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Drive Summary

Here’s the Drive summary. The complete title is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Learn the secrets to high performance and satisfaction in school and work.


Drive author Daniel Pink explains what truly motivates us. It’s not just money. The carrot-and-stick model doesn’t work always. In his book he explains how people can derive satisfaction from school or work.

He explains that people find motivation when they have mastery, autonomy, and purpose. It’s MAP for short. When we have the MAP, we get the drive to do more and get happy in our work.

About the Author

Daniel Pink is a bestselling author who wrote 5 provocative books. He focuses on writing about management, work, business, and behavior. Aside from Drive, he also wrote To Sell is Human, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, A Whole New Mind, and Free Agent Nation.

His books have been translated into 35 languages. He is also a host and co-producer of a National Geographic TV series “Crowd Control.” You can learn more about him through his website.

Main takeaways: Drive Summary

Let’s discuss the key takeaways from his book:

  1. Pay enough so money will not be an issue.
  2. Purpose is important to make employees happy.
  3. Mastery and autonomy will drive people to work harder and produce more results.

Pay enough so money will not be an issue

Money is still a motivator. We all need money to survive. We need to buy food, clothing, and shelter. Money is also a natural consequence of our service rendered.

In short we should have our basic needs covered first. This way money won’t be an issue. We can now focus on our work. We don’t have to worry if there’s food on the table. Our concerns are much less now. We now have the mental resources to focus on our work.

If we don’t receive enough money, we get distracted. We might even complain. We get worried each day especially if the bills are piling. That energy could have been better spent on working.

So if you want to motivate your employees, pay them enough. This way they can focus on their daily work. Then they will have extra physical and mental energy to do more for the job. They will be more creative. They will start showing initiative. They will accomplish more.

Purpose is important to make employees happy

Once the money is not an issue anymore, people can focus on higher things. We can now think about the purpose of what we’re doing.

We often ask why whenever we do something. It’s the reason that will motivate us to keep going. The purpose is the thing we’ll look forward to. We’ll feel that there’s sense in what we’re doing. The result is that we get more motivated.

Here’s another thing. Purpose will help us do our work better. If we know our purpose, we can come up with ways on how to do our job better. We can improvise along the way whenever challenges come up.

That’s why we need to communicate the purpose well. We’ll feel that we’re up to something. That our efforts will be worth it at the end. It gives us a clear vision of why we should do something. This gives additional meaning to our everyday work.

Mastery and autonomy will drive people to work harder and produce more results

Aside from Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy are also important in motivating people. Together they complete the MAP that motivates people beyond the carrot-and-stick model.

If we have mastery over our work, we feel proud for it. We have the necessary skills and knowledge to do our job well. We know what to do. Even if problems surface, we already know how to tackle them. We’ll feel motivated to do the job. We don’t have to wait for someone else to help us in the task.

Autonomy is also important. We should feel some independence regarding our work. If people value our opinions on how we should do our work, we feel more motivated to complete it. It’s our craft. It’s our assignment. We should be given enough leeway to get the job done.

We all have a desire to be self-directed. Also giving autonomy to employees is an advantage. This applies to all employees especially those in the frontlines. They’re in charge. They’re the ones who know the situation best.

If they have autonomy, they’ll act according to what they know is best. If you have given them a clear Purpose, they’ll know how to respond even if you’re not there.

So there you have it. You’ve learned that you should pay enough so money won’t be an issue. Then you should allow your employees to have Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose over their work.

If you want a more fun summary of Drive, you can watch this YouTube video.

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