Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Published: 4/5/2011
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink. In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

About the Author

Daniel H. Pink is the author of #1 New York Times bestsellers Drive and To Sell is Human. He has also authored six books about human behavior and business. Dan worked for Vice President Al Gore from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter. He served as host and co-executive producer of “Crowd Control,” a television series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel. Daniel was named the 6th most influential management thinker in the world in 2019 by London-based Thinkers 50. He graduated with a BA from Northwestern University and a JD from Yale Law School. He has also received honorary doctorates from several universities such as Georgetown University and Westfield State University. Pink lives with his family in Washington, DC.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (2011) explores the topic of human motivation. Daniel argues that most people are driven by extrinsic motivation—decisions based on external rewards and punishments. The author proposes that people should replace extrinsic motivation with intrinsic motivation. Daniel shows that intrinsic motivation has to do with the innate pleasure humans derive from completing or mastering an activity. People and organizations should adopt intrinsic motivation as a challenge to improve their abilities and not simply for material reward. Daniel proposes that restructuring work and aligning jobs with intrinsic motivation, organizations will be more successful and employees will lead happier, more rewarding, and fulfilling lives.

Chapter 1: The Rise and Fall of Motivation 2.0

-Daniel starts by showing that civilization was driven by our survival needs: eating and surviving. He refers to them as “Motivation 1.0”.

-The industrial revolution brought about Motivation 2.0. We have gone beyond basic needs. The world now works using a ‘carrots and stick’ system of rewards and punishments.

-Extrinsic Motivation works on a rewards and punishment mentality. Intrinsic Motivation produces results from an internal desire to accomplish something even if there is no material reward.

Chapter 2: 7 Reasons Why Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work

-Psychology shows that carrots and sticks system does not work. Extrinsic motivation “crowds out” intrinsic motivation and the joy of accomplishing a task; it also diminishes performance and discourages creativity in the long-term.

-Extrinsic motivation encourages cheating.

-It motivates people to engage in immoral behavior in order to get ahead in life. What happened at ENRON is a good example of extrinsically motivated behavior.

-Extrinsic behavior is addictive and produces negative effects once it’s stopped. People tend to get depressed when there is no reward and start to feel like work is a punishment

-Extrinsic motivation encourages short-term thinking. This affects long-term growth.

Chapter 3: Type I and Type X

-There are two types of people: Type X (Extrinsic) who are driven by a desire for fame, status, money, etc. Such people are materialistic and always seek to gain more. They are also highly successful.

-Type I’s (Intrinsic) are motivated from within. They seek to accomplish something meaningful and take pleasure in the task and not the reward.

-Type I have higher self-esteem and establish better relationships. They are motivated by purpose, autonomy and a desire to master their lives.

Chapter 4: Autonomy

-Autonomy or the desire to be in control of one’s life is one of the three basic human needs. However, it should not be confused with independence. One can be autonomous but not independent.

-Most people thrive when they are presented with a problem and asked to provide solutions. There is greater creativity when one people work in an environment of autonomy

-In the workplace, people desire to have autonomy in; time, tasks, teams, and techniques. Autonomy encourages Type I personality to develop and flourish.

Chapter 5: Mastery

-The path to achieve Mastery is to attain what is referred to as “flow: when a task is neither too easy nor too difficult.” It is also the point at which we will learn the most and the quickest.

-Mastery is a mindset. Start seeing your ability to improve as having no end. What you see is what you get.

-Mastery is a pain. To achieve mastery requires effort and practice. Don’t rush to achieve mastery.

-Mastery is an asymptote. Mastery can never be fully achieved. This means that there is always room for improvement.

Chapter 6: Purpose

-When one is motivated by purpose, they tend to be more productive and satisfied. One reaches purpose while doing something well that matters in a cause larger than themselves.

-If companies focused on maximizing purpose and not profits, profits would follow naturally since employees with purpose would create great products.

-Purpose in the workplace can be improved using words of encouragement and policies that encourage productivity.


In Drive, Daniel Pink shows that the two main sources of motivation are internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic). Daniel proposes that to motivate people from now on, stop focusing on money as a reward--money is extrinsic. Base your results on how good a person feels after accomplishing a task--which is intrinsic. Make greater use of words to compliment and show appreciation. Make people feel like they are contributing to something greater than themselves.


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