Book launch: Energise

On Tuesday, Nigel and I attended Robert and Jamie West’s Energise book launch. Robert has been a long-term collaborator on the smoking project, which draws on his PRIME theory of motivation. He’s written with his son Jamie before, and this time they teamed up to provide a concise introduction to motivation. 

The book uses dialogue between father and son to explore the role of motivation in behaviour change; the blurry line between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation; how to (not) use incentives, praise and punishment to motivate others; and the role of identity and morality in the process of motivating. 

At the launch, Robert joked that the book was intended to be as short as to be “able to being read on the way to a book launch”, so there is no extensive referencing. Research experiments are mentioned (be prepared to have your heart broken by some poor rats’ ordeal), but generally, you have to take the authors’ word for it (funnily enough, one of the book’s key points is that people really want to believe other people. QED). At the end of each chapter, there’s a list of key points which neatly summarises and reiterates the core concepts and insights from the chapter (one of the key points being that, if you say something often enough, people will believe it).

The book really does a great job of explaining various facets of motivation. As human beings, we often strive to be better versions of ourselves but struggle to achieve these goals. The book not only tells you to ‘keep on keeping on’ when you’ve gotten off whichever wagon you were trying to stay on; it also provides language around motivation and behaviour change. For me, that last point is the most valuable – to be able to view your own behaviour in a framework that allows you to reflect on your choices and actions.

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