What makes us tick – a review

Author: Hugh Mackay

Title: What makes us tick?: the ten desires that drive us

Sydney : Hachette Australia, 2010

Yan’s pick

Hugh Mackay is an Australian leading social researcher. He devotes most of his times to listening to others. Others dreams, conversations, hopes and fears all become the natural materials for his books.

What motivates us and why? These might be the questions that most people ask themselves from time to time. Some might philosphise it and some might just let it go. However what drives us also determines our behaviours as well as our achievement.  

Looking from psychological viewpoint, Mackay lists ten desires that drive and motivate us to make the best of our lives.  For example, we wish our children will be happy so we ‘go to extreme lengths to minimise’ our kids’ growing pain. So what’s wrong with that? We don’t realise that ‘perfection is not available; excellence is, by definition, exceptional; happiness is, of its essence, fleeting.’ 

We often say our home is a true place of our own. Is it? Mackay then has a different opinion for that. It is all about security and certainty.  Whether you believe in religion or not, you actually have faith, Mackay believes. It’s not about religion but about how we set ourselves up to believe in, so that we can have some certainty about this world and about ourselves.  

To be connected, to be useful, to get more our of life, and so other desires constitute this book. It’s not overly thought provoking but often enlightening. It also makes us think about how we can live better lives by understanding ourselves more.

The title is available at Parramatta City Library.