My full review of Dan Pink’s “Drive”…

…as posted to amazon.com and GoodReads.com.

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I read 39 books in 2009, just “a few” shy of my goal of 50. Thanks to a little nudge from Art Johnson (@artjohnson) and some tips from Julien Smith, I’ve set my 2010 sights just a little bit higher: a book a week, for a total of 52.

I got the list off to a good start this evening when I finished Dan Pink’s latest, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Interestingly, one of the first books I read in 2009 was also one of his, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.

Part Three is the “Type I Toolkit”, which includes suggestions, reading lists, and other tools for individuals and organizations to help them become more Type I. As Pink says, Type I’s are made, not born, and this toolkit can help you remake yourself, or your organization, as a Type I.
Perhaps the most damning statement about the current state of affairs comes in the sentence: “Unfortunately…the modern workplace’s most notable feature may be its lack of engagement and its disregard for mastery.”  Longtime readers of my blogs know that mastery is a concept I’ve long thought and written about. Pink’s chapter on mastery in the context of work pulls together many ideas that I’ve struggled with over the years. This chapter alone was worth the price of the book.
All the rest is an excellent bonus.

Part One of the book explores the evolution of the motivation “operating systems” at play throughout human history and how the science of motivation is leading us to version 3.0 of that Motivation OS. Or, at least, how it should be leading us to this new version. I found it fascinating that much of what Pink describes in the book is not new at all, but has been known for several decades.

Known and ignored. Known and actively buried buy those who just couldn’t believe it or didn’t want to accept what it meant for them and their positions of control within organizations. Fascinating reading.

At the end of Part One, Pink delves into the differences between workers who are intrinsically (Type I) and extrinsically (Type X) motivated, and leads right into Part Two, which explores the three elements that make up Type I behavior: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The chapters for each of these elements includes some insight into each, along with practical examples of what they mean.

Part Three is the “Type I Toolkit”, which includes suggestions, reading lists, and other tools for individuals and organizations to help them become more Type I. As Pink says, Type I’s are made, not born, and this toolkit can help you remake yourself, or your organization, as a Type I.

Perhaps the most damning statement about the current state of affairs comes in the sentence: “Unfortunately…the modern workplace’s most notable feature may be its lack of engagement and its disregard for mastery.”  Longtime readers of my blogs know that mastery is a concept I’ve long thought and written about. Pink’s chapter on mastery in the context of work pulls together many ideas that I’ve struggled with over the years. This chapter alone was worth the price of the book.

All the rest is an excellent bonus.

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Sorry for the partial repetition. I posted this full review here to kick off my participation in Robin’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, which I learned about from Jack Vinson’s wrap up of his 2009 reading list.

The evolution of a Mind Manager mind map – T&T parent’s guide

To help me plan out the direction and content for the Tramp and Tumble blog over the next couple of months I created a mind map to collect and sort the various topics that I want to discuss there. One of the things that I love about Mind Manager is that it has such a nice looking, and useful, final product that hides all the effort that actually goes into creating the map. After all, the “customer” doesn’t really want to see the sausage being made, do they?

Those who are familiar with mind maps know, though, that creating a good map takes a lot of work; planning, mapping, evaluation, re-arranging, etc. In many ways, this is no different than the process for any good writing: ideas, sketch outline, draft, revise, update outline, update draft, revise, etc.  For those less familiar with the process for mind maps, I thought I’d give a little insight into how the process works for me, at least in this case.

tnt-mind-map-notes

I’ve been accumulating the knowledge that went into this map for several years now, since Ian first started competing in 2005. My first step was to create a list of questions that many parents new to the sport have as they start.

(Side note:  Mind Manager does include a “brainstorming” mode, but I have to admit that for things like this I still prefer to use something a bit more “analog”, in this case my handy-dandy notebook and a set of Sharpie pens.)

The image to the right is a scan of my brainstorming list. I jotted down the main ideas, and sub-topics, as they occurred, going back later to mark them up with some ideas on what would make sense chronologically.

Having this list also gave me some ideas on how I could actually structure the topics in order to provide a somewhat consistent delivery of articles that make sense within a given time period; in this case, a week.

tnt-mind-map-draftThe next step was to convert these topics into a draft map. Again, Mind Manager provides excellent support for taking your brainstorming results and converting those into a draft map; again, I still prefer to do this part with good old pen and paper.

Pulling all of my topics and sub-topics together on this map further helped me find the ideas that should be kept together as part of a “weekly package”. The image on the left is (I’m sure you’ve figured out) my first draft.

From this draft I was able to easily create a map in Mind Manager, using the topics/subtopics in the draft as a guide. Once these were in Mind Manager, it was a simple matter to move the main ideas around to come up with the best organization and chronology. Here’s the final map, as posted on the Tramp and Tumble blog:

If you compare the two, you will see that there are many similarities but also some key differences. And just like any project, there are things from the initial idea that are not present and things in the final product that only showed up when the final draft was prepared.

Now all I have to do is fill in the details.

Just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be

In a tweet earlier today, @Think_Better makes the following suggestion:

Next time someone says, “That’s just the way it is,” try asking, “What would be an alternative?”

It is all too easy to get stuck in the rut of doing things the way they’ve always been done just because that is the way it has always been done.  This one little question can make all the difference, if you just take the time to ask – and answer – it. Just think of the possibilities.

This brought to mind something I wrote back in Aug 08 (on my now shut down 29 Marbles blog) that I thought would be appropriate to repost here.

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That’s just the way it is (but don’t you believe them)

Frequent readers of this blog know that in my attempt to understand autism better, I have a tendency to see connections in things that aren’t always directly related to autism.  A lot of times this will come in the form of a song, a TV show, or a main- or sub-theme in a movie (like the X-Men trilogy).

My post yesterday brought to mind Bruce Hornsby’s (excellent) song, The Way It Is (from the album of the same name).

They say, “Hey little boy you can’t go
Where the others go
‘Cause you don’t look like they do”
Said, “Hey old man
How can you stand to think that way
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules”
He said, son

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
Ah, but don’t you believe them

“Don’t you believe them.”  Don’t listen when someone tells you that you can’t change things, that this is how it was meant to be.  Nothing is “meant to be”, that is the wonder of being human, that we determine what is for ourselves.

Well they passed a law in ‘64
To give those who ain’t got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law don’t change in another’s mind
When all it sees AT the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is, it is, it is, it is

Note that in the chorus after the last verse, Hornsby never says “don’t you believe them”.  I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it is definitely true.  You can make a law, you can tell people what they have to do, but you can’t tell them how to think about others.  That takes education, persistence, and persuasion.

And that, I believe, is the challenge we all face in gaining more understanding and acceptance for autistics, indeed for all people who are different.

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When was the last time you asked yourself, or someone else, “Why is it this way? Is there another way that is better?” When is the next time you’ll ask?