Highlights #2

Assorted list of highlights from the last books I read.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

“When money is used as an external reward for some activity, the subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity,”
“Careful consideration of reward effects reported in 128 experiments lead to the conclusion that tangible rewards tend to have a substantially negative effect on intrinsic motivation,” they determined. “When institutions — families, schools, businesses, and athletic teams, for example — focus on the short-term and opt for controlling people’s behavior,” they do considerable long-term damage.
Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others — sales targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on — can sometimes have dangerous side effects
Your nonprofit must be a congenial place to work. And the people on your team must have autonomy, they must have ample opportunity to pursue mastery, and their daily duties must relate to a larger purpose. If these elements are in place, the best strategy is to provide a sense of urgency and significance — and then get out of the talent’s way.
It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work.
Even in high-poverty non-Western locales like Bangladesh, social scientists have found that autonomy is something that people seek and that improves their lives.
As Carol Dweck says, “Effort is one of the things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it. It would be an impoverished existence if you were not willing to value things and commit yourself to working toward them.”
This is the nature of mastery: Mastery is an asymptote.
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