Home Book Reviews Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us


drive_coverThe first two Daniel Pink books that I read were A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future and Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself. Free Agent Nation is about the transformation of the American workplace due to technology empowering individuals to work independently. A Whole New Mind describes the importance of utilizing the creative side (right side) of the brain for getting ahead in business. Pink is an author who observes trends, positive and negative, and links multiple sources of research that support his theory of change.

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Pink analyzes motivation through decades of research. He organizes his book into three parts. Part 1 provides the reader with a background of studies that determine what motivates people. Carrots and sticks (rewards and punishments) are touted as being successful for jobs in which only mechanical skills are necessary. For creative, right-brain tasks, Pink states that “after the fact” rewards offering praise and feedback are much better than the carrot and stick approach. He creates a “Type I” personality that describes someone whose behavior is more powered by “intrinsic” desires than “extrinsic” desires. People who exhibit Type I behavior are more concerned with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself rather than any particular external rewards. Part 2 discusses three elements, autonomy, mastery, and purpose that are necessary for motivation. In the chapter on autonomy, Pink cites numerous examples where companies have empowered employees to think more independently and creatively with fantastic results. Within the chapter on mastery, Pink provides relevant research under the headings of “Mastery is a Mindset,” “Mastery is a Pain,” and “Mastery is an Asymptote.” In describing Purpose, the author states that the most motivated people attach themselves to a cause that is larger than themselves. Part 3 is cleverly named and designed as “The Type I Toolkit.” In this section of the book, Pink provides seven different guides for scenarios in which an individual or group of individuals could apply the lessons learned in Drive. He also encourages individuals who think of additional lessons and scenarios to contact him for future updates of the Toolkit.

Drive is well-written and thought-provoking for anyone interested in learning more about motivation. Pink makes a valid case for senior management in any business, non-profit, or for-profit, to evolve their corporate culture and incentive programs from Motivation 2.0 to Motivation 3.0. His toolkit is designed to encourage discussions among individuals about the concepts and the benefits of implementing a Motivation 3.0, Type I rewards system. The increasing availability of knowledge through the Internet encourages individuals to become more creative and right-brain-driven. Pink’s encouragement of the development of Type I’s may be prescient for a shift in management thinking given the widening availability of technology and knowledge. I encourage you to read Drive.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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