Drive (2009), Daniel Pink’s New York Times Bestseller, represents one of the reasons I was “driven” to write the Glasser biography. Drive is a well-written, captivating explanation of human motivation. Pink describes what he sees as a progression from Motivation 1.0 – motivation based purely on a biological drive for survival – to Motivation 2.0 – motivation based on extrinsic reward and punishment – to Motivation 3.0 – motivation based on intrinsic needs for autonomy, creativity, and achievement. Reading Pink’s insights and examples are like reviewing a What’s What list of research and a Who’s Who list of thought leaders and gurus in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and business over the last 50 years. Only problem is, even though the book covers the dawning of intrinsic motivation and the human need for freedom and self-determination, the influence and contributions of William Glasser are never mentioned.

I read and re-read Drive with such intense mixed emotions. On the one hand I really appreciate the way Pink makes a case for choice theory, while on the other hand I am really frustrated, and even a bit angry, that choice theory or Glasser is totally left out of the book. Abraham Maslow is included; Deci and Ryan are included; and others like Csikszentmihalyi, Seligman, Herzberg, and Deming are mentioned, and a host of others, but not Glasser. How you can write a book about human motivation that summarizes the theories on the topic from the last 50 years and not include William Glasser is beyond me.

Drive is not the only example of Glasser being left out or overlooked. In the course of my research for the Glasser biography I noticed a troubling trend of his work and ideas being less and less at the forefront and more and more slipping into the shadows. Even as the wave of internal control psychology grew bigger, affirming the personal power of choice, people seemed to forget the identity of one of the original wave creators. This felt unfair to me, and even unwise. Unfair because Glasser was one of the pillars on whom others built, and unwise because his message, and the behavior model he developed, is so helpful.

Part of what has motivated me to write Glasser’s story is the hope that the biography will contribute toward establishing his legacy and his prominence as a progressive leader in the fields of mental health and education. I don’t want his ideas to ride off into the sunset. I want his ideas to be recognized as laying the foundation for today’s effective practices.

In spite of Drive not referring to choice theory or Glasser, I still recommend you read it. Drive really is an excellent book and if you are into choice theory you will find that it adds to your understanding and expertise. Just be prepared to have mixed emotions as you go through it.


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“Everything that frees our spirit without giving us control of ourselves is ruinous.”  Goethe