Decluttering

Most likely now that Christmas is past you have more stuff than you had before. Some of you are now engaged in a further shopping flurry to get the good deals in the after-Christmas sales.

Why there is clutter-

Meanwhile I am concentrating on decluttering. I am trying to get rid of too much stuff. It just accumulates, doesn’t it? Over the years more and more stuff fills your house. Some of it must be updated (technology) or maintained, cleaned, sorted, stored, and otherwise messed with. Some of it sits in a bottom drawer or closet for years without any use or attention, yet we keep it. Why?

There have been many articles written on this but it seems to come down to two things in my experience:

  • We are so busy we do not have the time or the energy to sort through it all and get rid of what we do not need.
  • When we do pick up that item in our sorting the nagging thought is always there: someday I will need this.

To reinforce that second thought I have a number of times gotten rid of something and then shortly thereafter have found I need it. My brain then says, “see, I told you you’d need that someday”.

Of course most of that stuff in those bottom drawers and closets will never be needed. But our mind, which is wired to save against scarcity, only focuses on those few times when you did get rid of something and then found you needed it.

Why reduce clutter-

There are many reasons to reduce clutter at least for me:

  • A neat and tidy work space is more efficient.
  • It is easier to find what you need if there is less stuff to sort through.
  • A neat and tidy work space looks better.
  • The less stuff you have the less time you spend fiddling with it – sorting it, storing it, retrieving it, etc.

Most of us have too much stuff and much of that stuff is clutter. Joshua Becker wrote a recent post on how we collect this stuff and how we should look at clearing it away. He makes many good points. It is worth reading.

How to get rid of it-

My aim is to start by cleaning up my study. I have a penchant for collecting office supplies: staplers, hole punches, paper of different kinds, pens, pencils, etc. As I go through stuff I categorize it and deal with it in this way:

Heirlooms – things of significance to me like the ink well that belonged to my grandfather: keep.

Gadgets – divide into two groups: those I’ve used in the past year keep; those I have not used for a year or more: donate.

General stationary and office supplies: same as gadgets.

This is much more difficult than it sounds. It takes time. It takes focus. When I sit down to sort my brain is chattering at me about the dozen more important things I ought to be doing with this time. Some objects evoke memories leading me down a lane of reminiscence and slowing progress.

Have I used that in the last year? Is it likely I will use it in the year to come? Those are sometimes hard to answer. Better keep it just in case. No! That is why you have too much clutter in this study. Pitch it.

And so the process goes. It is difficult.

Then there are the books. My greatest weakness is books. I love them. I love to read them. I often study them. I prefer to keep them. Will I read them all again? No. But which ones will I want to consult at some future time? It is almost impossible to tell. I also love the look of a book shelf lined with row after row of books. My own library!

I am categorizing books: classic fiction I keep (not a lot of those); ordinary fiction I need to donate or sell back; most of the nonfiction work I keep though I am increasingly screening out those nonfiction books I found not so useful. I’ve gotten rid of four or five boxes of books in the past year but still need to trim down the collection to the most important. I remind myself to get more fiction on the Kindle to avoid this problem.

And so the process goes. It is always difficult. If it were not difficult I would not have clutter!

Bookstores and the internet are full of guides on how to declutter and get rid of what you do not really need. But in the end no one else can do this for you. You have to make the tough decisions and cut stuff loose.

Sort. Get rid of stuff. Try to avoid collecting much more. It is a process. It will take some time.

In the end it is worth it.

Or so I keep telling myself.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

The Wisdom of Frugality

Two days before Christmas may seem like an odd time to write about the wisdom of frugality. If you are typical you’ve been anything but frugal lately with all the Christmas shopping. You may be traveling or others are traveling to see you. Unless you’ve spent beyond your means and plunged yourself into debt to celebrate Christmas a bit of spending on gifts is certainly not unwise.

As you pay off those credit card charges in the coming months (hopefully sooner than that) it may be a good time to reflect on being frugal for the new year. There are many practical reasons for being frugal: saving money, building long term wealth, avoiding a materialistic lifestyle. There is also a basic and sound wisdom in frugality.

