Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Hardcover edition
Author Daniel H. Pink
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Riverhead Hardcover
Publication date
December 29, 2009
Media type Print (Hardback), E-book
Pages 256
ISBN 978-1594488849
OCLC 311778265

Drive is the fourth non-fiction book by Daniel Pink. The book was published on December 29, 2009 by Riverhead Hardcover. In the text, he argues that human motivation is largely intrinsic, and that the aspects of this motivation can be divided into autonomy, mastery, and purpose.[1] He argues against old models of motivation driven by rewards and fear of punishment, dominated by extrinsic factors such as money.[2][3]


In his book Daniel Pink has made a 140-character summary of what the book is about, in the style of Twitter:

"Carrots & Sticks are so last Century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose."[4][5]

Based on studies done at MIT and other universities,[6] higher pay and bonuses resulted in better performance ONLY if the task consisted of basic, mechanical skills. It worked for problems with a defined set of steps and a single answer. If the task involved cognitive skills, decision-making, creativity, or higher-order thinking, higher pay resulted in lower performance. As a supervisor, you should pay employees enough that they are not focused on meeting basic needs and feel that they are being paid fairly. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. Pink suggests that you should pay enough “to take the issue of money off the table.”

To motivate employees who work beyond basic tasks, give them these three factors to increase performance and satisfaction:

  • Autonomy — Our desire to be self directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
  • Mastery — The urge to get better skills.
  • Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.[7]

RSAnimate has made a ten-minute animation video summary adapted from Daniel Pink's talk at the RSA.[8]


  1. ^ "MIND Reviews: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us". Scientific American. May 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ Richard Eisenberg (January 29, 2010). "'Drive' author Daniel Pink: Raises make bad motivators". USA Today. 
  3. ^ Chris Cameron (May 14, 2010). "Weekend Reading: Drive, by Daniel Pink". 
  4. ^ Pink, Daniel H. (2010). Drive – The Surprising Truth about what motivates us. 2815 of 3967: Canongate Books. ISBN 978-1-84767-888-1. 
  5. ^ Beth Hawkins (November 12, 2010). "'Drive' author Daniel Pink offers creative ways for educators to 'lighten their load'". MinnPost. 
  6. ^ Dan Ariely, et. al. (July 2008). "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes" (PDF). 
  7. ^ Pink, Daniel H. Drive: (2009) The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books, New York, New York
  8. ^ "RSA ANIMATE - DRIVE". 

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