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

How Much GRIT Do You Have?

  • A study of West Point freshman showed that the best predictor of success was “grit”, which is defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. It is grittiness – rather than IQ – that is the most accurate predictor of college grades. The other key is to take on “Goldilocks tasks”. These are challenges that are neither overly difficult nor overly simple. This avoids anxiety and boredom and can lead to “flow” or optimal performance. (Doug: This is a key concept from learning theory, which teachers must attend to.)

Teh Purpose Motive

  • In addition to autonomy and mastery, Pink sees having a purpose beyond financial rewards as a strong motivator. He agrees with psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who says “evolution has had a hand in selecting people who had a sense of doing something beyond themselves.” Businesses are starting to get the message as they become “not only for profit.” Pink notes that the correlation between money and happiness is weak and that past a modest level, a larger pile of cash doesn’t bring people a higher level of satisfaction, and may even make them less happy. Reaching profit goals doesn’t make one happier. Healthy businesses begin with purpose and consider profit a way to move toward that end.
  • “Being a professional, is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.” Julius Erving (aka Dr. J, professional basketball player)
  • “Try to pick a profession in which you enjoy even the most mundane, tedious parts. Then you will always be happy.” Will Shortz (Puzzle Guru)

What I Left Out

  • In an effort to encourage my readers to purchase this book, I have left out summaries of significant content including the following:
  • Details on the impact of open source software and the cool story about Encarta and Wikipedia.
  • Interesting descriptions of experiments that prove that carrots and sticks can backfire
  • A summary of the final 60+ pages called the Type I Toolkit. This includes specific ways you can awake your motivation and improve your organization. There are nine ideas for educators, a list of recommended books, tips from business gurus, and a flexible fitness plan. You get a discussion guide, a glossary, and Pink’s own summary of the book. You can take a free online test to find out if you are Type I or Type X, subscribe to a Drive newsletter and email the author.
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One Response to “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink – Updated Summary”

  1. Bella Sarah says:

    Daniel Pink has such a great way of putting things out there. I just listened him on an AoC podcast, and it made me realize that he’s right.

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