The SimpleDollar.com recently posted a review of a book, The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less is More – More or Less by Emrys Westacott. The author is a philosophy professor and has written about how philosophy looks at frugality. Westacott writes:

“This book is really a philosophical look at frugality, written by a philosophy professor. The book tackles one seemingly simple question: why do people perceive frugality as a virtue, and why do people equate it with good living and happiness? That’s a thread that has appeared in writings for thousands of years and almost always taken as a given, but why? Even more interesting, why do people rarely follow that advice? Why is simple living and frugality often perceived as being outside the norm?

Westacott digs into those questions with rigor and insight, coming up with a lot of interesting conclusions. He digs into the difference between happiness and contentment, asks whether or not extravagance is really a path to lasting joy, and what the impact of frugality is on the broader world as compared to contentment.”

Philosophy is about learning to live the good life. Being frugal can be a part of that. Read the rest of the review here and give it some thought. Being frugal can be the smart thing to do. It can also be the wise thing to do.

Learn how to manage your money, eliminate debt and build wealth in my book, Your Financial Success.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Can You Change Your Identity?

Post 1005

http://effectivecommunicationadvice.com/keys-for-effective-communication

Can you change who you are? Can you change your identity? I do not mean your ID or your name or your driver’s license. I mean how you feel and think – how you view the world.

In a recent blog post on ThriveGlobal.com Benjamin Hardy suggests that we can do just that. He cites three studies that show how we can change how we act. The first study is a 1978 study by Ellen Langer where a group of nursing home residents were given a plant to care for. A control group was not given a plant and their daily activity was controlled by the staff. At the end of 18 months twice as many of the control group had died as those with plants. The plants had given them a sense of purpose, a task to perform and greater autonomy. By giving them autonomy and a purpose they lived longer. They changed.

The second study in 1981 was again by Langer. A group of elderly men were placed in a house that was entirely decorated as it would have looked in 1959. The men were asked to only discuss what was going on in the 1950s. Though the men were in their 70s they began to act as though they were 20 years younger. One put away his cane. The men demonstrated improved eyesight, hearing, dexterity and appetite. They had changed.

The last study was by Philip Zimbardo and is well known as the Stanford Prison Experiment. Students were assigned roles as prison guards and inmates. Those that were to act like guards ridiculed and tortured the inmates. Some of the inmates were traumatized. They had changed.

Hardy’s conclusion is we all act a role in life. He suggests that we are not condemned to that role – we can change the role and thereby change who we are – we can change our identity. He suggests that our true identity is not the role we play but what we desire to become.

He then suggests we can make changes in ourselves by adopting a goal – what we wish to become. We then must commit to the goal through constant activity in furtherance of the goal. He suggests that we act the part we want to be until we become that part. This process requires not will power, which he suggests is inherently weak, but commitment. A strong sense of commitment.

Quoting William James, “If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.” If we want an ability or a quality we need only commit to it and then act as though we had that ability or quality. With enough consistent effort we can become what we are acting. It is an intriguing idea. Hardy suggests that if we play our desired role long enough we can become that role.

What do you think?

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

The Simplicity Cycle by Dan Ward

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy - Post 1004

Book of the Month for June 2016

Title and Author:   

The Simplicity Cycle – A Field Guide to Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse by Dan Ward

Synopsis of Content:  

Greater complexity does not necessarily make things better. This is the message of Dan Ward’s book. This is a book about design in its broadest sense. It is about designing gadgets, machines, systems, procedures and even books. It is about elegant design. Getting the most from the least.

Ward argues that there is an optimum balance between complexity and what he calls “goodness” which is an inclusive word meaning convenience, ease of use, elegant design, effectiveness and any number of other adjectives we would use to describe a good design. In its simplest form our effort to attain more goodness in something usually brings about more complexity. We reach a point however, often fairly quickly, when the added complexity reduces the overall goodness of what we are trying to improve.

Ward is an engineer and brings an engineer’s perspective to design. He uses X/Y graphs to illustrate how complexity can defeat goodness. His approach is analytical. He explains how and when greater complexity is necessary to achieve our objective and when it makes things worse.

