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on 15 July 2016
Pink sets out to demolish long-held beliefs such as that people are only motivated by extrinsic factors and he does so with gusto. While primarily focusing on the business world, most of the things he says apply directly to education as well.
Pink starts by making a useful distinction between ‘algorithmic’ and ‘heuristic’ tasks (p. 29). The former are ones which you perform by following a series of pre-determined steps, while the latter require a more creative approach. Crucially, the latter are far more motivating! In our field this would translate into a distinction between, say, the standard transformation exercise and an activity like improvising and recording a monologue. The big Q for us is: what is the ratio between these two types of activities in our classroom?
Later on, Pink draws on Csikszentmihalyi’s insights on ‘Flow’ (p. 115). Csikszentmihalyi’s research showed that most tasks where people achieved ‘Flow’ shared three key elements: a) there were clear goals, b) there was immediate feedback and c) the task difficulty level was perfectly pitched – slightly higher than the performer’s current level. The implications for task design here are obvious...
In discussing ‘extrinsic’ vs ‘intrinsic’ motivation, Pink points out that there is often a trade-off; extrinsic factors may work best in the short-term, but in the long run intrinsic motivation is always the winner! (p. 79) Back to ELT, exam classes illustrate this perfectly: granted, both parents and students often clamour for more exam-oriented material as there is always a test round the corner, but in the long run this is disastrous (I have yet to meet students who do CPE tests for fun after getting their certificate...)
Motivation leads to ‘autonomy’ and this is where things get really exciting! On p. 86 we are introduced to the concept of ROWE (‘Results-Only Work Environment’). The idea is simple: your employer does not care how or when you do something, so long as you deliver the goods! Now imagine ROSE instead! Imagine a school where classes are not compulsory, where students are more autonomous and they have to actually generate something as evidence of learning (rather than sit endless tests). This is not a dream; the IB model has taken many steps in that direction...
Then on p. 93 we go one step further still! Atlasian is a software company where once a week employees can do anything they want!! At the end of the day, employees just show what they have come up with. Now, can you imagine a school where once a week you can work on any project you want? Imagine being paid to design your favourite activities, to incorporate novel IT-based task in the syllabus or prepare worksheets for ‘Comedy for ELT’ sketches? Sheer bliss! :-)
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9 people found this helpful
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on 23 October 2017
I was recommended to read this book, at the time I thought, to help me work out how to grow my business. I now realise that it was to help me figure out why I’d even want to do that. Sure I’ve got some ideas about what I’ll be pushing for over the next couple of years, but I also found out something way more important. We’re missing a huge opportunity to help our kids grow up into truly useful people, teaching them to jump through hoops with grades, and exams, even spending money, and chores. There’s so much more to go at, and they have that knowledge built in. Definitely a book that has helped me to reboot what I’m doing at work and home, with a load of good positive things that anyone can put into action.
5 people found this helpful
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on 12 June 2018
Great little book. Gave some really interesting insights which really challenge the traditional mindset of how to manage/lead. Has been really useful in the workplace to confront leaders as to how to develop and work with their team. Has helped change the dialogue in the organisation and has sparked conversations that would otherwise never have taken place. I think it will support our shift towards a different type of business. Some great suggestions of how to action the material meaning it has real applicability. Have recommended to many. Buy it.
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on 9 August 2017
I really enjoyed this book. I am currently dong a Masters in Education Based Practise and this book help to form part of one of the lectures. We were looking at intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in the classroom. It perfectly describes how I stay motivated and it has changed the way I manage people, pupils and my own children.
One person found this helpful
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on 3 January 2014
The first half of this book is excellent, providing lots of research and thought provoking examples of why we're motivated to do some tasks which you wouldn't have thought we should be motivated towards.

The second half, which is the mostly practical half of what you can do about it in personal and professional areas, is slow moving, repetitive and focusses on just a few sources.

