PUNISHED BY REWARDS

THE TROUBLE WITH GOLD STARS, INCENTIVE PLANS, A'S, PRAISE, AND OTHER BRIBES

A compelling argument that the use of rewards is counterproductive in raising children, teaching students, and managing workers. Kohn (The Brighter Side of Human Nature, 1990, etc.) contends that rewards, like punishments, are methods of controlling people—perhaps a morally objectionable goal—and that, at best, they produce only temporary compliance. He begins by tracing the development of behaviorist doctrine and the widespread acceptance of its popular version, encapsulated in the idea ``do this and you'll get that.'' Kohn examines the effect that rewards have on behavior, concluding that rewards fail for many reasons: They punish; rupture relationships; ignore underlying reasons for behavior; discourage risk-taking; and undermine interest in the task at hand. The author looks carefully at three places in which rewards are used extensively- -the workplace, the classroom, and the home—and demonstrates in turn why incentive plans and other reward-based systems employed, first, by managers fail to improve the quality of work; why outward motivations undermine students' intrinsic motivation to learn; and why children whose parents use rewards to motivate them are less likely to develop a sense of responsibility and the ability to make ethical judgments. Having shown that rewards don't work, Kohn undertakes the more difficult task of developing a strategy that does. His solution is based on what he calls the ``three C's''—``content,'' ``choice,'' and ``collaboration''— and he illustrates how they can be applied by managers, teachers, and parents. Three appendices round out his well-documented study: excerpts from a 1983 interview with a rather crotchety B.F. Skinner; a reflective essay on intrinsic motivation; and Kohn's prediction of how behaviorists will respond to his arguments. A clear, convincing demonstration of the shortcomings of pop-behaviorism, written with style, humor, and authority.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 1993

ISBN: 0-395-65028-3

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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