Though Ward seeks simplicity he does not view it as the end all. He acknowledges that some complexity is needed for some things to work well, that is to be good. His objective is to minimize complexity especially when the added complexity makes the design less good.

He also writes that attaining the best design is a process that involves adding complexity at first, then reducing it through a process of experimentation until the design does the best with the least complexity – otherwise it is the most elegant. This process of adding complexity and then trimming it is the simplicity cycle.

What I found useful about this book:

I love this book. It is about elegant design principles that can be applied to anything we design from a recipe for making brownies to building a fighter jet. As I read the book I could think of hundreds of applications of the simplicity cycle in many of the things I do on a daily basis. Make any process as easy to follow as possible, as convenient as possible and as effective as possible – it is a beautiful idea.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Though written by an engineer the book is very readable for those of us with no design or engineering background. There are no complicated mathematical formulae. The book is well organized and flows well. It is, as we should expect from this author, well designed. It is as simple as it can be and still get the full message across.

Notes on Author:  

Dan Ward is an engineer with three engineering degrees, a consultant and an author. He has worked for the US Air Force where he spent over 20 years researching, developing and testing military equipment.

Other Books by This Author:

F.I.R.E – How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation.

Related Website:   

http://www.thedanward.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:  

  1. Simplicity is not the point, goodness is. Everything we design should have the most goodness with the level of complexity only needed to attain the most goodness.
  2. Elegant design must come from a process of adding, refining and reducing complexity while maintaining and improving the goodness. It is about ultimate goodness.
  3. Creating more elegant designs requires a very specific mindset. One must view difficulty as a signpost that change is needed and possible rather than as unavoidable.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The Simplicity Cycle – A Field Guide to Making Things Better Without Making Them Worse by Dan Ward
Copyright holder: ©2015 by Dan Ward
Publisher: Harper Collins

 

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Do Winners Ever Quit

Post 1003

A common success myth is that winners never quit and quitters never win. It is a favorite with athletic coaches. Is there scientific evidence to support it?

In his insightful book Barking Up the Wrong Tree Eric Barker examines the research on this. He starts Chapter 3 with the story of an impoverished Mexican boy who was inspired to persist. He tried multiple times to cross the US border to find work that would pay better in the US. Despite failed attempts and being caught by border patrol and returned to Mexico he finally made it. He could not speak English but he found work and worked 7 days a week 12 hours a day. He lived at first in his car. He also took classes at a community college at night. With good grades he managed to transfer to the University of California at Barkley. Graduating he was accepted at Harvard Medical School. He married and became a US citizen.

Today, Dr. Q, as he is known. Is one of the top brain surgeons in the US. He performs hundreds of surgeries a year at John Hopkins, one of the top hospitals in the country. There is no doubt that Dr. Q is very intelligent. But it took amazing grit and persistence for this poor immigrant boy from Mexico to become one of the most outstanding brain surgeons in the US.

Dr. Q’s story is very inspiring, but does it typify most people’s experience. Barker’s examination of research on this subject revealed that while persistence is certainly an important element of success it is not a guarantee of success. He cites the work of Howard Gardner who found that ambitious people are usually very persistent but they still do not always succeed. The most successful of them learn from their failures and change their approach.

Angela Duckworth made similar findings in her work that led to her book Grit. She found that people who persevere when things get tough do succeed more often. She counts this perseverance as a critical element of grit – the tendency to work very hard and see things through.

It appears that the research tells us what common sense would tell us (as it so often does): that persistence often leads to success but not always. If we persist in doing the wrong thing or in the wrong way we just persist in failing. Persistence is important to success but so is having a realistic view of what will work and being willing to stop now and then, reassess what we are doing and learn from our mistakes.

Learn how you can achieve more and realize your goals in my book, The Success Essentials.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Post 1002

Title and Author:   The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Synopsis of Content:  

Duhigg explores what science has to teach us about how habits are formed, how they function, how they can be modified and how they influence our lives and our business world. The book is divided into three parts: The Habits of Individuals, The Habits of Successful Organizations, and the Habits of Societies.

