a few months back from this year’s TED conference. It’s very cool, and worth watching. After watching the video, I bought the book, Drive.
This book goes through some the reasons why we are motivated to do things. It looks back at some of the older notions of motivation, mostly the carrot/stick techniques most of us have been exposed to. It talks about the ways that we have tried to reward people and get more work, or better work, from them.
It does this with a mix of stories and research that Mr. Pink has done, with economists and psychologists, with interesting results. The talk summarizes it, but the book then backs it up with great examples. There’s a look at Google’s 20% time, Fed Ex days from Atlassian, and Best Buy’s ROWE work structure.
The main thrust that I’ve seen from this is that people want three things in their lives: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. We want to direct ourselves, we want to get better, and we want to make a difference. In my life, I had thought that better rewards motivated me, but as I grow older, I’m not sure that’s the case. I think that autonomy and mastery were key drivers, and purpose is becoming more important.
It’s a great read. If you liked Outliers, or want to try to grow yourself and become happier in your career, or even manage people better, I think this is worth the read.