Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and moer profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why. It was their natural ability to start with why that enabled them to inspire those around them and to achieve remarkable things.
In studying the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way -- and it's the complete opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be lead, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Any organization can explain what it does; some can explain how they do it; but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not money or profit-- those are always results. WHY does your organization exist? WHY does it do the things it does? WHY do customers really buy from one company or another? WHY are people loyal to some leaders, but not others?
Starting with WHY works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with WHY never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don't do so because they have to; they follow because they want to.
Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others or who wants to find someone to inspire them.
One of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead -- William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest -- Polly LaBarre, co-author of Mavericks at Work
One of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead -- William Ury, Co-Author Of Getting To Yes A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest -- Polly Labarre, Co-Author Of Mavericks At Work
I really had to struggle with what rating to give this. Simon Sinek's idea is astoundingly insightful, very helpful, and definitely worth the price of this book let alone the Kindle price. I'm inclined to think that the world would be considerably better off if more people lived by Sinek's simple idea.
On the other hand, the book is agonizing in its redundancy, often repeating the same examples many times over to make precisely the same point as the first time the example was used. I'm inclined to think that virtually everything Sinek wrote could have been stated in a 20-page article without leaving out anything important. I daresay it might be possible to do it in five pages. That's part of the beauty of the idea: it's incredibly simple while still being astoundingly powerful. But Sinek doesn't seem to have bothered taking the time to distill the idea down into its essence for straightforward presentation in this book. It reads a little bit like he took articles from his blog, stuck them in a large word-processing document, did some minor editing, and submitted the thing as-is for publication in order to create this book.
So, the idea is worth the cost of the book and the time to read it, but the book itself is, in my humble opinion, very poorly organized and needlessly long.
I would advise those who are interested in Sinek's ideas save themselves a great deal of time and a little expense by first watching his TED Talk:
This covers virtually all the core ideas involved. The one thing Sinek never does either in this presentation or in his book is spell out what "HOW" is. It's a bit confusing in large part because it's different for each of the two communication structures. In the "WHAT --> HOW" structure, "HOW" is "how we're different"; for instance, Dell has to argue that its computers are somehow better than (say) HP's and therefore specifies HOW they're better in order to compete against HP. On the other hand, in the "WHY --> HOW --> WHAT" structure, "HOW" is "how we enact our purpose (i.e. our 'WHY')".
As far as I can tell, if you're reasonably intelligent you can glean pretty much everything essential to Sinek's idea based on his TED Talk together with this understanding that "HOW" means something different in each of the two contexts he contrasts.
What you WON'T get from that is his rather in-depth, incredibly clear exposé of why the "WHAT --> HOW" communication pattern requires manipulating people to some degree or another and why that is by necessity unsustainable in the long run. That's not core to his point but it's certainly a nice supplement.
So in short, the book is a reasonable buy, certainly at the Kindle price, but do consider benefitting from Sinek's wisdom for free in 20 minutes first by watching his TED Talk. If you want more details, you can get the book, but understand that you're not likely to learn much more than what you could have figured out on your own between the talk and what I mention above.Read more ›
Having watched the TED talk (last year) and just last week saw Sinek speak I was keen to dive into this book for a bit more wow - but was sorely disappointed. If you have seen the TED talk there is a little new illustration here - but no new content.
The genius of simple and powerful ideas is that they are easy to get (if difficult to see until illuminated) and for this Sinek deserves 5 stars - but here he labours that beautifully simple nugget and tortures the reader with such repitition. We get it! (If there was a dollar for every time he says "people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it" you could buy many copies of the book! I actually have the audio book - read by Sinek and it all gets overlaboured and smug. How dumb does he think his audience is? My advice - watch the tead talk - skip the book - as it fails on his why - 'to inspire'!
