Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

I admit that I only listened to the audio book and did not purchase the printed version of this one, so I cannot tell how visually pleasing the printed version is. The content however is very pleasing and inspiring. According to the author, most companies and also individuals forgot about the "why" they are doing what they are doing. What gets you out of bed in the morning? Why does your company do what it does? He states that most companies and individuals know what they are doing, and they also know how they are doing it. But few think about why they are doing it at all. According to the author, most innovative companies like Google, Amazon or Apple know their "why", while most of the other companies don't. And that has an impact on how these companies communicate with their customers, and thus ultimately on success. The author repeats himself sometimes (a problem I have with most American business book btw) but nevertheless the book makes you think about the question what really drives you. Regardless if you are running a Fortune 100 company or if you are an employee at a small startup, this is definitely an intersting read that make shake your foundation.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

For me this is the companion book to "Start with why" mentioned above. It continues on the thesis that mere money or career is not sufficient anymore to motivate us - and that the "why" is the important facor. The author examines several forms of motivation and states that there are three kinds of motivation. First and foremost the very basic motivation to survive and reproduce (Motivation 1.0). Then the motivation to gain wealth and success - which basically means getting a good salary, moving up in the company hierarchy, buying a house and owning a nice car. This motivation however is extrinsic in nature according to the author, and extrinsic motivation is not enough to motivate us in the long run. We seek fame and wealth because of society and because we naturally compare to our workmates and neighbours. But it has nothing to do with what really gets us going. This is what he calls Motivation 2.0. He states that company structures are centered around the belief that this is the only thing that drives and motivates people - hence the "sticks and carrots" way of thinking. However, he continues and states that we are well beyond this point. People are now seeking purpose, and not just in their leasure time but also at their regular workplace. For him, a self-determined, autonomous and purposeful work is the only thing that keeps you and your employees motivated. And I agree.