40 Mind-Blowing Daniel H. Pink Quotes

Daniel H. Pink is a bestselling author of almost half dozen books focusing on the world of business, work, and management. With more than two million copies sold around the world, Pink has provided much invaluable insight to millions. Here is a collection to some of the best Daniel H. Pink quotes from his life.

“A lot of times when you have very short-term goals with a high payoff, nasty things can happen. In particular, a lot of people will take the low road there. They’ll become myopic. They’ll crowd out the longer-term interests of the organization or even of themselves.”

“A lot of white-collar work requires less of the routine, rule-based, what we might call algorithmic set of capabilities, and more of the harder-to-outsource, harder-to-automate, non-routine, creative, juristic – as the scholars call it – abilities.”

“Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you’re doing and upserve instead.”

“Change is inevitable, and when it happens, the wisest response is not to wail or whine but to suck it up and deal with it.”

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”

“Empathy is about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place. ”

“Especially for fostering creative, conceptual work, the best way to use money as a motivator is to take the issue of money off the table so people concentrate on the work.”

“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.”

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

“Have you ever seen a six-month-old or a three-year-old who’s not curious and self-directed? I haven’t. That’s how we are out of the box.”

“Human beings are natural mimickers. The more you’re conscious of the other side’s posture, mannerisms, and word choices – and the more you subtly reflect those back – the more accurate you’ll be at taking their perspective.”

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

“I don’t think it’s a Western thing to really talk about intrinsic motivation and the drive for autonomy, mastery and purpose. You have to not be struggling for survival. For people who don’t know where their next meal is coming, notions of finding inner motivation are comical.”

“I happen to be extremely left-brained; my instinct is to draw a chart rather than a picture. I’m trying to get my right-brain muscles into shape. I actually think this shift toward right-brain abilities has the potential to make us both better off and better in a deeper sense.”

“I think people get satisfaction from living for a cause that’s greater than themselves. They want to leave an imprint. By writing books, I’m trying to do that in a modest way.”

“I think the more important task for a young person than developing a personal brand is figuring out what she’s great at, what she loves to do, and how she can use that to leave an imprint in the world. Those are tough questions, but essential ones. Answer those – and the personal brand follows.”

“If you understand the independent worker, the self-employed professional, the freelancer, the e-lancer, the temp, you understand how work and business in the U.S. operate today.”

“In economic terms, we’ve always thought of work as a disutility – as something you do to get something else. Now it’s increasingly a utility – something that’s valuable and worthy in its own right.”

“In many professions, what used to matter most were abilities associated with the left side of the brain: linear, sequential, spreadsheet kind of faculties. Those still matter, but they’re not enough.”

“It’s easy to dismiss design – to relegate it to mere ornament, the prettifying of places and objects to disguise their banality. But that is a serious misunderstanding of what design is and why it matters – especially now.”

“Living a satisfying life requires more than simply meeting the demands of those in control. Yet in our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you through the day, but the latter will get you through the night.”

“Most of what we know about sales comes from a world of information asymmetry, where for a very long time sellers had more information than buyers. That meant sellers could hoodwink buyers, especially if buyers did not have a lot of choices or a way to talk back.”

“Now it’s easy for someone to set up a storefront and reach the entire world in very modest ways. So these technologies that we thought would dis-intermediate traditional sellers gave more people the tools to be sellers. It also changed the balance of power between sellers and buyers.”

“One of the best predictors of ultimate success in either sales or non-sales selling isn’t natural talent or even industry expertise, but how you explain your failures and rejections.”

“One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious. This is the essence of flow.”

“People can have two different mindsets, she says. Those with a “fixed mindset” believe that their talents and abilities are carved in stone. Those with a “growth mindset” believe that their talents and abilities can be developed. Fixed mindsets see every encounter as a test of their worthiness. Growth mindsets see the same encounters as opportunities to improve.”

“Questions are often more effective than statements in moving others. Or to put it more appropriately, since the research shows that when the facts are on your side, questions are more persuasive than statements, don’t you think you should be pitching more with questions?”

“The ability to take another perspective has become one of the keys to both sales and non-sales selling. And the social science research on perspective-taking yields some important lessons for all of us.”

“The monkeys solved the puzzle simply because they found it gratifying to solve puzzles. They enjoyed it. The joy of the task was its own reward.”

“The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road. Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed endemic to modern life involve shortcuts.”

“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.”

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.”

“Typically, if you reward something, you get more of it. You punish something, you get less of it. And our businesses have been built for the last 150 years very much on that kind of motivational scheme.”

“we have three innate psychological needs—competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy.”

“We leave lucrative jobs to take low-paying ones that provide a clearer sense of purpose.”

“We live in a world of breathtaking material plenty. That has freed hundreds of millions of people from day-to-day struggles and liberated us to pursue more significant desires: purpose, transcendence, and spiritual fulfillment.”

“What’s important now are the characteristics of the brain’s right hemisphere: artistry, empathy, inventiveness, big-picture thinking. These skills have become first among equals in a whole range of business fields.”

“When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best–there are no shortcuts.”

“While complying can be an effective strategy for physical survival, it’s a lousy one for personal fulfillment. Living a satisfying life requires more than simply meeting the demands of those in control. Yet in our offices and our classrooms we have way too much compliance and way too little engagement. The former might get you through the day, but only the latter will get you through the night.”

“You know, I’m not a huge fan of the concept of ‘passion’ when it comes to careers. Instead of trying to answer the daunting question of ‘What’s your passion?’ it’s better simply to watch what you do when you’ve got time of your own and nobody’s looking.”

Dan Pink speaks during this Ted Talk on the puzzle of motivation from traditional rewards to modern day social science in management. Check out this invaluable insight in the below video.

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