Book Notes: Drive

Drive by Daniel Pink

Drive studies the science of motivation. The author takes the current carrot-and-stick model of motivation and expands it with three concepts. Autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives. Mastery is the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters. Purpose is the yearning to do something in the service of something larger than ourselves.


The author separates motivation into three layers. Motivation 1.0 is the biological drive for food, water, and sex. Motivation 2.0 is built around external rewards and punishments. And Motivation 3.0 consists of Authority, Mastery, and Purpose.

The problem with Motivation 2.0 is that it may squash intrinsic motivation. It may also encourage unethical behaviour and short-term thinking. Motivation 2.0 may be useful for rote tasks. However, it is problematic for creative work.


Autonomy consists of four conditions:

  1. Task autonomy (What a person does)
  2. Time autonomy (When it is done)
  3. Team autonomy (Whom they do it with)
  4. Technique autonomy (How they do it)


Engagement produces Mastery. Mastery begins with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of Flow. A task must match our abilities and not be too easy or too hard.

There are three rules to Mastery:

  1. Growth mindset
  2. Effort, grit, and deliberate practice
  3. Asymptotic. Mastery is a journey, not a destination.


Purpose is the desire to make a contribution to a cause that is greater than oneself that endures over the long term.

Purpose is expressed in three ways:

  1. Goals that address profits and purpose
  2. Language that expresses more than self-interest
  3. Policies that allow the pursuit of purpose