Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book 3 of 52 in 52: Drive by Daniel Pink

I know, I know - I'm WAY late to the party. Five years apparently. Sure, I'd seen the TEDtalk video - but everytime I thought about buying the book - well, other offerings just seemed to jump up instead.

I still haven't bought the book. I listened to it on Audible. And I was bored.

It's full of great information, but I think I've been spoiled by Chip & Dan Heath, Dave Lakhani, Malcolm Gladwell and even Gary Vaynerchuck - authors who tell wonderful stories to illustrate their points. Pink has stories, but I felt they lacked an emotional component.

While I felt the book took on a more clinical tone than I like, the information within it was, as expected, pretty strong. But coming in five years late, I think my brain has been spoiled by so many books that probably owe a lot to this one. So much of it, between my years in sales and my long marketing and persuasion reading list over the years, seemed old hat.

Perhaps Drive introduced us to such now-old-hat stories as 'The Candle Problem' (take a candle, matches, and a box of tacks and light the candle without letting was melt on the floor), Zappos customer service, and FedEx innovation. If only I had a time machine.

A quick look at what the book covers:

Thesis: Companies aren't keeping up with what motivates today's employees. Not particularly surprising, since most companies are run by yesterday's employees.

Proposal: We've moved from Motivation 2.0 (rewards & punishment) to Motivation 3.0 (satisfaction & fulfillment) - and then describes the three components he believes today's worker is looking for:

Autonomy - working on their own
Mastery - working to their best potential, getting in the 'flow'
Purpose - working for something bigger than the components of their job

Nothing groundbreaking - TODAY. But something tells me it was when the book was published. But I've read and listened to so much other content covering similar material, it's impossible for me to give Drive a fair review beyond my opinion that it's a drier book than it needs to be.

What stands out for Speakers:

Pink has parlayed this and his other books into quite the speaking career - as you can see from his web page. The book isn't full of original thought - it essentially a research paper that assembles the ideas of others and comes to a conclusion. He doesn't really talk about himself at all. There's a lesson there - you don't have to know everything. You just need to find people that know SOMETHING, draw a conclusion and distill a process, and put out your book. Poof, you're credible, to one degree or another.

Three stars out of five. If you're new to marketing and persuasion, and are working mostly in a corporate environment, Drive is a great place for you to start your education. If you've been around the block a few times - recently, at least - you might be as bored as I was.

If you read the book years ago - what did YOU think? Am I missing its impact? Should I have read it instead of listening to it? What big idea did you leave the book with?

Next weeks review: TED:ology by Akash Karia

Bonus: Save yourself some time and just watch the video below, before deciding for yourself.

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