Friday, April 11, 2014

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation by Edward L. Deci

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-MotivationWhy We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation by Edward L. Deci
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Again, I was assigned this book for reading for a class, and I have a mixed opinion. The content, meaning the ideas, concepts and implications of the author's message, is probably in the 4-5 star range. Deci's research showed very interesting things about what motivates us, and more importantly what doesn't. A few key points: rewarding someone for an activity they would have intrinsically enjoyed, results in them engaging in that activity less when the rewards are removed, even though they naturally enjoyed the activity. Parents, especially mothers, influence the level of materialism in children through the amount and type of attention they give, and as adults the materialism is expressed as undue attention on aspirations such as wealth. Finally, our relationships with our health care providers can be affected by the attitude and level of autonomy supported by the provider.

So on to the bad news. I don't know what editor signed off on this book, but they weren't thinking about the audience. With such interesting content to share, why did it have to be so blasted boring? Most of it read like a research paper. I understand that it was written by academics, and they can't help but include a heavy dose of "boring" into anything they write, but that is why I blame the editor. Just like a computer program that isn't user friendly isn't tolerated in the marketplace, no matter is usefulness, books should not be allowed on the printing press that haven't been checked for delivery. There are so many things that could have been done to get this message across, the presentation here is a one-star effort at best.

So, with all of this said, I will average this out to a cool 3 stars.