Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is the fourth non-fiction book by Daniel Pink. The book was published in 2009 by Riverhead Hardcover. It argues that human motivation is largely intrinsic, and that the aspects of this motivation can be divided into autonomy, mastery, and purpose.[1] He argues against old models of motivation driven by rewards and fear of punishment, dominated by extrinsic factors such as money.[2][3]

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Hardcover edition
AuthorDaniel H. Pink
CountryUnited States
PublisherRiverhead Hardcover
Publication date
December 29, 2009
Media typePrint (Hardback), E-book, Audiobook


Based on studies done at MIT and other universities,[4] higher pay and bonuses resulted in better performance ONLY if the task consisted of basic, mechanical skills. It worked for problems with a defined set of steps and a single answer. If the task involved cognitive skills, decision-making, creativity, or higher-order thinking, higher pay resulted in lower performance. As a supervisor, you should pay employees enough that they are not focused on meeting basic needs and feel that they are being paid fairly. If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated. Pink suggests that you should pay enough “to take the issue of money off the table.”

To motivate employees who work beyond basic tasks, Pink argues that supporting employees in the following three areas will result in increased performance and satisfaction:

  • Autonomy — Our desire to be self directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
  • Mastery — The urge to get better skilled.
  • Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.[5]


  1. ^ Silber, Kenneth (May 7, 2010). "MIND Reviews: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us". Scientific American. Archived from the original on 2012-10-14.
  2. ^ Richard Eisenberg (January 29, 2010). "'Drive' author Daniel Pink: Raises make bad motivators". USA Today.
  3. ^ Chris Cameron (May 14, 2010). "Weekend Reading: Drive, by Daniel Pink".
  4. ^ Ariely, Dan; Gneezy, Uri; Loewenstein, George; Mazar, Nina (July 2008). "Large Stakes and Big Mistakes" (PDF). Review of Economic Studies (76): 451–469.
  5. ^ Pink, Daniel H. Drive: (2009) The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books, New York, New York

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