Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Report "Why We Do What We Do"

I chose the book “Why We Do What We Do”, by Edward L. Deci.  The book is about the motivations of people along with their goals and success. When I first started reading the book I found it to be hard to read because there was so much information. However I thought it was a great book. In the book I learned about encouraging people at their homes, schools, or workplaces.  The book helps the readers explore what is known about the deference of essential motivation and extrinsic motivation, the importance of autonomy and the need for authenticity. To prove this, Edward Deci conducted studies proving that when people are encouraged to follow a task at their own discretion, they do it better and faster. People who were told they would be rewarded, or learned that they would be punished if they don't do it correctly, did not do as good of a job.

My favorite chapter of the book was chapter 5, engaging the World with a Sense of Competence. My favorite part in chapter 5 was when it explains that people work better when there is positive feedback. Positive feedback can have a possibly adverse effect on motivation and performance. In the book it also explains what negative feedback could do and it is far worse than positive feedback. Experts have presented, when people were told that they did not perform well, they felt unskilled, hopeless and controlled.

This book was very much related to this class. Chapter 5 of “Why We Do What We Do” is related to the Reward lecture slides in the slides we learned about reinforcements. The book is also related to self-control from the lecture slides. This book could also relate to Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. When the Endurance ship became immobilized by ice, Shackleton motivated his men by keeping their spirits up, by keeping them busy with their duties. All of the members of the team survived months of waiting in the bitter cold and the elements because they were motivated to live and be rescued.

I am 25 and have been in college since 2010. I received my Associates degree in 2014. I thought I would stop after that but I motivated myself to go and get my Bachelors degree. It has taken me some time but I just left my job August 4th to go back to school full time to graduate. It was very scary leaving my job and knowing I will not be making money, but my parents are very supportive and have also motivated me to go back full time so I can finish school.


  1. I chose the book "the power of habit:why we do what we do in life and business." It was a ton of information, but seemingly very similar to what you read. Did your book mention anything about habit?