The Surprising Truth About What Motivate Us Book Review

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Sample Essay On The Surprising Truth About What Motivate Us Book Review


SAMPLE ESSAY ON THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATE US BOOK REVIEWThe book “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” is a non-fiction book and is the fourth book by Daniel Pink and was published on the 29th of December 2009. Daniel Pink is a known author a number of motivational books some of which have made it to the top of best selling books of the year. Daniel Pink in this book argues that motivation of people largely depends on them and that this motivation is inclusive of several aspects, which can be divided into three; purpose, mastery and autonomy.

Also in this book “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, Daniel Pink argues against the old modes and methods of motivating people. These old modes and methods of motivation included giving of rewards to the people who achieved certain particular goals or objectives and motivation through the introduction of fear to people by making promises to punish the people if they don’t do things to a certain expected level. According to Pink, these old modes and methods of motivation are heavily dependent on extrinsic factors such as money factors, which dominate them.

In his book Daniel Pink also says that a lot of people in the current world believe that the best way to motivate themselves and others such as friends, families and employees is by giving them external rewards such as money and gifts, an approach that he refers to as the carrot and stick approach. According to Pink, giving of rewards to motivate people is a mistake. Pink argues that the secret to achieving high performance and satisfaction in places of work, schools or at home is largely dependent on the needs of the people to determine the direction that they want their lives to take. Pink also argues that the urge of people to learn new things, create new things and to do better in life with themselves in the world are the major motivators of an individual.

In this book, Pink also exposes a mismatch in the ideas derived from science and how generally businesses work. Daniel Pink did a scientific research for forty years on the motivation of humans and in his book he has managed to expose how the mismatch has affected the various aspects of life. According to Pink the carrot and stick approach of motivating people even though proofing to be effective in the 18th century, it is not an effective approach of motivating people currently in the 21st century. The carrot and stick approach of motivating people is an approach that involves giving of external rewards such as money or presents in order to motivate them. Pink argues that this is currently a wrong way to motivate people in the challenges that they face today.

The book majorly focuses on the three aspects or elements of motivation, which according to Daniel Pink are purpose, mastery and autonomy. Pink, in analyzing these elements and explaining how each of them can be put into action, he uses very smart and surprising techniques. These techniques automatically switches the readers thoughts from the old modes of using external rewards to focusing more on how these three elements can be applied in the day-to-day activities in order to improve human motivation. As an explanatory measure he goes to deep depths to giving a list of companies that are incorporating these new approaches of human motivation and the levels of success of these approaches on the companies. Pink also introduces the readers of this book to a number of scientists and entrepreneurs who have boldly supported the use of this new approach to motivate people.

The book “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink is therefore generally a book that focuses on human motivation and how different people view human motivation. The book also focuses on the approaches that people put in order to develop human motivation. The book also explains the difference in the effectiveness of the ancient methods of human motivation to the current people of the 21st century. The most important in the book however, is the new elements that have been developed by Daniel Pink after decades of research and how these elements can be put into action in order to boost the effectiveness and the efficiency of human motivation. Daniel Pink also as the author of the book has been an inspiration to a number of people most and especially those that have read his book.

How The Book Relates to Motivation And My Personal Life Experiences

The book “The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink has created a lot of impacts on the issues involving human motivation today. The book has shown a lot of importance and relevance to both companies and individuals who need motivation at their work places, schools or even at home. The book also has enabled its readers to change their perception of human motivation by the introduction of the three major categories of the aspects of motivation, explaining how they work and how they can be put into action.

Purpose On Motivation and My Personal Life Experiences

The first and very important category of the aspects of motivation is the Purpose Category. Purpose is the reason for which an individual or a person does something or creates something and for which a particular thing exists. According to the book, motivation in a person or an individual can be initiated by purpose and an activity that results from purpose as opposed to fear or anticipation for a gift. People who are motivated usually do efficient work and to the best of their ability.

In the current world a lot of internal motivation that have been experienced in people resulted from their reasons for undertaking those particular activities. A good example in which the element of purpose is in the case of students who work hard in order to become excellent professionals in the future. The hard work by the students is not because they are promised money or gifts, but because they know that in order to become competitive in their professional environment they need to work hard. Different people have different reasons for undertaking in the activities that they undertake in.

A personal example is the reason as to why I am in school now. I am in school to boost my professional life by learning as much as I can about my profession so that I can become a good leader and full of knowledge and not becauseI anticipate external gifts when am through with my studies. The fact that I have a purpose in being a student has developed me as an individual and as a leader and I have been motivated to learn a lot and as much as possible from my studies as compared to if I was just a student without a defined purpose. Purpose is therefore a major factor and plays an important role in human motivation.

Mastery On Motivation and My Personal Life Experiences

The other category of aspects that are involved in human motivation is mastery. Mastery is the art of having comprehensive skills and knowledge about the activities that we involve ourselves with. The major reason why people quit the activities such as jobs and line of profession is the lack of enough knowledge and skills in these careers or professions. When an individual or a person does not have sufficient knowledge and skills needed for the activities that he or she is required to engage himself or herself then the likely outcome is that these people or individuals will quit these careers or professions.