Based on studies of animal behavior and human behavior, we (that is rats, monkeys and humans) form habits the same way. There is a cue of some kind that triggers a habit, followed by some form of routine that has been completed memorized and operates more or less automatically, followed by some form of reward that reinforces the habit. Whether it is buckling our seat belt, brushing out teeth, smoking a cigarette or using heroin, this same habit loop operates in all of us.

The brain creates habits because it simplifies our activities. If we had to consciously decide and think out everything we do every day throughout the day from scratch it would be overwhelming for the brain. Habits are little routines that automate aspects of our behavior. We are not usually conscious that the habit is being formed, and once it is in place we need not expend much thought to follow it. It is a very effective efficiency that our minds use to free us up to think about other things.

Since we now know how a habit is formed and how they function we can modify existing habits and create new ones. We must identify the right cue which leads to the desired routine which is then followed by the reward. We must know in advance, or expect, the reward to motivate us to engage in the routine. The reward generates endorphins in the brain which are powerful motivators. They motivate us to repeat the routine every time the cue occurs. It is a bit more complex than that, but that is the gist of it.

Duhigg goes on to explain in fascinating detail how studies have shown us how we can modify a habit and how to replace one habit with another. This is very important because we can learn from it how to replace a bad habit (smoking) with a good one (exercise).

Certain habits also develop in organizations and in societies and they come together to create a culture, whether it is the culture of a corporation or the culture of a society. Culture, it seems, is primarily driven by key habits.

What I found useful about this book:

This book helps us understand how habits are formed and how we can use them to our benefit, change them when we need to and replace them when necessary. Duhigg does warn the reader that although we understand the way habits are made and altered it is not always easy to do it. Determining the actual cue for example can take some experimentation and work.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is very well written. It is engaging. It contains lots of references to studies and science but not in a dry or boring way. It is a series of fascinating stories. It is very well organized.

Notes on Author:  

Charles Duhigg is an award winning investigative reporter for the New York Times.

Other Books by This Author:

Smarter, Faster, Better

Related Website:   

http://charlesduhigg.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:  

  1. Habits all function in the same basic way: a cue begins a behavior routine which ends in a reward. Once we understand this we can understand how habits work and how to change them or use them.
  2. We are manipulated every day by business through habits. Marketing has become in many ways habit focused.
  3. Once we know how to form and change a habit we can gain more real control over our own behaviors; we can replace bad habits and create good ones.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
Copyright holder: ©2012 by Charles Duhigg
Publisher: Random House

Book of the Month: December 2016

 

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Does Optimism Have a Dark Side?

Aaron Orendorff wrote a provocative post on Mashable last August about the dark side of optimism. It is an article well worth reading. Though it focuses on optimism in business it has applications on all parts of life.

Generally, we think that optimism is a good thing – and it is. Optimistic people are often healthier and live longer. Most successful people are by nature optimists. As Orendorff points out though, just because most successful people are optimists does not mean that most optimists are successful.

Most people, unless they are by nature risk takers, are averse to risk. They fear failure. If they are also by nature optimistic they may minimize the risks out of fear rather than looking realistically at the risk. A failure to be realistic about risk often leads to failure.

Orendorff suggests four steps to guarding against this failure to appreciate risk and allow optimism to lead to failure.

  1. Look into the future and pretend you have failed at whatever you are setting out to accomplish. Then analyze why you failed. What went wrong? This forces us to examine the risks more realistically. The challenge here is not to allow risk aversion to grow too large – if we fear every possible thing that can go wrong we will never start and never finish, and likely never succeed. So this examination of what can go wrong must be balanced with an analysis of what can go right.
  2. Look at the numbers. Analyze whatever you are undertaking in terms of hard cold numbers as often as you can. Look at reliable statistics. Look at how others have failed and why. The lessons from this can be invaluable.
  3. Know your limitations. We all have limitations. There are things we are not good at, there are things we simply cannot do. Failure to realistically examine those limitations can lead to crushing failure.
  4. Avoid surrounding yourself only with optimists. A few pessimists in the mix can be vital to being realistic. If everyone you are working with is an optimist no one may see the risks in a realistic light.

