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This book comes with a lot of hype, it was a New York Times top 10 bestseller and has been described as a “bucket list” book for everyone from managers to parents.

The book begins by examining traditional motivational tools – mainly carrot and stick type approaches. It goes on to give an overview of various studies based on what it term motivation 2.0 models including scenarios where this type of motivation does and doesn’t work. Ultimately it concludes that it is an outdated mode of motivation; blaming this on its reliance of extrinsic motivation.

It then introduces a different perspective on motivation, “motivation 3.0”, tapping into a individuals intrinsic motivation – summarising that an individual will be naturally motivated if the task meets certain criteria and ultimately taps into their intrinsic motivation.

The three key elements that Pink alludes to are:

Autonomy – people want control over what they do
Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters
Purpose – the pursuit of a greater objective.

It is the combination of these 3 elements that ignite the highest level of motivation in our workforce or indeed children. However even tapping into individual elements can achieve greater results than traditional methods.

The book provides extensive examples and studies of where this motivational method has worked and referencing various psychologists who have conducted the studies. For an academic wanting to pursue the background that’s fine but for the average reader it’s probably a little too much.

I found the book very useful in further understanding my teams and children and definitely picked up some useful tools – at the end of the book is a really useful toolkit describing/applying the theory in different scenarios from “ways to improve your company” to “Type 1 for parents and educators – seven ideas for helping our kids”

This toolkit is something I have and will continually refer back to as a refresher on what is fundamentally a very useful approach.

Even if you find some passages heavy stick with it for a refreshing and practical approach to motivation that works.

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