A good example is a case of a doctor who can operate machines or equipment and constantly messes up and has to seek for assistance from other doctors or nurses. If this situation persists, this doctor is likely to be discouraged in his career and maybe quit the professionshould the situation gets to extremes. Having sufficient and relevant knowledge and skills in an activity that an individual engages himself or herself in therefore generally motivates. Sufficient knowledge and skills also reduce the likelihood of occurrences actions such as quitting.

Also, a person with the sufficient knowledge and skills and who perfectly understands his or her career or profession is in most cases satisfied with his or her work. As a result, this person will in most cases tend to love what he or she is doing and is not likely to quit the career or profession. An example in my personal life was way back when I was in my high school. I used to score highly in mathematics and this really motivated me to even work harder on the subject because I always wanted the satisfaction of getting good grades in the subject. This was also tied to other factors such that the teachers congratulated and the students looked up to me when it came to issues regarding assignments and group works. This generally made me feel good about myself and made me work harder

Autonomy On Motivation and My Personal Life Experiences

The final category of aspects that boosts human motivation and that is internally driven in each and every individual is the autonomy aspects. Autonomy motivation aspects are the human motivation aspects that result from the right or condition of self-government and from the freedom of independence and away from external forces or influence. This is especially seen in the motivation of employees of a company who work under other people who are the management and are people who they consider as their bosses. Most of these employees work under managers who from time to time instruct them on the things to do. The managers also go through the work that these employees have done to check for mistakes or dissatisfaction.

This generally creates some kind of a working environment with external control and this demotivates the employees. According to Daniel Pink’s book, external control makes individuals to feel bothered, less skilled, and incompetent and this in most cases lowers the morale of these people who are under such external forces. This generally lowers the motivation of such people in the jobs that they do and in most cases end up not doing these jobs to the best of their ability. According to the book, most people who work under control of other people feel like they are undermined and therefore are not motivated due to lack of autonomy.

On the other hand if the art of autonomy is exercised on individuals and they are given the freedom to work independently and without interference of external forces, most of these people do a lot of good work. This is because they know that their employers trust the work that they do and this generally boosts their confidence. A personal example in this situation isa high school experience in which at one point I was to read a particular subject under strict supervision while in school and at another point I was to choose to read whatever subjected I wanted and for whatever period of time that I felt like.

In the first case, I did not read much and all I kept doing was checking my watch, flipping pages and wondering when the ‘hostage’ situation would end. On the other hand,I was left at home during the weekend to read alone. I did much more during this weekend and in a shorter time period as compared to the moment in school when I was forced to read. From this personal life experience I support the teaching from the book that, people tend to be more motivated when they are left to do things on their own and with as little as possible external interference. The external interferences should be carried out only if they are absolutely necessary.

The Book On My Development As An Individual And As A Leader

The book has really helped me with issues and challenges that I have faced as an individual.The first lesson that I learnt from the book is that human motivation is not necessarily initiated by external factors such as money and gifts for hard work. As a result as a leader, I have resolved on not giving people gifts to motivate them.Instead I have created a platform in which people can get motivated from within themselves.

As an individual and a leader, I have also learnt that external factors may be a way to increase competition or hard work but it is not the best way to get the best of results from a person. This is especially if results are required from a person in both the short-term and long-term periods. I have in many occasions therefore resolved to the use of external gifts to where I do not expect efficiency from people. As a leader, I have also used this method where the work is just short time. Certain jobs do not require people to give the best of their abilities. Instead what is considered as important is getting the work done. This is specifically very evident in hard labour jobs and delivery jobs.

Again as a leader and an individual I have managed to understand the type of motivation to apply to which type of people. This is becausedifferent methods of human motivation work for different groups people.The types of motivation depend on a number of factors such as time frame, age and environment. Kids for instance may be motivated by the use of external factors such as gifts while grown ups on the other hand are believed to be smarter and harder to be convinced using gifts a motivational approach. Therefore as a leader and as an individual, I have resolved on motivating kids with external factors such as presents and gifts. On the other hand, in the case of grown ups, I let the motivation come from within them. In order to achieve this, I create an environment that has the least interference in their activities and that makes trusted and appreciated.

Finally, as an individual and as a leader, the book has helped me to understand that human motivation is an essential factor that needs to be put into consideration by any individual or organization that aims to be successful. The book has made me understand that it is very difficult for an individual or employees in an organization to work to the best of their abilities without them having something that motivates them. On the other hand, a company or an individual that does not work to its full potential is less likely to achieve the high levels of success. Therefore, as an individual and a leader I have employed the various aspect of human motivation whenever I aim to achieve my personal goals and objectives or the objectives and goals of an organization.


The book has a lot to share about human motivation and has assisted a number of professionals to boost their personal motivation and the human motivation of the employees in their organizations. The book teaches a lot on the elements of human motivation and how these elements cam be applied in our day-to-day activities whether at home, at work or at school in order to boost our human motivation and the motivation of other people. The book has also influenced a number of its readers including me and has helped me together with the other readers to work to the best of our abilities, which consequentially led to success of our activities in the various different fields. This book can therefore be generally concluded to be an important tool of learning about human motivation. Individuals that face motivational challenges in their personal activities or in their organization can read it for a better understanding of how motivation works to different people and in the difference in ages.


Hugh Wagner. 2014. The Psychobiology of Human Motivation.
Stacey L. Chalmers and Manfred DeMartino. 1958. Understanding Human Motivation.
G. D’ydewalle and Willy Lens. 2013. Cognition in Human Motivation and Learning.