Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage giftguide Kitchen Kindle Black Friday Deals Week in Music SGG Tools
Punished by Rewards and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: CDN$ 21.50
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.05 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Punished by Rewards: The ... has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shipped from the US -- Expect delivery in 1-2 weeks. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes Paperback – Sep 30 1999

26 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 16.45
CDN$ 9.94 CDN$ 0.40

Black Friday Deals Week in Books

Frequently Bought Together

  • Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
  • +
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
Total price: CDN$ 30.98
Buy the selected items together

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; New edition edition (Sept. 30 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618001816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618001811
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"a clear, convincing demonstration of the shortcomings of pop-behaviorism, written with style, humor, and authority," Kirkus Reviews

"Every parent, teacher, and manager should read this book -- and hurry." -- Thomas Gordon, founder of Parent Effectiveness Training

About the Author

Alfie Kohn's six previous books include Punished by Rewards and No Contest: The Case Against Competition, as well as Beyond Displine and What to Look for in a Classroom. Descrilbed by Time magazine last year as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of educational fixation on grades and test scores," he is a popular lecturer, speaker to teachers, parents, and reasearchers accross the country. The author currently resides in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eeks on June 26 2007
Format: Paperback
I give this book a qualified 5 stars. (qualified because I'm only 2/3 of the way through.)

Those who criticize Mr. Kohn because he confuses rewards with reinforcers actually agree with the author more than they realize. A reinforcer maintains or increases the likelihood of a particular behaviour occurring again. He examines the attempted use of rewards as reinforcers. If you read his arguments, what he is really saying is that rewards work as reinforcers only some of the time, when they do work they usually only work short term, and......most importantly, even if rewards act as a reinforcer, what motives underlie our desire to increase that behaviour in the first place?

The point of the book is to critically examine the following:
1) Here is what we want (to have self-reliant yet caring children, to have motivated yet cooperative employees, etc.)
2) Here is what we do to get it (use behavioural reinforcers).
3) Is what we do leading to the result we want?

This involves a shift to big-picture, long-term thinking. Our society is by its very nature focused on the short-term, the quick fix. So this shift is really difficult for people.

In a given situation, a person is not behaving the way you want them to. You have a choice of how to respond.

First, examine your reasons for wanting them to behave differently (is it in their interest, or your own interest? Is it to help them, or to control them?) This requires more self-criticism than many people are willing to subject themselves to.

You can threaten to punish the person. You can promise them a reward if they comply. Neither of these pay any regard to the reason behind the behaviour. The third option is to consider why the person is behaving as they are.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. B. Curtis on June 6 2004
Format: Paperback
Behaviorism, pop or otherwise, is caustic. This book lays out exactly how caustic it can be. I've tried behaviorism -- I was well schooled as a practitioner of the evil art -- and found it wanting. In the workplace it is dehumanizing. As a parenting tool it is destructive of both the child and the relationship with the child.
This book is one of the 4 or 5 most life-changing books that I have ever read. When friends ask me for parenting advice or management advice, this book tops my list of recommendations. If this book lacks in any area, it is in providing an alternative toolkit. It has a few things to say on the topic, but you will need to roll your own toolkit to a large extent. Having made the journey to the other side, I can tell you it is well worth the effort. I find it telling that friends did not start asking me for parenting or management advice until *after* I had reengineered my life according to this book.
Read this book and get started on your own journey toward a life of mutual respect towards your fellow travelers.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 9 2002
Format: Paperback
As a teacher, I have always argued that we need to maintain high
grade standards in order to motivate our students to do their
best work. The assumption behind my position is that students
want to get A's and will work to avoid F's (at least most will).
This doesn't seem too radical. As parents, we make similar
assumptions. We reward our children when they behave in ways we
approve, and we punish them when they misbehave. We might argue
about whether spanking is a good punishment or whether sending a
high school student to his or her room is effective, but we agree
about the efficacy of rewards and punishment.
Employers and supervisors would agree. We reward our employees
with pay raises when they do a good job; some jobs even provide
merit pay for their for the best workers.
But after reading Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn, I have some
reservations. According to Kohn, rewards are not only
ineffective; they even prevent the behavior we want to encourage!
The book starts off with a review of the psychological school of
determinism and the work of B.F. Skinner. It's a bit technical
here, but it is clearly enough written that most readers can wade
through it with no problems. Then comes the heart of the argument
- offering rewards is actually counter-productive.
In one study, for example, pre-kindergarten children were given
the chance to draw with Magic Markers, something almost all
children love to do. When one group was told they would receive
gold stars if they drew pictures, however, their interest seemed
to drop, and when the gold star rewards were withdrawn, many of
the children quit drawing!
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kris on Jan. 22 2004
Format: Paperback
Alfie Kohn missed the train on this one. As others have pointed out on this website, he confused reinforcers with rewards.
What's surprising is that he did this even after (apparently) reading through Skinner's books and even interviewing him. Nevertheless, nobody will accuse Mr. (Dr.?) Kohn of being hard-hearted: He, at least, finds reinforcement in sticking up for the other viewpoint, making us humans feel important again. Skinner probably knew in his heart and head that comparing humans to radishes (we are only here to carry and pass on genes) would not appeal to most people (punishing). Yet, this is what biology has given us: this is our main purpose, the sound and fury notwithstanding.
Alfie (What's it all about?) at least tries to prop up our little egos again, and some of us need that. I found Skinner's viewpoint (in his interview with Alfie) to be close to the Buddhist viewpoint (no egos, no fear of death, et cetera). It also reflects such viewpoints as expressed by biologists in their analyses of human moral systems. Anyway, this book is still worth reading, if only for Skinner's interview in the appendix. Diximus.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews