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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

18 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Apr 19, 2010 6:06 AM by Kit Davies

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Andy Dent

Posts: 165
Nickname: andydent
Registered: Nov, 2005

Mastery != Flow Posted: Apr 16, 2010 8:40 PM
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> he lumps mastery and flow together, which seem to me to be two very
> different things. Mastery is something that is achieved
> over years, a little bit at a time. It's often a difficult
> process with many ups and downs and small insights that
> can take weeks or months to achieve. Flow is the opposite;
> it's the daily satisfaction you get from doing something
> that's not too easy but not too hard.

I am so dismayed by his conflation of these two ideas that I'm not even going to bother reading the book, although I think your description of Flow is simplistic.

The idea of mastering anything is well established, there's a lot of stuff around about the 10,000 hours theory and craftsmanship.
(I like the Bookrapper precis of Talent is Overrated and Outliers

Flow is equally well documented, good links to Csíkszentmihályi's theories on and can be experienced at any level of mastery.

One of the most important things about a development environment is making it easy for people to achieve Flow.

People who achieve Flow are happy at work.


Posts: 1
Nickname: arun4763
Registered: Jun, 2005

Re: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Posted: Apr 16, 2010 11:03 PM
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Maslow described this in the 1950's
Your first interest is your stomach, next your heart and last your mind. In other words (Maslow's) everyone is first concerned about food, shelter and clothes. Then comes a need for warmth and love. Last is self-actualization.
The last is what is discussed in the above entries as "motivation".

Google has tried to do the balancing trick between company goals and motivation (self-actualization). An employee is allowed to spend x% of his time on what he wants to do.
This has resulted in quite a few astonishing developemnts - 'Google earth' to name one.

So we do see environments that support self-actualization. We just need to see more of it.
More precisely, this requires capital in the company to provide for longer gestation times, a freedom to explore, an ambience that encourages feedback and discussion, monitoring all aspects of work and not just the regular results, encouraging activity and not frowning upon different thinking, .. well am I being too idelaistic...

Have a nice day


Posts: 2
Nickname: trevor10
Registered: May, 2006

Re: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Posted: Apr 17, 2010 1:12 AM
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I think the author has got it right. These are certainly the things that motivate me.

One other motivator though is an annual profit share, - the John Lewis model, where everyone gets a share of the profits for the year. This seems to work very well for John Lewis, so why not for other companies too?

Kit Davies

Posts: 9
Nickname: kitd
Registered: Sep, 2003

Re: Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Posted: Apr 19, 2010 6:06 AM
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There was an educationalist in the 1920's in the UK called Thorold Coade who believed that all human beings are fundamentally motivated by 2 urges (he called them 'spiritual' urges, but not in a religious sense):

1. Creating - building a product, service, even self-creating one's own career and talents.

2. Serving - providing what you have created in service to others.

I think (1) equates roughly to Autonomy and Mastery, and (2) equates very closely to Purpose.

I believe that the popularity of open-source software and its development can be easily explained by either Pink's or Coade's theories. That is, autonomous creation away from corporate scrutiny, and close contact with end-users who provide feedback on the product/service you are providing for them.

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