Quick Book Review: Drive by Daniel Pink

While I was driving across New York State and southern Ontario, I listened to Daniel Pink’s new book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Drive while driving, I suppose.

Bottom line: I really liked this book! It purports to be a business book, but the insights seemed to easily be applied to education. Here are some of my “top-of-the-head” impressions of the book:

1. The social and behavioral sciences have interesting things to say about motivation.  Carrot-and-stick reward systems often backfire.  Pink cites work from research with monkeys, pre-schoolers, world-class artists, and of course, graduate students.

2. Pink’s main point is that the most effective motivation is intrinsic, not extrinsic.  Intrinsic motivation has three main components: autonomy, mastery and purpose.

3. Drive was more than a book-reading experience.  I felt like it was a holistic learning experience.  The lead to the story set the stage.  The concepts were compact and easy to understand, but with enough depth to make them believable. The last part of the book had practical things that you could do to further the ideas in your own life.  There were other goodies too: a glossary of terms, study group questions and a nice summary of the ideas in the book at the end.

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