Punished by Rewards

Punished by Rewards

The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

Book - 1993
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To quote the press release: "Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and social theory." Beyond that, his qualifications are not spelled out, but his case against extrinsic awards is backed up with substantial notes and references and is thus head and shoulders above many other books for general audiences on what motivates people. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 1993
ISBN: 9780395650288
Characteristics: xiv, 398 p. ; 24 cm


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Jun 27, 2018

I think that Alfie Kohn uses a lot of loaded language in his essay on rewards, and that biases all the research that he has collected toward his views. It's a good book, but best taken with a grain of salt.

Jun 13, 2013

You would have to be a dyed-in-the-wool behaviorist or at least some kind of sociological conservative not to be persuaded by Alfie Kohn's compelling, if unnecessarily overlong, case against using rewards of any kind as a motivator. What amazes me is how easy it is to fall into the reward trap when interacting with others. And the scenarios seem universal whether you're in a classroom, at home or at work. Rewards and punishments are like a jackhammer to a problem--it will probably get the job done quickly, but in the clumsiest, messiest way possible.

My recommendation for this book is to read the first 100 pages (all of Part 1, "The Case Against Rewards") and then skim the rest.


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