Review of Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci

In Why We Do What We Do, Edward Deci (with a ghost author) tries to popularize Self-Determination Theory as developed by him and Richard Ryan. The book covers the three main components of the theory (autonomy, purpose and relatedness) in detail, although there is more of a focus on autonomy and authenticity versus control and alienation.

While the book is a good general introduction to the theory and many of the personal and societal issues that are raised by the need for autonomy and a sense of freedom, I found some of the discussion uninspriing and very America-centric, most especially in the discussion of freedom in the last chapter. Having said that, if you want a short readable primer on self-determination theory then this is for you.

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