Book Review: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Drive Book Cover Drive
Daniel H. Pink
Business & Economics
Penguin
2011-04
260

Review: I really wanted to like this book because I am a Dan Pink fan and the topic is an important one. Anyone who has managed others knows that money is not a long-term motivator—here it’s almost presented as an “a ha.” He does remind us that what people really want is autonomy, purpose, and mastery…e.g. they want control over their work, to be part of something bigger, and to get better at what they do and that incentives that key into those areas will motivate people. And he shows that if you use money to get people to perform it often backfires. True but not new news to good managers.

Ultimately he draws distinctions between extrinsic/intrinsic motivations and concludes that intrinsic motivators are more powerful. When he starts making suggestions on how to apply his ideas to business the limits of his academic background become apparent. He recommends that baseline compensation be adequate and fair for everyone. Great in theory but in practice what about the people who don’t pull their weight? Should they get the same baseline compensation? This baseline is also supposed to equal what other people in similar jobs at other companies get. But if everyone is guaranteed average, no one can ever earn above average. I’m giving this a 3 because there is good information for newer managers; however, read his recommendations with a jaundiced eye.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

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