Dan Pink, Best-selling Author, Various

Dan has a peculiar fascination with work. It’s the inspiration behind his books Drive, A Whole New Mind, Johnny Bunko and Fast Company‘s blog Free Agent Nation. Dan thinks of his work as a writer in terms of bricks and mortar—manual labor that’s more “hands than head.” And that’s true in many respects. Dan has a dogged discipline of putting his hands to work, conducting copious research and banging out one best-seller after another. More than a topical area, though, Dan uses work as a lens to understand humanity and how societies function.

June 2015

Just think about it. Most people spend at least half of their waking hours working. Understand that and you have a window into understanding human beings—what makes us tick as individuals and citizens. It’s Dan’s insatiable curiosity about the way societies work and his genuine love of people that make him one of the most influential cultural anthropologists of our time…and a perfect person to provide perspective on the Let Go & Lead project.

Management is an Outdated Technology (3:36)
If you just think about management here for a second, we have not scrutinized the very concept enough. We tend to think of management – we're sitting here, as you mentioned, in my living room, and there's a tree outside there. Now, it's an old tree; it's been there for a long time.
On Employee Motivation (4:14)
Number one, inertia: this is how we've always done things, so this is how we're going to do it. The second is that these kinds of if-then motivators work pretty well in the short term. They at least get activity in the short term.
On Purpose Beyond Profit (3:31)
I would say a sense of purpose – knowing why they're doing what they're doing and helping infuse the workplace with a sense of purpose; and an empathy that says that everybody should be treated well, but everybody shouldn't be treated the same. So what they do is calibrate it to the individual.
The Rise of Right Brain Thinking (2:02)
I think there's a misconception out there about writing being this kind of ethereal kind of task where people get some kind of great inspiration. They walk around, think great thoughts, and then hear the voice of God, when in fact, as someone told me long ago, writing is more butt than head.