Punished by Rewards

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The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Punished by Rewards.

There was an experiment in which researchers divided college students into two groups and asked them to independently solve complicated math problems. One group of students would be rewarded after they had solved the problems, while the other group was not rewarded. During the experiment, students had a ten-minute break. Both groups could decide by themselves whether they would like to keep solving problems or take a break during this time.

In the end, the experiment discovered that the rewarded group of students spent less time on the problems during the break while the unrewarded group was more interested in solving problems. Why would that be? To put it simply, it is because, compared to earlier times, receiving no reward during the break time means a decrease in people's interest in what they are doing. You might be surprised by the result of this experiment, but whether you believe it or not, it is a fact: rewards will decrease people's internal motivators and people's passion and interest in doing things.

So, what damage and influence do long-term rewards have on people? Punished by Rewards will give you the answer. Since its first publication in 1993, it has benefited millions of parents, teachers, and administrators. Renowned expert on communication between adults and children, Adele Faber, praises this book for being “Very clear, challenging, and satisfying,” and suggests that every parent and teacher should own a copy of it.

The author of this book, Alfie Kohn, is said by Fortune to be America's most biting critic of money as a motivator. And Time says he is “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades and test scores.” Kohn points out the reasons for the failure of rewards, teaches people the proper way to praise and encourage, and asks people to use the three factors of incentives to truly stimulate their internal motivators.

Next, let us start reading this book and discuss three issues together:

The first issue: why do rewards ultimately fail?

The second issue: what should we pay attention to when praising other people?

The third issue: how to use the three factors of incentives to stimulate the internal motivators?

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