Daniel H. Pink's bestseller on motivation and its sources is energetically written: a cross between an evangelical tract and a popular science book!

I am converted!

It recognizes that external incentives to motivation (rewards or punishments) only work when the task is routine, susceptible to regularization with distinct, structured outcomes. After or beyond which it fails!

Yet much of our practice at home, at work or in the community is designed on the basis of it.

But we are curious beings, motivated by intrinsic rewards that enable us to practice autonomy and mastery, framed by purpose.

Given this our educational, working and societal structures need an overhaul. A redesign so that our organizational and cultural arrangements nurture rather than frustrate.

There are wonderful examples from the fact that blood donations fall in Sweden when monetary rewards are offered (people are more deeply rewarded by the felt altruism of giving) to companies that have dispersed their 'call centres' to home working giving staff the remit to answer as they feel best boosting productivity and workers' felt engagement.

My favourite piece of research is about different understandings of intelligence  - as a fixed entity and as an incremental good - that lead to deeply different approaches to how we approach reality and the mastery of new opportunities. The first sees every accomplishment as a matching a fixed good so you naturally limit your challenge to the immediately achievable. The second sees every challenge as an opportunity to grow into a new set of mastered skills such that the world is malleable to achievement.

Beautifully thought provoking from how you organize teams to how you conduct performance reviews (timely in the latter instance, as I have one to offer next week)!


  1. You will have seen the synthesis of the book on YouTube?

  2. Thanks for introducing me to this. I am converted too!


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