A few months ago, I announced the speakers of 2018’S LIVE2LEAD CONFERENCE which includes an incredible lineup of renowned leadership experts. This month, I am sharing an in-depth profile on upcoming speaker Daniel Pink – the author of six thought-provoking books on business, work and behavior and the speaker of one of the top 10 most-watched TED Talks of all time.

Where Might I Have Seen Him Before?

For the better part of two decades, Daniel Pink has been challenging conventional business wisdom and transforming complex ideas into practical approaches that his followers can put to work immediately. Pink’s TED Talk, “THE PUZZLE OF MOTIVATION,” is one of the ten most-watched TED Talks ever, with over 20 million views.

Maybe you stumbled upon him as the host of the TV show “Crowd Control,” a show on the National Geographic Channel where he set up a series of practical experiments that attempted to change social behavior from the norm.

You could have listened to him on a podcast. Pink has been a frequent guest on NPR’s “Hidden Brain” podcast hosted by Shankar Vendantam. The podcast uses science and storytelling to “reveal unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, biases that shape our choices and the triggers that direct the course of our relationships.”

Or, you may have picked up one of his six provocative books including the long-running #1 New York Times bestseller, Drive. His books have been translated into 32 languages. Learn more about his books below.

Pink’s Background

Daniel Pink received his B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Yale Law School. Deciding not to practice law, Pink worked in several positions in politics and economic policy. Most notably, he served as an aide to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and from 1995 to 1997 he was chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore. In 1997, he quit his job to go out on his own – an experience which became the basis of his first book, “Free Agent Nation.”

For the last six years, London-based Thinkers 50 named Pink as one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world. He has been a contributing editor at Fast Company and Wired as well as a business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. His articles and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, The New Republic, Slate and other publications.

Pink’s Books

When: The Scientific Secrets Of Perfect Timing

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don’t know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of “when” decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.

Timing, it’s often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.

A quick tip from When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing:

Snag the first shift – Mood and energy levels follow predictable circadian rhythms based on our genetically predisposed chronotype. The average person’s mood bottoms out approximately seven hours after waking (between 2 and 4 p.m.) That’s when the incidence of on-the-job errors spike

To Sell Is Human

To Sell Is Human
 offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book–one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.

A quick tip from To Sell Is Human:

Selling well means making things better for your customer – It isn’t about “making the sale” anymore, it’s about finding a solution for someone that will help them long-term. Carefully listen to the specific needs and goals of a buyer in order to connect them with a solution that will improve their situation.


Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, Daniel H. Pink says in, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, his provocative and persuasive new book. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

For a quick tip from Drive, watch Daniel Pink’s TED Talk, “THE PUZZLE OF MOTIVATION.”

The Adventures Of Johnny Bunko

Meet Johnny Bunko. He’s probably a lot like you. He did what everybody – parents, teachers, counselors — told him to do. But now, stuck at a dead-end job, he’s begun to suspect that what he thought he knew is just plain wrong. One bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he’s ever seen. Part Cameron Diaz, part Barbara Eden, she reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga – and the last career guide you’ll ever need.

A quick tip from The Adventures of Johnny Bunko:

There is no plan – Life changes in an instant. Plans are static, life is dynamic. Plans do not reflect the realities of living. This doesn’t mean that planning is a waste of time. Knowing where you want to go is an important compass but it’s not the map. Where you want to go is a good place to aim. How you get there? That’s life.

Free Agent Nation

Widely acclaimed for its engaging style and provocative perspective, this book has helped thousands transform their working lives. Now the paperback edition features a comprehensive 30-page resource guide that explains the basics of working for oneself.

In this landmark book, Daniel H. Pink offers the definitive account of this revolution in work. He shows who these free agents are — from the marketing consultant down the street to the home-based “mompreneur” to the footloose technology contractor — and why they’ve forged a new path.

A quick tip from Free Agent Nation:

Tailorism, the free agent’s approach to work – Descendant of Taylorism (Frederick Winslow Taylor’s One Best Way method of mass production). Under Tailorism, free agents fashion their work lives to suit their own needs and desires— instead of accepting the uniform values, rules, and structure of a traditional job. Opposite of the One Size Fits All ethic of the Organization Man era. (Synonym: My Size Fits Me).

Want to learn from Daniel Pink live? Join us on Friday, October 12th for Live2Lead, a half day leadership development conference simulcasted live in West Des Moines. Bring your team to learn from world-class leadership experts, and be prepared to implement a new action plan and start leading when you get back to the office with renewed passion and commitment. Enjoy the company of other local leaders as you learn together and inspire one another to add value to your community. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE and save big with early bird prices through September 7th.