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Lectures for a New Year: What Motivates Us, Aside from Money

In this RSA Animate video, author and former Al Gore speechwriter Dan Pink discusses a series of studies about what motivates people -- and more practically, what motivates workers. He takes apart the simplistic notion that monetary rewards result in better performance; such rewards do improve performance for purely mechanical tasks, but when you get into knowledge work, it's not just about the money. In this talk, Pink lays out a simple set of guidelines that will help any worker or employer understand what actually improves performance -- and that could lead to a better workplace for all of us. Have a look! Also, keep an eye open for an onscreen misspelling of "weird."

Topics: what does and does not motivate people; lots of examples; Google, Wikipedia, Linux, and OSS.

For: anyone who works, especially managers.

Further Reading

Dan Pink wrote a book on this topic (boy, that's really a theme with these lectures, isn't it?) called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. The Amazon reviews are mainly very positive, but the most popular is a 2-star review that distills the important parts of the book -- and effectively says, if you watch a video of Pink giving his talk (like you did above), you've already got the gist of the book. Anybody in the audience care to comment on the book?

Transcript

There's a good dotSUB transcript of the RSA Animate video above.

Bonus Points

The full forty-minute lecture by Dan Pink is below. He also gave a somewhat similar (but shorter) TED Talk.

Suggest a Lecture

Got a favorite lecture? Is it online in some video format? Leave a comment and we’ll check it out!

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Food
Learn to Spot the Sneaky Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use
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While dining out, you may have noticed (but perhaps didn’t question) some unusual features—like prices missing dollar signs, or burgers served on plates that could accommodate a baby cow.

These aren’t just arbitrary culinary decisions, as the SciShow’s Hank Green explains in the video below. Restaurants use all kinds of psychological tricks to make you spend more money, ranging from eliminating currency symbols (this makes you think less about how much things cost) to plating meals on oversize dinnerware (it makes you eat more). As for the mouthwatering language used to describe food—that burger listed as a "delectable chargrilled extravagance," for example—studies show that these types of write-ups can increase sales by up to 27 percent.

Learn more psychological tricks used by restaurants (and how to avoid falling for them) by watching the video below. (Or, read our additional coverage on the subject.)

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Animals
Owning a Dog May Add Years to Your Life, Study Shows
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We've said that having a furry friend can reduce depression, promote better sleep, and encourage more exercise. Now, research has indicated that caring for a canine might actually extend your lifespan.

Previous studies have shown that dog owners have an innate sense of comfort and increased well-being. A new paper published in Scientific Reports and conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden looked at the health records of 3.4 million of the country's residents. These records typically include personal data like marital status and whether the individual owns a pet. Researchers got additional insight from a national dog registry providing ownership information. According to the study, those with a dog for a housemate were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease or any other cause during the study's 12-year duration.

The study included adults 40 to 80 years old, with a mean age of 57. Researchers found that dogs were a positive predictor in health, particularly among singles. Those who had one were 33 percent less likely to die early than those who did not. Authors didn't conclude the exact reason behind the correlation: It could be active people are more likely to own dogs, that dogs promoted more activity, or that psychological factors like lowered incidences of depression might bolster overall well-being. Either way, having a pooch in your life could mean living a longer one.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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