"The Motivation Hacker" Book Writeup
July 12, 2013
What’s the point?
According to research science, motivation can be modeled by an equation:
Motivation = Expectancy x Value --------------------- Impulsiveness x Delay
By tweaking the parameters (“hacking” in the parlance of today’s self-help books) using different techniques, we can increase motivation and achieve goals.
How was it?
It was an interesting read and I picked up a few new techniques that seemed novel.
One of the main concepts in the book is “success spirals”. By increasing your confidence that you will achieve a goal, you raise your Expectancy and improve motivation. By building up small victories, you make success the norm; the goals can be very small — things like exercising for one second a day.
The other technique I liked was “precommitment”. This one reduces Impulsiveness by limiting your future options so you can’t weasel out when the time comes. This includes things like scheduling events way in advance, prepaying and setting an unreversible “punishment” if you fail to achieve something by a certain date.
Even if you aren’t into motivation hacking, the book was entertaining as the author detailed his quest to achieve 18 goals (while writing this book).
Who should read it?
I’m a sucker for this kind of motivation and self-improvement book that has a splash of psychology thrown in, but I thought this was a very refreshing and practical look at motivation. If you have set goals in the past and not achieved them, I think you can use the Motivation Equation to explain (or at least rationalize!) why you went off the rails.