In 1962, the Princeton University psychologist Sam Glucksberg performed a simple experiment to investigate motivation and lack of productivity. The discovery was intriguing. He asked two groups the same task but with different rewards: the first group was promised a cash reward according to their agility, while the second group was just told to complete the task as quickly as possible. The result wasn’t intuitive at all. Rather, the second group fulfilled the task on average three and a half times faster than the first. But why?
The career analyst Dan Pink, who baptized the result as “puzzle of motivation,” has learned that traditional motivators, like money, can be far less effective than those intrinsic motivators like autonomy, mastery and purpose. So, here’s a list of 5 books that analyze the productivity in a more realistic way, closer to how it really works, of what truly makes us engaged and the dilemma of talent:
1. The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle
After all, what’s the secret of talent? Do we must be born with it to succeed? Find out the 3 key elements that enable the development of gifts and optimizing performance in sports, literature, music, mathematics and other areas. When they worked together, the 3 elements make the brain produce myelin, a neural substance that increases speed and accuracy. Combining analysis with real examples, the purpose of this book is to make the reader change his/her vision on talent and get ready to find his/her greatest potential.
2. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Investigations of the psychologist with his almost unpronounceable name, Csikszentmihalyi, on the “optimal experience” reveals that what makes a truly rewarding experience is a state of consciousness called “Flow”. During the “Flow”, people experience a deep joy, creativity, and full engagement with life. The author shows how this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance, and teaches that, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.
3. Why we do what we do, Edward L. Deci and Richard Flaste
Edward Deci, a prominent US social psychologist, writes this book with the former science and health New York Times editor Richard Flaste. They have bad and good news to tell us. The bad one is that rewards and punishments don’t make workers more efficient. Indeed, the damping of interest and commitment, excessive control and reliance on rewards and threats are what keeps people from reaching their best performance. The authors show us how to work more efficiently, learn smarter and treat each other better when our sense of autonomy is encouraged.
4. Mindset, Carol Dweck
Expert in motivation and personality psychology, Carol Dweck has discovered in more than 20 years of research that everyone has one of two types of basic mindsets: fixed or constructive. If you have the first, you believe your talents and abilities are set in stone, that is, either you have them or not. You need to prove yourself all the time, trying to look smart and talented at all costs. This is the path of stagnation. However, if you have a constructive mindset, you know that your talents can be developed and that great abilities are built over time. This is the path of opportunity and success. Dweck reveals how creative geniuses in all fields, such as music, literature, science, sports and business apply the growth of their mindset to achieve their results. And, even more importantly, she teaches us how we can change our mindset at any stage of life to achieve success and satisfaction.
5. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield
A book about the talent you know you have and want to share with humanity. Writing a book, starting a social work or a business… but the first step always seems impossible. Between you and your goal, there is a mountain of obstacles. And even though they are imaginary, they seem, here and now, insurmountable. As well as it’s not worth effort without some talent and a little bit of luck, talent and luck are not enough for those who don’t strive. And one of the biggest lessons of Steven Pressfield for his insecure readers is: “If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”
Be sure to share this list with your coworkers and friends interested in this issue. The lack of productivity may be influenced by our mood on the day, by a mindset of helplessness, but especially by disorganization in the workflow, from the way tasks are demanded to the interpretation of spreadsheets. Some tips: reduce emails, streamline meetings, eliminate bottlenecks, take a few clicks to get your reports and make easier the engagement of staff to their job. How? Experiment the teams, tasks and time manager software Runrun.it. Try it right now for free: http://runrun.it
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