Book Review: Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink in his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” argues that there is wide gap between what the science knows and what corporation do when it comes to implementing policies to motivate people to do their best. Pink argues that intrinsic motivation is much more powerful than extrinsic motivation. Company policies have long relied on boosting extrinsic motivation which works well in defined tasks but not where imagination, creativity and innovation is required. Pink states that only engagement can produce mastery and the pursuit of mastery. Today, more than 50% of employees in US are not engaged at work. The author describes case studies of implementing Motivation 3.0 in companies like Google (20% free-time where employees can work on their own pet projects), 3M and a software company in Australia.

According to Pink, there are three levels or types of motivations:
• Motivation 1.0 - The basic operating system for the first few thousand years based on the primary needs - food, shelter, clothing and reproduction
• Motivation 2.0 - The carrot and the stick - reward and punishment model
• Motivation 3.0 - Seeks engagement and a desire to do better which leads to mastery and the pursuit of excellence

Unleashing Motivation 3.0 requires three elements:
• Autonomy – provide employees with autonomy over the four main aspects of work: when they do it (time), how they do it (technique), whom they do it with (team) and what they do (task)
• Mastery – allow employees to become better at something that matters to them
• Purpose – People want to be part of something that is bigger than they are

While the message is very powerful, I don’t think it requires 250+ pages of text. The last section is a toolkit providing implementation guidance in various situations - which in my opinion is pretty much repetition. The TED Talk (can be accessed at - ) by the author summarizes the concepts. If you are interested and short on time just listen to the TED talk and you should be pretty well informed. Overall the message is pretty powerful  – I wish it was a shorter – Maybe a research paper in a journal or a magazine article ?


“Rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus. That’s helpful when there’s a clear path to a solution.”

“Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others – sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on- can sometimes have dangerous side effects.”

“The businesses that offered autonomy grew at four times the rate of the control-oriented firms and had one-third the turnover.”

“Intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity; controlling extrinsic motivation is detrimental to creativity.”

“"Being a professional - is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them."”

“Carrots (rewards) & sticks (punishments) are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery, & purpose.”

“The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.”

“The essential requirement: Any extrinsic reward should be unexpected and offered only after the task is complete.”

 “When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity,”

“An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. That is, there’s an algorithm for solving it. A heuristic task is the opposite. Precisely because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution.”

Book Review: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

I have read a few inspirational and self-help live-better books and this book will certainly not rank among the top tier. The story just does not flow naturally –  giving it a second thought it seems more like a Bollywood saga. All bad things happen to a successful person, he fights back and then a happy ending. I will rate it as an average book in the relevant genre.  Nonetheless, even though the binding story is mediocre, the message is very powerful. Sharma states 7 principles and explains them in detail:
1. Master your mind
2. Follow your purpose
3. Practice kaizen
4. Live with discipline
5. Respect your time
6. Selflessly serve others
7. Embrace the present  

Favorite Quotes: 

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination”
“The moment I stopped spending so much time chasing the big pleasure of life. I began to enjoy the little ones, like watching the stars dancing in moonlit sky or soaking in the sunbeams of a glorious summer morning.”

“Saying that you don't have time to improve your thoughts and improve your lives is like saying you don't have time to stop at the gas station because you are too busy driving.”

“Act as if failure is impossible, and your success will be assured. Wipe out every thought of not achieving your objectives, whether they are material or spiritual. Be brave, and set no limits on the workings of your imagination.”
“Never be a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”

 “When one door closes another opens. But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.”
“Time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return again. Those who use time wisely from an early age are rewarded with rich, productive and satisfying lives.”
“Wage war against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of your mind. They will see that they are unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors.”
“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master”

“Worry drains the mind of its power and, sooner or later, it injures the soul”
“The Chinese character for 'crisis' is comprised of two sub-characters: one that spells danger and another that spells opportunity. I guess that even the ancient Chinese knew that there is a bright side to the darkest circumstance — if you have the courage to look for it”
“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares. I overcame the nightmares because of my dreams”
“Things are always created twice: first in the workshop of the mind and then, and only then, in reality”
“There is nothing noble about being superior to some other person. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds: your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
“Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued. It must ensue. And it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”
“There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery. From struggle comes strength. Even pain can be a wonderful teacher.”
“The only limits on your life are those that you set yourself.”

Printing my comb

A Makerbot printing my comb ..

Makerbot in action

Raw Material: Which color comb do you want ?

The makerbot scanner


The CAD application

Other cool stuff made by makerbot: Gears

 Other cool stuff made by makerbot: Lego blocks