Ideally this book would keep the first half and condense the second half into 5-10 pages.
4 people found this helpful
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on 21 October 2011
The florescent graphics on the cover were slightly suggestive to me that the substance of the book inside would be less impressive. Thankfully this proved to not be the case, as I found this book very interesting, well reasoned, and indeed quite inspiring in some places. Perhaps one of the nicest things about this book is that it is clear that the author has tremendous respect and passion for humanity at large. Sometimes books about how to motivate people turn out to be books about how to manipulate people, and so it is refreshing to read a volume where the author is not simply trying to push a get-what-you-want agenda. This book is not about how to motivate people so much as how to create an environment where people *are* motivated.

The book is split into three sections, the first being the background and explanatory information about the subject. Here Pink explains how in his view the old trusted model of carrot/stick is somewhat counterproductive in today's modern and creative workplaces. Instead, he proposes that a more inherent desire exists within each of us, around subject areas such as mastery and autonomy. The core idea is that the notion that people have to be forced or bribed to produce their best work is false. The examples cited are slightly American in method, which isn't surprising considering that is where Pink is based, but apply in the most part to a UK audience too.

The second part of the book presents a framework of various situations that the ideas can be applied to. This is not really a cohesive section, and each "chapter" is relatively independent from the last, however the author does explain that this is intentional. You read the chapters which are relevant to your situation, although I found reading them cover to cover equally enlightening.

The last and smallest part is a small summary of the first part's content, intended as an aide mémoire. I liked this idea a lot, as it provides a simple and concise reference guide that can be used in the future without having to thumb and search the entire book. There are also a number of suggestions for further reading, which again proves that the author's agenda is truly to improve and better our lives rather than to simply push his own product.

This is a small book, but one which packs a big punch, at least for me. I found several of its suggestions both inspiring and exciting, and I hope to implement a few of his strategies myself in the future. The writing style is relaxed and easy, neither patronising nor complex, and it was a pleasure to keep turning each page.

I would recommend this book not only as a general read to those interested in business psychology and motivation, but also to any manager who feels burnt out and that their workplace needs a bit of a motivational facelift. You won't find many glib solutions, but you will find a detailed explanation of why what you are currently doing probably isn't working.
3 people found this helpful
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on 7 August 2014
I have been wondering why for a long time my motivation levels have been practically zero (often feeling quite depressed). In this book I find an explanation. My life has been shaped by too much Type X behaviour and not enough type I. I have recently decided that I wanted too include more "play" time in my life and it seems I was on the right track. No wonder I'm feeling cheerful more often. Could this book improve the mental health of many more people when it's ideas are implemented into everyday management. I do hope so!
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on 14 May 2012
Drive is one of those rare books that manages to be both absorbing to read and practical to use. I enjoyed the stories and each subject was covered in enough detail to give understanding, the links to the source material are also useful for gaining greater depth if required.

What makes this book an exceptional 5 star read is the many ways to apply the learning through easy to remember practical tips. For me, this book made Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi's concept of Flow much more tangible. If you are looking to get more Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in your life - or to help your children, workplace or others there are many useful strategies here.

It's also worth signing up to Daniel Pinks website for the equally useful Flip Manifesto PDF which contains another set of practical ideas.
2 people found this helpful
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on 10 September 2011
I saw Dan Pink speak at a work conference some time ago and like that talk, "Drive" offers a fresh look at the modern workplace. In this book which explores the subject of motivation, Pink takes a look at classic management thinking, providing food for thought for anyone responsible for leading teams. He draws on a range of academic research and studies to highlight the impact of widely accepted reward systems on motivation. He identifies a "new operating system" which suits the opportunities offered by modern society. Central to his argument is the fact that for some, motivation is driven by autonomy, mastery and purpose, which are explored in detail in dedicated chapters.

The book is well set out and clearly written, with a useful recap at the end, as well as pointers to a range of additional resources. After enjoying this book, I went on to buy some books covering the timeless work of Peter Drucker Essential Drucker (Classic Drucker Collection).
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on 13 October 2015
This book is so important, that you can't even imagine.
It's like the difference between a horse and a car.
Take that analogy and apply it to what motivates humans. It's a huge step forward.
My total respect and appreciation for this book, its author and all the people that worked in order to reach this great understanding.
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