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Drive, Daniel H. Pink

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

With praise from Malcolm Gladwell – one of my favorite authors – I figured Drive should be a relatively safe bet, the blurb and few pages I skimmed in the bookstore seemed interesting as well.  But I was sorely disappointed: the book is a collection of commonsense summations about what motivates people to work and succeed in our modern society.  The requirement for workplace autonomy and intrinsic motivation, I didn’t need to spend $15 on a book to figure that out.  And to add to my displeasure, the last third of the book is a condensed version of the first two thirds!  I have a feeling Pink was trying to quickly cash in on the success of his bestseller A Whole New Mind, this is definitely a book to leave on the shelf if you come across it.

Publisher’s Weekly: According to Pink, everything we think we know about what motivates us is wrong.  He pits the latest scientific discoveries about the mind against the outmoded wisdom that claims people can only be motivated by the hope of gain and the fear of loss.  Pink cites a dizzying number of studies revealing that carrot and stick can actually significantly reduce the ability of workers to produce creative solutions to problems.  What motivates us once our basic survival needs are met is the ability to grow and develop, to realize our fullest potential.  Case studies of Google’s 20 percent time (in which employees work on projects of their choosing one full day each week) and Best Buy’s Results Only Work Environment (in which employees can work whenever and however they choose—as long as they meet specific goals) demonstrate growing endorsement for this approach.  A series of appendixes include further reading and tips on applying this method to businesses, fitness and child-rearing.  Drawing on research in psychology, economics and sociology, Pink’s analysis—and new model—of motivation offers tremendous insight into our deepest nature.