As Orendorff concludes being realistic about optimism does not mean abandoning it. It is about striking a balance between optimism and pessimism. It is about being neither really – it is about being realistic. Too much pessimism can kill any good idea. Too much optimism can as well by leading us down a path to failure. Successful people are more often realistic people. They are motivated by their optimism but are realistic enough to see the risks and evaluate them in a hard-nosed way.

“The pessimist sees only the tunnel; the optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel; the realist sees the tunnel and the light – and the next tunnel.” – Sydney J. Harris

Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Smarter, Faster, Better

Post 1000

It is hard for me to believe it but this is the 1000th post to this blog. Actually that is a bit of a cheat because for a number of years the blog had a different name, but it has always been devoted to bringing to my readers book reviews and articles that inform and at times I hope that inspire.

The blog was originally called Creating True Wealth just like my newsletter. By true wealth I mean greater knowledge and understanding about the things that can help you improve yourself just as I strive to improve myself. The blog’s byline is Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development. That has been my vision of true wealth: adapting to change and personal development.

In 2013 I moved all the content of the old blog to this new one and carried on the work.

The first blog entry was in February 2008. So we are coming up on the tenth anniversary of the blog in a couple months.

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed the posts, or at least most of them, and that you have learned a few things from them. If you have I have succeeded in my goal. I would love to hear from you, either by posting a comment here or by sending me an email as indicated below. Let me know if you have found these posts at all useful or beneficial and how I might improve them.

And now to continue my task I include below my review of Smarter, Faster and Better by Charles Duhigg. Keep reading friends and keep learning.
A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

The November 2016 Book of the Month

Title and Author:   Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg

Synopsis of Content:  

In this book the author takes a detailed look at the habits and practices that improve personal and team performance. What makes this book stand out are the case studies and the scientific research that is explored. He explores motivation, team work, focus, goal setting, managing others, decision making, innovation and absorbing data in new and insightful ways. This book is not a rehash of the valid but often repeated principles of success. It is an investigation into what has been scientifically demonstrated to enhance success.

He explores the rebelliousness of a retirement home resident, a successful businessman who suffered a rare form of brain damage that changed his brain’s ability to be motivated teaching us how motivation works in the brain. He looks at what motivation lessons come from the military.

What kinds of people make up the ideal team? Should they be alike or diverse? How does diversity in personality types strengthen a team? What have hospitals and airlines learned about team work that can save lives?

How does focus, too much or too little, affect performance? What have we learned from aircraft crashes about how focus and cognitive tunneling can cripple decision making in a crisis? What are mental models and how can they be used by anyone to improve focus and analysis of a difficult situation?

How did a young woman win the National Poker Championship and what did she know about Bayesian psychology that anyone can take advantage of?

What has the business world learned about effective goal setting? How are SMART goals effective and in what ways are they ineffective? What do you have to add to SMART goals to make them more effective?

Duhigg provides insight into all these questions and many more. This book will provide you with a unique and provocative analysis into how we can perform smarter, faster and better.

What I found useful about this book:

Careful analysis of how people perform both on an individual level and as teams has provided us with considerable insight into what works best. While the traditional principles of success remain valid there is more to the story than that.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is very well written and engrossing. It is written as a series of stories that hold attention and teach at the same time.

Notes on Author:  

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist with the New York Times. He is an author who digs deeply into his subjects. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College.

Other Books by This Author:

The Power of Habit

Related Website:   

Charlesduhigg.com

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:  

  1. Teams function most effectively when made up of diverse people with different approaches, attitudes and personalities.
  2. Goal setting must be a combination of measurable and achievable goals with stretch goals to prevent limited performance.
  3. By developing a mental model of what we want to achieve we can avoid cognitive tunneling and achieve more.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg
Copyright holder: ©2016 by Charles Duhigg
Publisher: Random House

 

Questions? Comments? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to post your comments or questions below or if you want to contact me privately you can do that here: CONTACT ME HERE.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Kaizen

A few days ago I posted on becoming the best at what we do. I talked about constant improvement in what we do and how we do it. The Japanese have a name for this constant improvement: Kaizen. Kaizen involves taking what Thomas Oppong calls baby steps.

