Examining and citing old and new research, the author contends that carrot and stick motivators actually only work in certain circumstances (with rule-based routine tasks) and people are instead strongly motivated today by some combination of the following factors:
- Autonomy - the desire to direct their lives
- Mastery - the urge to get better and better at something that matters
- Purpose - the yearning to do something as part of something larger than ourselves
The implications of a reassembled paradigm of motivation are huge and far-reaching. In a normative workplace, everything from prescribed work schedules, fixed work processes, and performance bonuses could and should be recast if you approach motivation differently.
One other note. It's worth noting that Daniel Pink writes very well. Though the text gets high marks foremost for its insightful arguments, the writing is masterfully fluid. That is, it's comfortable and easy to read without ever sacrificing intelligence and rigor for accessibility.
You can read more about Dan Pink and Drive at his website: http://www.danpink.com/.