How much do I want to read more? 6/10

Motivators versus "Hygiene Factors" is an interesting one. It turns out salary is required but it's not a motivator. Motivators are more about self-growth, challenge, recognition, responsibility.

"Keep an eye open to opportunities" is another good advice, but like the first one, it's mostly common sense, and sounds a little flat.


We are there to explore not what we hope will happen to us but rather what the theories predict will happen to us, as a result of different decisions and actions.

1 - Just Because You Have Feathers …

There are probably dozens of well-intended people who have advice for how you should live your life, make your career choices, or make yourself happy. Similarly, walk into the self-help section of any bookstore and you’ll be overwhelmed with scores of choices about how you can improve your life. You know, intuitively, that all these books can’t be right. But how can you tell them apart? How do you know what is good advice—and what is bad?

The Difference Between What to Think and How to Think

The quest to find happiness and meaning in life is not new. Humans have been pondering the reason for our existence for thousands of years.

I explained that disruption happens when a competitor enters a market with a low-priced product or service that most established industry players view as inferior. But the new competitor uses technology and its business model to continually improve its offering until it is good enough to satisfy what customers need.

Good theory helps people steer to good decisions—not just in business, but in life, too.

You might be tempted to try to make decisions in your life based on what you know has happened in the past or what has happened to other people. You should learn all that you can from the past; from scholars who have studied it, and from people who have gone through problems of the sort that you are likely to face. But this doesn’t solve the fundamental challenge of what information and what advice you should accept, and which you should ignore as you embark into the future. Instead, using robust theory to predict what will happen has a much greater chance of success. The theories in this book are based on a deep understanding of human endeavor—what causes what to happen, and why. They’ve been rigorously examined and used in organizations all over the globe, and can help all of us with decisions that we make every day in our lives, too.

Section I

Finding Happiness in Your Career

[quote, Steve Jobs]
The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

Too many of us who start down the path of compromise will never make it back. Considering the fact that you’ll likely spend more of your waking hours at your job than in any other part of your life, it’s a compromise that will always eat away at you.

Now there’s nothing I would rather be doing. Every day I think of how fortunate I am.
I want you to be able to experience that feeling—to wake up every morning thinking how lucky you are to be doing what you’re doing.

The starting point for our journey is a discussion of priorities. These are, in effect, your core decision-making criteria: what’s most important to you in your career?

Good intentions are not enough—you’re not implementing the strategy that you intend if you don’t spend your time, your money, and your talent in a way that is consistent with your intentions.
In your life, there are going to be constant demands for your time and attention. How are you going to decide which of those demands gets resources? The trap many people fall into is to allocate their time to whoever screams loudest, and their talent to whatever offers them the fastest reward. That’s a dangerous way to build a strategy.

2 - What Makes Us Tick

It’s impossible to have a meaningful conversation about happiness without understanding what makes each of us tick. When we find ourselves stuck in unhappy careers—and even unhappy lives—it is often the result of a fundamental misunderstanding of what really motivates us.

Do Incentives Make the World Go Round?

How, then, do we explain what is motivating them if it’s not money?
you can pay people to want what you want—over and over again. But incentives are not the same as motivation. True motivation is getting people to do something because they want to do it.

On one side of the equation, there are the elements of work that, if not done right, will cause us to be dissatisfied. These are called hygiene factors. Hygiene factors are things like status, compensation, job security, work conditions, company policies, and supervisory practices.

The Balance of Motivators and Hygiene Factors

So, what are the things that will truly, deeply satisfy us, the factors that will cause us to love our jobs? These are what Herzberg’s research calls motivators.
Motivation factors include challenging work, recognition, responsibility, and personal growth. Feelings that you are making a meaningful contribution to work arise from intrinsic conditions of the work itself. Motivation is much less about external prodding or stimulation, and much more about what’s inside of you, and inside of your work.

Many people view their education as an investment. You give up good years of your working life, years you would otherwise be making a salary. Compounding that is often the need to take out big loans to finance your time at school, sometimes while supporting young families—as I did. You know exactly how much debt you’ll have the minute you graduate.

The point isn’t that money is the root cause of professional unhappiness. It’s not. The problems start occurring when it becomes the priority over all else, when hygiene factors are satisfied but the quest remains only to make more money.

Motivation Matters in Places You Might Not Expect

But after it was finished, I rarely saw the children in it. The truth was that having the house wasn’t what really motivated them. It was the building of it, and how they felt about their own contribution, that they found satisfying. I had thought the destination was what was important, but it turned out it was the journey.
the feelings of accomplishment and of learning, of being a key player on a team that is achieving something meaningful.

If You Find a Job You Love …

I concluded, if you want to help other people, be a manager. If done well, management is among the most noble of professions. You are in a position where you have eight or ten hours every day from every person who works for you. You have the opportunity to frame each person’s work so that, at the end of every day, your employees will go home feeling good.
I realized that if the theory of motivation applies to me, then I need to be sure that those who work for me have the motivators, too.

In order to really find happiness, you need to continue looking for opportunities that you believe are meaningful, in which you will be able to learn new things, to succeed, and be given more and more responsibility to shoulder.

We should always remember that beyond a certain point, hygiene factors such as money, status, compensation, and job security are much more a by-product of being happy with a job rather than the cause of it. Realizing this frees us to focus on the things that really matter.

For many of us, one of the easiest mistakes to make is to focus on trying to over-satisfy the tangible trappings of professional success in the mistaken belief that those things will make us happy. Better salaries. A more prestigious title. A nicer office. They are, after all, what our friends and family see as signs that we have “made it” professionally. But as soon as you find yourself focusing on the tangible aspects of your job, you are at risk of becoming like some of my classmates, chasing a mirage. The next pay raise, you think, will be the one that finally makes you happy. It’s a hopeless quest.
The theory of motivation suggests you need to ask yourself a different set of questions than most of us are used to asking. Is this work meaningful to me? Is this job going to give me a chance to develop? Am I going to learn new things? Will I have an opportunity for recognition and achievement? Am I going to be given responsibility? These are the things that will truly motivate you. Once you get this right, the more measurable aspects of your job will fade in importance.

3 - The Balance of Calculation and Serendipity

Understanding what makes us tick is a critical step on the path to fulfillment. But that’s only half the battle. You actually have to find a career that both motivates you and satisfies the hygiene factors. If it were that easy, however, wouldn’t each of us already have done that? Rarely is it so simple. You have to balance the pursuit of aspirations and goals with taking advantage of unanticipated opportunities. Managing this part of the strategy process is often the difference between success and failure for companies; it’s true for our careers, too.