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A friend recently recommended a book to me called “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink. I’m glad I read it. There was much about the book that resonated with me. While I believe that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains the underlying principles for much of what is presented in the book it was eye-opening to read how much science goes behind the notions of focusing on higher planes. Now that many of us seldom worry about where our next meal will come from we can move to new levels.

I’d noted from many other readings that society tends to focus on the higher levels when there are forms of slavery – take the Romans or the Greeks as early examples. Slavery was a means of taking mundane tasks and having others perform them. Today we have computerization. This is an apparently “humane” form of slavery… I say “apparently” since much of the computerization replaces work that humans might otherwise perform.

The key message that I took away as someone that leads software development teams is that motivating individuals is not the problem. Finding ways to NOT de-motivate them is the real challenge. For better or worse, many individuals have an impact on the motivation of software developers that I work with. A lack of understanding of the principles in this book make it all too easy to demotivate high performers.

motivating individuals is not the problem. Finding ways to NOT de-motivate them is the real challenge.

I hope that my Drive for excellence will motivate others around me. I hope that people that work with me will say, “I’m better for working with him than I was before.”


If you are intrinsically motivated I highly recommend that you read Drive. I found it uplifting and a read that reinforces my beliefs. If you are extrinsically motivated you should probably still read the book so you know how to motivate and “leverage” intrinsically motivated people. Or at least figure out how to not demotivate them. However, I’ve found that extrinsically motivated people don’t understand the information and thus to not take to heart the actions that demotivate (and probably didn’t make it this far in my post anyway.)

I hope you enjoy reading Drive.

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