Why Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does
The New Science of Leading, Energizing, and Engaging
By Susan Fowler
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Final Release Date: September 2014
Pages: 216

Top leadership researcher, consultant, and coach Susan Fowler says stop trying to motivate people! It's frustrating for everyone involved and it just doesn't work. You can't motivate people—they are already motivated but generally in superficial and short-term ways. In this book, Fowler builds upon the latest scientific research on the nature of human motivation to lay out a tested model and course of action that will help leaders guide their people toward the kind of motivation that not only increases productivity and engagement but that gives them a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Fowler argues that leaders still depend on traditional carrot-and-stick techniques because they haven't understood their alternatives and don't know what skills are necessary to apply the new science of motivation. Her Optimal Motivation process shows leaders how to move people away from dependence on external rewards and help them discover how their jobs can meet the deeper psychological needs—for autonomy, relatedness, and competence—that science tells us result in meaningful and sustainable motivation.

Optimal Motivation has been proven in organizations all over the world—Fowler's clients include Microsoft, CVS, NASA, the Catholic Leadership Institute, H&R Block, Mattel, and dozens more. Throughout the book, she illustrates how each step of the process works using real-life examples. Susan Fowler 's book is the groundbreaking answer for leaders who want to get motivation right!

Product Details
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


by PowerReviews
oreillyWhy Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does

(based on 1 review)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars



  • 4 Stars



  • 3 Stars



  • 2 Stars



  • 1 Stars



Reviewed by 1 customer

Displaying review 1

Back to top


A very useful, practically applicable and insightful book

By mcdogfood

from Selby, UK

About Me Developer, Sys Admin

Verified Reviewer


  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Why Motivating People Doesn't Work . . . and What Does:

    People management is the subject of much rhetoric, gobbledygook, binary labelling of people, semi-mysticism and machismo. This book has none of that.

    I found the central tenet of this book extremely convincing, and correlated directly with my own experience of being motivated, and times when I have not been.

    The simple classification of motivation using the Spectrum of Motivation, a generally applicable set of human psychological needs, and a method for examining and choosing to change a motivational outlook, complete a simple and easy to apply method for grow self, peers, team and business.

    Everyone has something to learn from this book.


    Displaying review 1

    Back to top

    Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
    Buying Options
    Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?
    Ebook:  $18.95
    Formats:  ePub, PDF