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Drive Summary

5 min read ⌚ 

Thought you knew how to motivate yourself and those around you? Think again. As Daniel Pink explains in Drive, the old-school notion of motivation – offering rewards – is no longer relevant in today’s world.

The secret to high performance lies in our innate desire to be autonomous, to discover and create, and to do better. 

Drawing on 40 years of scientific research on human motivation, Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of To Sell is Human, explains why what science says and what actually works is very different.


Pay your son to take out the trash — and you’ve pretty much guaranteed the kid will never do it again for free.

Who Should Read “Drive”? And Why?

Don’t give priority to external rewards, today’s people require much more than that. Do you want your associates to lose focus, and concentrate only on the reward? Well, think twice before you make any rash decisions.

The Wikipedia example endorses Daniel H. Pink’s theory in numerous ways. For instance, literally thousands of people on a day to day basis contribute to the site, without getting anything in return.

As such this book is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in comprehending the other side of motivation.

About Daniel H. Pink

Daniel H. Pink is an American author, who wrote several books linked to management, behavioral science, progress, and motivation.

His articles have appeared in many popular journals including the New York Times and Wired.

“Drive Summary”

Today offering someone a reward for doing something might actually have negative side effects. It signals to that person that the task is undesirable, and they’ll expect a reward every time they do it.

One of the simplest ways to lift up some person is by launching a program based on both incentives and penalties. Daniel provides detailed explanations of the do/don’t mission which technically means that you’ll get rewarded for your successes, and penalized for any laziness or unproductiveness.

Sounds fair enough? – It sure does to us:

Companies all around the world, including top-notch brands, are not only using, but remodeling the same idea in order to improve engagement, and feedback from their employees in the workplace. It sure does sound like a lot of work, but it comes naturally.

According to Pink, when the topic falls into the motivation category, there is a significant lack of harmony between what science presents as fact and what the market utilizes.

Drive Summary

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Our “Drive Summary” displays Daniel Pink’s idea about motivation that is presented as a process, which evolves as any other thing. Generally speaking, what created that impulse in the past, is no longer that effective. The whole idea is subcategorized into three main stages, with a specific number.

  • Motivation 1.0 – At its most basic level of understanding. This type emerges as a result of hunger, thirst, survival, shelter, and reproduction. Think of animals; we used to share their elementary incentives that guided us during our lifespan. Hunger compels us to look for food, and cold to return to the cave.
  • Motivation 2.0 – The second level of motivation is a result of the previously mentioned – reward vs. punishment system. This idea helped many leaders to manipulate people’s behavior and control the outcome. If you are able to do this, you receive 10% shares, etc. Unfortunately, this method is old-fashioned in the Golden Age.
  • Motivation 3.0 – True motivation is best described through several critical elements.

Pink believes the best way to motivate people and get them to perform their best is to offer them 3 things:

  • Autonomy — the desire to direct our own lives
  • Mastery — the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

Let’s take kids as our example to discuss this opportunity further:

Have you ever noticed how children run after small, feasible goals? They don’t allow their fantasy, and simplicity to be ruined by a complex understanding of the world. Out of curiosity, they discover new things and ultimately create their own little world.

All the elements in this world intrinsically motivate them, but sooner or later they also face lack of motivation. Intrinsic motivation is literally lost when a person is introduced to the world of extrinsic motivation.

In reality, paying attention only to external rewards can generate problems with efficiency in the companies. A firm can become short-term oriented – is one of the possible outcomes. In general, quick rewards can demoralize the employees, and threaten the company’s vision which is intertwined with long-term goals. The key is to notice the symptoms of such “extrinsic mentality”:

  • High-risk propensity;
  • Lower intrinsic motivation;
  • Unprofessional behavior;
  • Lack of team cohesion.

He gives examples of companies that are breaking out of the “if-then” rewards scenario and implementing bold new strategies to motivate their workers, with surprising results.

Key Lessons from “Drive”

1.      Think again
2.      Develop autonomy and enjoy
3.      The formula for success

Think again

It’s relatively easy to understand that rewards are more natural for non-routine tasks. However, the real question is what kind of bonuses. Don’t set build an invisible “conditional reward system,” it would be a lot better if you motivate them on an unconditional basis.

Give autonomy and enjoy

Autonomy yields the exclusive opportunity of choice; it allows freedom. By all means, people reap the benefits of independence, don’t deprive them of that possibility. In the best case scenario, people should focus on several autonomous features:

  • Task – What they must accomplish;
  • Time – When is the deadline;
  • Team – With whom do they share the privilege;
  • Technique – How it should be done;

The formula for success

While the vast majority of the companies are too profit-oriented, we must emphasize that goal-oriented firms can easily outmatch any short-term opponents. In general, vision and profits should not go up against each other, but you must not perceive them separately as well.

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“Drive Quotes”

Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement. Click To Tweet Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one's sights and pushing toward the horizon. Click To Tweet The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road. Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed… Click To Tweet The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road. Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

This book deservedly gained high merits for its applicable tips on not just motivation, but also on management and leadership. Don’t miss this opportunity.

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