Good start for unifying theories ... but,
This review is from: Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Hardcover)Lawrence & Nohria reduce human drives to biological drives that they say are rooted in the physical structure of our brains. These drives are to (1) Acquire, (2) Bond, (3) Learn, and (4) Defend. The authors search broadly through various disciplines to support their theory, significantly focusing on evolutionary sciences and neuroscience. Their work is a contribution to the literature on organization development vis-à-vis human biology and neurology, but unfortunately does not go far enough and reveals errors and lack of depth. For one, they postulate a Great Leap forward in human evolution dating back 70,000 years, but fail to account for the fact that although human 'evolution' per se seems obvious, evolutionary science to date does not link man directly to earlier non-human life forms (i.e. the "missing link").
The authors likewise delve into neuroscience in an attempt to prove a unified theory of our drives by linking them to neurological activity in the limbic center of our brains, but stop short of including or even alluding to respected research that explores links between activities such as meditation and brain functioning (e.g. neurotheology, AUB), much of which supports a uniquely human neurology linked to spirituality (while not necessarily claiming to prove or disprove a God).
Even their case studies make errors of omission. They overlook key variables in their cases involving the economies of Russia and Ireland, and do not account for global economic influences. Today it seems more commonly acknowledged that the failure of capitalism in Russia had less to do with factors related to the imbalance of these 4 drives than with the monopolizing of the country's natural resources and large business ventures by the old party elite, and the economic successes of Ireland that they site as evidence of a country that balances these 4 drives is somewhat dated as Ireland today has budget deficits and the highest rate of inflation in all of Western Europe.
It would seem wise for Lawrence & Nohria to supplement their 4 drives with non-biological human drives such as our commonly acknowledged spiritual quests, for one. If we have an innate drive to transcend this material world and to know God (Western theists), our Ultimate Reality (Eastern spirituality) or our higher power (atheists), and if we at times even 'deny' the other 4 drives in this quest, some even to the point of martyrdom, how can Lawrence & Nohria claim to have captured the essence of human nature? If for instance, the Jews of old gave up family, nation, and even life to remain true to their spiritual drives; and if early Christianity evolved 'in spite of' the persecutions and against the accepted teachings of the day to acquire ("it is better to give than receive"), bond (in lieu of their own family members who did not accept Christianity), learn (as per their traditional mindsets) and defend (martyrdom, etc.); if early Islam likewise revealed a community of early believes who went against most of these drives to later establish a human system that embraced a vast expanse of land from North Africa to Portugal to Arabia; and today if Baha'is give up money (acquire), family (bond), school (learn: it is illegal for Baha'is to go to university in some nations), and even life (defend) as they are driven by faith in lands where it is fiercely persecuted; and finally if a cross section of humanity including humanists and atheists can sacrifice all for fellow humanity, how again can Lawrence & Nohria with such confidence claim to have the best unified theory of human nature that is reduced to our DNA?