by Daniel H. Pink
ISBN: 1594484805
Finished 2/27/16
Amazon page for details and reviews


As we evolved from primitive people into interconnected societies, our motivation shifted from an internal biological drive (Motivation 1.0) to external reward and punishment (2.0). But scientists have realized that carrots and sticks are not truly effective. Motivation 3.0 is based on autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Our drive is not about how much we are paid, but how we feel about the work we do. When our work environments are based on these principles, we no longer need to depend on management for results: the results are fueled by our intrinsic motivation. Drive affirms what we already know in our hearts. It is an affirmation of our humanity.


Early on: scientists knew 2 main drives powered human behavior
– Biological drive
– External reward/punishment

Monkey experiment: third drive
– Intrinsic reward in performing the task
– Sometimes the external reward produced worse results

When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest in the activity

Predicting success of encyclopedias in 2010 from 1995: Encarta vs. Wikipedia

Societal operating system (OS):
– Laws, social customs, economic arrangements
– Social OS: assumptions about human behavior

Ancient people: motivated primarily by biological drive
– Motivation 1.0
– In today’s society, often we need to restrain this drive

Motivation 2.0: external reward and punishment

Engine of commerce has been fueled by carrots and sticks

Motivation 2.1:
– Relaxed dress codes, more flexible schedules
– Barely better

Motivation 2.0 is deeply unreliable

3 incompatibility problems:
– 1. How we organize what we do
– Open source is 21st century business model
– Not just software
– Created for free by volunteers, often in groups
– Intrinsic rewards
– Low-profit LLCs
– Social businesses
– 2. How we think about what we do
– Economics: study of behavior, not money
– We are predictably irrational
– Some choices are self-actualizing, not motivated by pure profit
– 3. How we do what we do
– Algorithmic vs. heuristic tasks:
– Algorithmic: follow a single instruction set to one conclusion
– Heuristic: experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution
– 30% of new work is algorithmic, 70% is heuristic
– Extrinsic motivation may be detrimental to creativity
– Workers responsible for their own self-direction

Carrots and sticks can:

– Extinguish intrinsic motivation
– Diminish performance
– Crush creativity
– Crowd out good behavior
– Encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior
– Become addictive
– Foster short-term thinking

Salary, benefits, and perks: baseline rewards
– If these aren’t equitable, focus will be on unfairness and anxiety
– You get neither:
– The predictability of extrinsic motivation
– The weirdness of intrinsic motivation
– But once we pass that threshold, carrots and sticks achieve the opposite of the intended claims

(Tom) Sawyer Effect: practices that can turn play into work or work into play

Unexpected rewards don’t harm results, but “if-then” causes lowest motivation because people forfeit some of their autonomy

Higher rewards can lead to worse performance

Commissioned art rated as significantly less creative than non-commissioned works
– Artists felt more constrained when performing for pay

Extrinsic rewards can be effective for algorithmic tasks but dangerous for heuristic tasks

Offering to pay female blood donors decreased donations by nearly half. Offering to donate the money directly was on par with no reward

Goals people set themselves are usually healthy, but goals set by others can have dangerous side effects

Goals narrow focus
– Can help concentration
– But also hinder wide-ranging thinking
– Can lead to unethical behavior

Day care: fine for late pickup doubled number of late parents

By offering a reward, a principal (parent, teacher, boss) signals to the agent (child, student, employee) that the task is undesirable
– Also sets a precedent: task will never be done again without reward, and you may have to keep increasing that reward

Fixating on an immediate reward can damage performance over time

But carrots and sticks work well in some circumstances
– Baseline wages, benefits, etc. must be fair
– If the task is simple/routine, it may be fine to offer extrinsic rewards

To increase chances of success offering rewards for mechanical tasks:
– Offer rationale
– Acknowledge that the task is boring
– Allow people to complete the task their own way

When artists viewed their paid work as “enabling” or an opportunity for feedback instead of “constraining,” creativity was high

Any extrinsic reward should be unexpected and offered only after the task is complete
– E.g. shift “if-then” rewards to “now that”
– However, repeated “now that” bonuses can become expected “if-then” entitlements

Consider non-tangible rewards, like praise and positive feedback

Also provide useful information, especially specific feedback and praise about effort and strategy rather than a particular outcome

Self-determination theory (SDT): We have 3 innate psychological needs:
– Competence, autonomy, relatedness
– When the needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy. If not, we’re miserable

Type A vs. Type B:
– A: More likely to have heart disease
– B: Just as intelligent and often as ambitious, but drive is confidence and steadiness

Managerial techniques:
– Theory X: You believe in the “mediocrity of the masses” and achieve limited results
– Theory Y: Possibilities are vast for the individuals and the company

Type I vs. Type X Dispositions:
– Type X: Fueled by extrinsic desires
– Type I: Fueled by intrinsic desires

– Type I behavior is made, not born
– Type Is almost always outperform Type Xs in the long run
– Type I behavior does not disdain money or recognition, but does not depend on it
– Type I behavior is a renewable resource
– Type I behavior promotes greater physical and mental well-being

Type I behavior depends on autonomy, mastery, and purpose

ROWE: Results-only work environment
– No schedules
– Employees just have to get work done
– When/how/where they want
– Achievement not linked to compensation
– People aren’t resources, but partners

Our basic nature: curious and self-directed

Management may not be a response to a state of passive inertia. It may be producing that state

Behavior can be categorized as either controlled or autonomous

Autonomy != independence
– Acting with choice
– We can be both autonomous and interdependent

Autonomous motivation promotes conceptual understanding, persistence, better grades, productivity, fewer burnouts, and greater well-being

Even the notion of empowerment assumes the corporation has all the power and ladles it to grateful employees. This is not autonomy
– Same thing for flex time: still a form of control

Management is the problem, not the solution

Four essentials of autonomy:
– Task: what people do
– Time: when they do it
– Technique: how they do it
– Team: whom they do it with

Atlassian, Google, and 3M: Freedom to work on what you want for a significant chunk of paid time
– Post-it Notes came out of 15% time at 3M

Lawyers: lowest levels of autonomy. Billable hours

Zappos: Pay people to leave after 1 week if it isn’t for them
– Those who stay in the call center have autonomy over technique
– Result: minimal turnover

Homeshoring: employees work at home, removed from physical monitoring

Whole Foods Market: Team members do the hiring
– 30 day trial period
– Then the team votes whether to hire full time

People working in self-organized teams are more satisfied than those working in inherited teams

Those higher in intrinsic motivators are better coworkers

Encouraging autonomy doesn’t mean discouraging accountability

Organizers must provide scaffolding to help people in transition to autonomy

Different individuals prize different aspects of autonomy

Control: opposite of autonomy
– Control leads to compliance
– Autonomy leads to engagement
– Only engagement can produce mastery

Cost of disengagement: $300 billion/year in lost productivity
– 50% of employees are note engaged
– ~$20% actively disengaged
– In some countries only 2-3% are highly engaged

During play, people have autotelic experiences: “flow”
– The activity is its own reward
– Relationship between what a person had to do and could do was perfect
– Sense of time, place, and self melted away

Creating flow-friendly environments that help people move toward mastery can increase productivity and satisfaction at work

Desire for intellectual challenge is the best predictor of productivity

Frequent source of workplace frustration: the mismatch between what people must do and can do
– When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety
– When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom
– When the relationship is just right, the result is flow

Another tactic to increase flow: turn work into play

3 laws of mastery:
– 1. Mastery is a mindset
– Fixed vs. growth mindset
– Performance vs. learning goals: only learning leads to mastery
– Toward adversity: helpless vs. mastery-oriented
– 2. Mastery is a pain
– Grit: perseverance and passion for long-term goals
– Intense effort over a long time
– 3. Mastery is an asymptote
– Impossible to realize fully, but you get ever closer to it
– Joy in the pursuit, not the realization
– Mastery attracts because it eludes

Any 3 of these could signal a lack of flow, even after only 2 days:
– Restlessness or being on edge
– Easily fatigued
– Difficulty concentrating
– Irritability
– Muscle tension
– Sleep disturbance

Children are the best example of people with high amounts of flow

Purpose motive in 3 areas:
1. Goals
2. Words
3. Policies

Both baby boomers and millennials tend to choose non-monetary factors in compensation

A healthy society or business organization begins with purpose and considers profit a way to move toward that end or a happy byproduct of its attainment

The science backing motivation 3.0 confirms what we already know in our hearts

Repairing the mismatch and bringing our understanding of motivation into the 21st century is more than an essential move for business. It’s an affirmation of our humanity.