On occasion a major change is needed in our work or in our personal lives. An addict must stop abusing alcohol or drugs. The recovery process may involve many steps, but it is still a radical change in their lives. However most of the time we are more successful with gradual change.

Having big audacious goals is OK, in fact it can be inspiring. Olympic athletes do not set little goals – their goal is to be the best at what they are doing – the best in the whole world. But they get their through small steps – one step at a time – one practice at a time. They may have many intermediate goals – small ones, but they are all aimed at getting them to the big one: the Gold Medal.

We can most effectively improve and change our lives through small steps or incremental change, because they are easier to achieve. You are less likely to become discouraged or overwhelmed if you concentrate on small steps.

As James Clear observes, ““We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to succeed in business or to write a best-selling novel. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life changing goals. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.”

The concept was used by business in the US during the depression to make small improvements continuously and it helped the US win World War II. The Japanese liked the idea and gave it the name Kaizen.

If you focus on becoming just 1% better at something you take that small step. Continue to focus on making those 1% improvements and over time you can improve 25% and then 50%, etc. Those 1% compound on one another.

Constant improvement can be challenging. We tend to get buried in the daily detail. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all that detail. Problems crop up and need to be addressed. Change is imposed upon us by external forces and cannot be ignored. The boss always wants something. The customers want something. The process we are working requires continuous attention. Emails need to be answered. Phone calls need to be returned. Reports are due. It can be overwhelming.

For me taking a little time each day to see what can be improved, even a little bit, is a relief from that grind of detail. It is what makes work exciting and engaging. Working to improve how you do what you do – becoming more efficient, more effective, is very rewarding work. You must make the time to focus on these improvements, no matter how small they may be. Over time these small improvements add up and change the way we work, improve it. It is the most rewarding part of your work if you exercise the self-discipline to do it.

A little change each day or each week will make a difference over the long run.

Learn how to formulate goals correctly to gain control over your life and achieve your dreams in my book, Goal Power!

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Synopsis of Content:

Drive is about what science teaches about motivation, how it differs from mainstream business practices, and how business in the 21st century is and needs to learn from this science to improve employee performance.

Pink characterizes three generations of motivation. Motivation 1.0 is the basic needs motivation: you need food and water and shelter and you will do what you need to in order to secure those things. Motivation 2.0 is the so called carrot and stick motivation techniques business, schools and government have used for centuries: rewarding people with money and other rewards for desirable conduct and punishing with sanctions such as termination from employment for undesirable conduct. Pink argues that Motivation 2.0 is unreliable and inadequate for knowledge workers in the 21st century.

He then describes Motivation 3.0 – engaging people through greater autonomy, mastery and purpose. He demonstrates how the science of psychology has shown this more elegant method of motivation is more consistently effective and far cheaper to provide.

At the end of the book he sets forth a plan on how to implement this new motivational method in an organization.

The book has a broader significance however than just organizational motivation techniques. It teaches the reader how they can best motivate themselves and obtain more from their work by seeking purpose in what they do, developing mastery over what they do and reaping greater satisfaction in the process.

This is an enlightening and important book on many levels.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Pink’s writing style is easy to follow. While he cites many studies and discusses the science behind his conclusions the book is very engaging and is not as dry as the subject matter might suggest. The chapters are well organized and build upon one another.

Notes on Author:

Daniel H. Pink is the author of A Whole New Mind, a best seller. He is also author of two other best sellers: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko and Free Agent Nation. He lectures on economic transformation and the “new workplace”.

Related Website:

http://www.danpink.com/drive

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Traditional motivational techniques in business and education based on carrot and stick approaches are unreliable, especially for the modern knowledge worker. Employers need to learn about engagement motivation and apply it to motivate workers to a higher level of sustained performance.
  2. Engaging people is based on intrinsic motivation rather than the extrinsic motivation of the older carrot and stick approach. While it is more challenging to implement and sustain due to its complexity, it is also more effective.
  3. Rewards narrow our focus causing us to concentrate on getting the reward – this diminishes creative capacity and can dumb down the potential of anyone, even the most gifted or capable.

Publication Information:  

Drive by Daniel H. Pink  (c) 2009. Published by Riverhead Books, Penguin Group. 242 pages hardbound.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com