Behavioral Psychologist Ayelet Fishbach on the Science of Motivation

Ayelet Fishbach

When I initially read a review of Ayelet Fishbach’s new book, “Get It Done: Surprising Lessons from the Science of Motivation,” I was skeptical. Does anyone really need another book on motivating others?

However, it doesn’t take long after digging into this book to discover that she’s presenting research — both her own and other studies — in a well-organized, thoughtful manner that unveils useful insights that can be implemented immediately by anyone who manages a team.

In our discussion, Fishbach, who teaches at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, talks about why goals need to be different than chores; the importance of self-selected goals; how inexperienced and experienced (expert) workers take negative feedback differently; and what she thinks about the increased movement to help others find purpose in their work.

You can start with this interview and her book, but Fishbach offers a treasure trove of other insights about effectively managing others on her website. Poke around a bit and I’m confident you’ll be a better manager for it.


  • Paul Nolan

    Paul Nolan is the editor of Sales & Marketing Management.

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  • Ayelet Fishbach

    Ayelet Fishbach studies social psychology, management and consumer behavior. She is an expert on motivation and decision making. She has presented her research all over the world. Fishbach’s research has been published in psychology, management and marketing journals, including Psychological Review, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Marketing Research, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Her research is regularly featured in the media, including WSJ, CNN, Chicago Tribune, NPR and was selected to be featured in the New York Times ‘Annual Years in Ideas.’ Fishbach has served as an Associate Editor on several journals, including Psychological Science and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and she has served on the editorial board of leading journals in psychology and management. She has further served as the president of the International Social Cognition Network (ISCON) and the Society for the Study of Motivation. Fishbach is the recipient of several international awards, including the Society of Experimental Social Psychology's Best Dissertation Award, Career Trajectory Award, and the Fulbright Educational Foundation Award. In 2006, she received the Provost's Teaching Award from the University of Chicago. Fishbach earned a bachelor's degree with distinction in psychology in 1992, a master's degree summa cum laude in psychology in 1995, and a PhD magna cum laude in psychology in 1999, all from Tel Aviv University. She joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2002.

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