drive summary

Drive (Daniel H. Pink) – Summary and Review (VIDEO)

If you ever lacked motivation for yourself or wondered how to motivate your team (or even your kids), the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink offers a lot of answers. It goes against the old-school method of carrot or stick mentality and shows you what are the actual drivers for human behavior.

It is a phenomenal book that is worth becoming part of your permanent self-help collection.

But, it is also a long one. So, before you spend any time on it, check out this animated Drive summary. It will give you the best concepts and tactics from the book, so you can decide for yourself if this is your cup of tea.

Drive Summary Video

Why Carrot or Stick Motivation No Longer Works

Much of what we know about motivation is wrong.

Or, at the very least highly outdated.

Just look around for a second.

At work, at school and even at home, most motivation methods are based on some variation of the carrot and stick – if you do well, you get a reward, if you don’t do well, you get some sort of punishment.

Most companies (at least the bigger ones) operate based on it – you perform a task faster or better, you get a bonus at the end of the year or a promotion. If you don’t perform according to expectations, you might get demoted or even fired.

Education is largely based on the same principle – you do good, you get good grade, you don’t do as good, a bad one.

Even young kids are brought up with a similar motivation framework of “if this than that”. You eat your veggies, you get a toy, you misbehave, you get something taken away.

And while the carrot and stick method DOES work, it was created for a very different era and totally different circumstances. It worked quite well in the era of industrialization when it was easy to measure what gets down and how was. But, this is no longer the case. Plus, research has shown there are far superior methods to getting someone motivated.

So, let’s dig into the “surprising truth about what motivates us” as the author calls is. A more complete motivation model suitable for the 21st century.

The 2 Types Of Motivation

There are generally two types of motivation:

1) Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic or external – more money, a better grade, more TV time and so on.

And while extrinsic motivators do work they are usually do so in the short-term only.

They can even have a negative holistic effect. As people concentrate on the reward, it decreases their creativity. It also encourages people to cheat and exploit an incentive based-system. But, most of all, people get used to them pretty fast.

If the motivator is taken away, the behavior stops.

2) Intrinsic Motivation

On the other side of the coin, we have the 2nd type of motivation – intrinsic or internal – things like satisfaction of a job well done, a sense of accomplishment, purpose, pride, belonging.

It is the desire to do something for the internal satisfaction of it.

Just think of a child playing with a toy. They are not paid to do it – their own curiosity and enjoyment is enough.

Intrinsic motivation and how to use it is what most of the Drive book is dedicated on so lets dig deeper into it.

The 3 Components of Intrinsic Motivation

There are 3 components to internal motivation:


Autonomy = having a choice in what you do and being-self driven.

When people are given freedom over the 4Ts, the results can be phenomenal:

  • Tasks
  • Time
  • Technique
  • Team

You hear a lot about this type of autonomy in big tech companies such as Google and Facebook which allow their employees to dedicate a certain portion of their working hours to whatever project they want, of course within some sort of limit.

This is for example how Gmail and Google Maps first started.

People are naturally wired to be-self driven. When they are allowed to choose what they work on (tasks), when they work on it (time), how they accomplish it (technique) and who they work with (team), they perform much better due to the sense of autonomy.


The second component is called MASTERY – wanting to get more skilled and to be recognized for your competency.

One of the best ways to get better at something is make use of the principle of “deliberate practice“:

  • It starts off by doing challenging tasks that are just at the limit of your ability, but not so hard that you would certainly fail
  • Add to that setting clear goals for yourself
  • Sprinkle a bit of fast feedback on how you are doing and what you can you improve
  • And finally mix in the final ingredient of consistency in all of the above

And you have a magnificent dish called “MASTERY” that will ensure you keep on getting better and better at your chosen skill.

The Importance Of Performance Reviews

This is why regular and meaningful performance reviews are vital in companies. If management can ensure that every employee is tasked with a task that is not too easy for them (leading to boredom), but not unattainably hard (leading to stress), the company blossoms.

The author calls these tasks “Goldilocks tasks

Goldilocks tasks – tasks that are not too hard, not too easy, just right to ensure that you are getting better without getting stressed.

And of course, you can do your own performance review and set your own Goldilocks, as long as you try to be as objective as possible.


And the final component of intrinsic motivation – PURPOSE

Having a higher purpose or at the very least an understanding of the common purpose and the impact your work has is quite motivation on its own. This is why you see so many people trade higher paying jobs for ones that have a greater impact.

This is how organizations such as “Doctors without borders” exist where some of the most skilled and highly paid medical professionals end up in the most remote places in the world. It is clearly not for the money, but for the purpose and impact they have.

When you set your own or the company values to deeper ideals and you clearly explain WHY something needs to be done – motivation blossoms.

Your Turn Now

And there you have it, the 3 legs that hold the intrinsic motivation stool together:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

If you can create an environment built around that at work, at school, at home and most of all – for yourself, you’ll go much faster, much further and much easier than you ever could with something as outdated as an extrinsic carrot and stick methodology.