Review: Daniel H. Pink - Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I’ve been catching up to a lot of things lately concerning my work environment. Not only do I work for a great company, I also like what I do there. Why is that? Why do I like to go to work while I know other people who are having difficulties getting to theirs? A colleague suggested I would read the Drive book. And so I did. Here’s what I think of it.

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Brief Recap

What Daniel H. Pink wants you to understand, is that the “carrots and sticks” model we have used for decades worked well when the model was created. Indeed, for small repetitive tasks, we perform better when we are presented with bonuses or when failing means we get a punishment. But most of our workplaces have evolved. A lot of people don’t do small, boring, repetitive tasks these days.

And that makes us burn out and become depressed with the jobs we do. Mr. Pink points out that a lot of studies have been going on about the subject. Research discovered that people like you and me can be motivated by a task itself. However, that motivation can disappear when they need to perform this task in a “carrots and sticks” environment. The fun, challenging task will turn into work.

So what can you do about that? The book explains the concept of autonomy and what some companies like Google or Atlassian do to give their employees different levels of autonomy. Because granted, employees need to do their work. But if they are motivated to do it, projects are more likely to finish on time and on budget. And, we should not forget the great impact of this, the employees will be happier.

My Two Cents

I understand what Mr. Pink is trying to tell through this book. If you promise someone a treat or a bonus for doing a job, they will be doing the job for your promised “carrot” and not for the job itself. Next time you want the job done, you’ll need to promise at least a “carrot” of the same value. Don’t be surprised that you might have to promise more.

I find this really important. We do a lot of things in our lives without standing still and questioning why we do them. As Mr. Pink explains, sometimes we do things just because we like the challenge it gives us. If we are free to do a given task in a way we want, at what time we want and with who we want, we can use our own creativity to help us finish the task in a way we want.


I enjoyed this book a lot. It’s a great book for anyone. Whether you are a CEO or an employee of a company, this book provides you with things to say to each other to make each others working days better. Unless of course, you’re already a “free man”. If you already have full autonomy over your work tasks, you will not learn so much of this book as but why it is important you have it. And that it is not so common as you might think.

I rate the book 5 stars. What is your opinion? Have you read Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us? Do you have autonomy at your work? Or do you want it? Leave a response in the comment section below!