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Drive The surprising truth about what motivates us Book Review
Andrei Clinciu Article AUthor
Andrei Clinciu
  • 2019-02-08T17:17:00Z
  • 3 min to read

My Recommendation: 4/10
What truly motivates us? What gets us up in the morning and gets us started on a project?

The one thing that was valuable in this book was Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of Flow. Flow, as I realized is a mental state of operation when a person is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment.
Programming feels like a state of Flow.

I remember reading this book a few years ago. I don't really remember too many details from it.

This stands as an example that our memories are based on emotional events of inspiration and motivation. Has this book motivated or inspired me in any way? I don't remember!

Without peeking at my notes I'm really left without any guesses as to what the rest of the book was about.

Chapter 1 & 2

Talks about 2 different "operating systems" of our motivation. Motivation 1.0 which was simply put trying to survive. A system used for the majority of the human history.
Motivation 2.0 which is known as reward and punishment based on activities.

The author argues that Intrinsic Motivation is the only type of motivation that "drives" anyone to do anything. It's more powerful than reward and punishment. The higher performance in individuals.
Citing certain experiments when monetary incentives didn't lead to a the desired behaviour.

The same with punishments for doing things wrong. Especially if they're monetary punishments, they actually drastically decrease the likelyhood of something being done.

The problem with the Motivation 2.0 or "carrots and sticks" approach of reward and punishment has 7 flaws:

  1. It extinguished intrinsic motivation
  2. It diminishes performance
  3. It crushes creativity (and problem solving!)
  4. It eliminates good behavior
  5. It encourages cheating and unethical behavior
  6. It becomes addictive
  7. And it fosters short term thinking which is the cause of most of the problems on our planet

Type I and X

Chapter 3 went on to discuss different types of people A, B, I and X. Maybe a generalization?. As a reality things are different and have a broader context.
The idea is that there are I intrinsic and X extrinsic motivations in people. Type I always outperform type X in the long run.
Type I wants recognition for accomplishments and money is not the only thing that matters.

The 3 key elements of motivation

  • Autonomy is different than independence. Yet autonomy is essential in motivation. You can chose how to do something. Independence is choosing not to do something.
  • Mastery is an important aspect in becoming a craftsman. It's a mindset of continuous improvement which means that it takes time and is difficult. An all consuming effort. And it's an asymptote, one never reaches the final stages since there are always things to improve and to become better at.. A master always improves
  • Purpose - Having a meaning. Setting worthwhile goals.

Misc Ideas

Part 3 contains a Toolkit with ideas for individuals and organizations
It talks about taking a sabbatical 365 year every 7 years to travel the world and find new meaning and ideas.
And that paying people above average is essential and

Some ideas for educators and parents including why combining chores and allowance is a bad idea.
The last pages are a reading list of interesting books.

Per overall the book exactly one great idea of Flow. The rest are just stories that support Flow. Motivation is intrinsic and people require autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Check out other book reviews.

Ideas and comments

Andrei Clinciu
Andrei Clinciu

I'm a Full Stack Software Developer specializing in creating websites and applications which aid businesses to automate. Software which can help you simplify your life. Let's work together!

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