Sinek's "start with why" premise and catchy "golden circle" approach to business may sound great on the surface, but even minute consideration reveals that there is no underlying theory supporting his claims. Perhaps it's because "Begin with a deliverable company creed" is solid advice which requires no explanation or examples, but Sinek is stretching himself thin on a premise that cant be supported: He found a catchy slogan that relates to the majority of what he wants to discuss, and spends an entire book attempting to make his examples fit his theme. Needless to say, it doesn't work. Look no further than his attempt to correlate the diversity of Apple products with the success of the Wright Brothers under the universally simplistic heading of "why," and you will unequivocally understand that Sinek's premise needs some major revision.
If you've come to this book looking for a business philosophy that will actually take you to the heart of why, you have come to the wrong place. Sinek, like most of the business world, has mistaken "what" for "why." Although Sinek will insist that he has not made this vital error by assuring his readers that "everyone knows what they do, but hardly anyone knows why they do it," it seems that Sinek himself doesn't even know how to find the why! Sinek is among the many, many writers and critics who ask - not why - but "What makes you different?" The Wright Brothers believed in the power of flight to unite the world. Apple believes in the power of the personal computing device to empower the individual, bringing the world and knowledge to each of us. These traits make them unique and powerful forces, but do not tell us why Apple employees wake up in the morning, why the Wright Brothers invested every bit of their time and money in the airplane, or - most importantly - why we should care. When we ask "why," we ask something far more fundamental than, "What distinguishes Apple from Microsoft?" Sinek does not deliver the answer.
If you thought - correctly - that Sinek's TED Talk was repetitive, don't even think of torturing yourself with this book. Wrought with repetition, peppered with the occasional tautology, and edited by what I can only assume to be a very busy 8th grader, this book never should have made it to print.
Writer, editor, publisher...someone should have stopped this book from being published. Please don't waste your money.Read more ›
Simon Sinek's "Start With Why" is a must read for any entrepreneur or leader struggling to create a long-term vision and guiding principles for their company or cause. The book can provide just the inspiration needed to get started in the right direction. You'll learn that the most important thing you can do as a leader is to figure out why your company or organization exists and why that should be meaningful to customers and others in society. Once the answer to this becomes clear and you believe it in your heart, the rest of the decisions about what to do and sell and how to do it become infinitely easier.
For those faced with competition, price-war and customer churn, Sinek's book can provide great insights for developing a new long-term strategy to combat these issues once-and-for-all. Sinek explains that while your product's features may be replicated and commoditized, no one can copy the kinship and confidence that your customers feel when doing business with you. This is because those feelings come from intangible values and beliefs that only you share with your customers.
How does one create such kinship with customers? The book explains the Golden Circle concept, which shows business leaders how to inspire instead of manipulating customers or employees to act. Sinek explains that trust is built naturally when you target customers that understand and believe in your WHY. So, if getting repeat and word-of-mouth business is important to you, then use inspiration, not manipulation to get the sale. Also, when business leaders properly articulate their company's WHY to employees, it makes it easier for the employees to believe in what they are selling. When sales reps sound authentic, it builds trust and loyalty with customers. It all starts with WHY.
In light of the last decade of greed and short-term trading mentality with little regard for future consequences, I found myself wholeheartedly agreeing with Sinek's observations that there are no short cuts to long-term success. Manipulation may help achieve short term results, but long-run success is only achievable when leaders are ready to make short run sacrifices/investments and willing to account for long-term impact of their decisions from the start. There is much that our universities and MBA programs can do to teach these principles to the next generation of leaders. All and all, this book left me truly inspired. Beyond the tons of practical business insights, the mental framework that "Start with Why" provides can also make anyone a better communicator as a mother, father, husband, boss or just a decent human being.Read more ›
Simon Sinek is an optimist. He teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. From members of Congress to foreign ambassadors, from small businesses to corporations like Microsoft and 3M, from Hollywood to the Pentagon, he has presented his ideas about the power of why. He has written two books, Leaders Eat Last and Start With Why and is quoted frequently by national publications. Sinek also regularly shares 140 characters of inspiration on Twitter (@simonsinek).