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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Paperback – December 27, 2011
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-WILLIAM URY, coauthor of Getting to Yes
“Start with Why fanned the flames inside me. This book can lead you to levels of excellence you never considered attainable.”
-GENERAL CHUCK HORNER, air boss, Desert Storm
“Each story will force you to see things from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that is nothing short of the truth.”
-MOKHTAR LAMANI, former ambassador, special envoy to Iraq
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Example: Yes, there's a difference between WHAT one does in business and WHY one does it. And sometimes they diverge. He calls this the "Split" and has a graphic and whole chapter on it. Really?? Not needed.
Example: He mines the stories of Apple, Wal-Mart, Costco, Starbucks, Martin Luther King Jr, and a few others - over & over & over & over & over again. He makes elementary and generalized statements, such as saying that NONE of the 250,000 people who came to hear Dr. King in Washington came for him; no sir, they came for themselves because their "why" connected with his "why." Uh, no; many came for him and his message or to simply support civil rights.
Example: He constantly repeats the words WHY and WHAT in CAPS ALL THE TIME so you'd get the message. And then again....and again.....
Example: Yes, the Apple Computer story is inspiring. But among all that WHY stuff is also the story of a dreamer with incredibly bad people skills. To simply elevate the Apple story - and retell it umpteen times - is to vastly oversimplify what made them great back then and now, and why they succeeded in spite of the way Jobs treated his employees.
It's almost as if the author had about 10 stories in his pocket and decided to use nothing else at all. He created the entire "start with WHY" mantra out of the 10 stories and never went beyond them to augment, embellish, or create more learnings.
So save the money, see the TED talk, and take what he says there to heart. WHY is the basis for being motivated. But there's a whole lot more to say, and sadly, he never gets to it.
Save your money and (most importantly) your time and just watch the TED talk on YT..
Let's start with why. Sinek is an awfully repetitive and, frankly, unskilled writer. He lays out his thesis and then repeats it like a rower repeats his stroke. As he drags out the book to whatever number of words he needed to fulfill book contract, he re/illustrates his thesis with different examples. This would have made the book slightly more tolerable, except the examples are so ordinary and well known that they will put you to sleep. Apple, Disney, JFK, Hitler. Yawn. Even that might be fine if he had spent five minutes on Wikipedia to research less-known stories about them, but it doesn't look like he did.
This book should have been a column in a weekend newspaper, or, at best, a chapter in another book about leadership. Not worth your time.
The premise is interesting, but it's not ground breaking. Basically, it's: don't start with what you can do and figure out how to find a market, but instead start with a passion, a need, and what gets you up in the morning, build a business around that, and hire people who share your passion. It's slightly more than that, but not much more, hence find the Ted talk or read an abstract.
Top international reviews
I find it funny that a book about WHY missed out on mentioning something called, "The theory of 5 Whys"- Look it up, it is something a lot of companies use to brainstorm problems. It also has no comment on Friedrich Nietzsche - "He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW." I believe what applies to life also eventually applies to business life.
And as it is a business book, its only focus is on the importance of WHY in businesses and large scale social movements. There is no example of how this concept affects and benefits an individual on a more personal scale - i.e. in relationships, health, etc. Chapter 13 - where the author shares his own story of arriving at this concept is the only place where he has touched on it in a lukewarm manner. Though, I believe there is another book follow-up book called 'Find Your Why' for the same purpose. If you are looking for a personal WHY, do read Stephen Covey's - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Should you read the book, if you have watched the TED talk?
- Yes, if you are looking for more detailed examples and studies and researches. Though a lot of it is focused on Apple and Southwest Airlines and Walmart.
- No, if you already have a clear sense of WHY in everything you think, say and do. (i.e. self-awareness)
[I bought a paperback version by Portfolio Penguin, and the fonts, binding and print are all okay]
Ärgerlich ist, dass der Inhalt des Buches auf 20 Seiten gepasst hätte und dass es keinerlei Anleitung gibt, wie der Leser, denn für sich selbst das Why/How/What definieren kann. Dafür muss man wohl einen überteuerten Workshop von Sinek buchen. Fazit: 20% interessante Gedanken, 80% aufgeblasene Zeitverschwendung.
Like others, I have watched Sinek's Ted Talk on this, and questionned whether the book would add anything more - and boy yes it did. Imagine the Ted Talk expanded to 2 hours long, with more depth, intrigue and examples.
What I like most about the book compared to the Ted Talk is that it delves more in to how Starting With Why can influence home life not just work. It's definitely made me a think, and I'm even finding myself taking a different approach around my team at work and the way I explain my actions.
I agree, a lot of the examples are repeated (a lot) throughout the book, in particular Apple. I'm not against Apple, and found it useful how the different topics are explained using the same companies as examples - it helps provide the fuller picture. However, let me assure any potential readers that there are also plenty of new examples given too.
I'm literally buying my colleagues at work a copy of this book for Christmas (I know, I'll definitely win the "best present of the year" award lol) as I think it's the sort of mindset that everyone needs to be on the same page for. Thankfully my boss is also a fan of Sinek so it shouldn't be too hard.
I'd strongly recommend anyone interested in really understanding how to drive yourself or your business forward, should buy this book immediately and read it at least twice (once to read, the second time to take notes as there is so much content!).
All in all, the most important fact Simon Sinek is trying to point out is that the way something is communicated must be believed in, explained, and people accept it for themselves, because THEY believe in it. It is a very inspiring, enlightening and insightful book that I would recommend to anyone
Bought second hand - Quality below what I expected - dog eared pages, worn cover, creases on cover and some pages, bit dirty - otherwise fine for a quick read on a topic I’m interested in.
Overall worth getting
Must admit, I have come to this book “late”, I had heard a lot about it and the fact it’s a “must read” but somehow or other it never seem to get purchased by me. Anyway, it lives up to the hype. Yes there are many books and many books that are supposed to change things, but this really hits the mark. As you read it, there is a real “aha” moment … you can look at companies and see why they are failing, or just not filling their potential.
If you work in sales, marketing or have a position in business today, you must read this book!
The author and the editors didn't do justice to the message. The examples could have been more creative with breadth of choice. Having said that Simon Sinek is a good inspirational speaker, when featured on ted talks and other podcasts you can really grasp the message. I am glad though I didn't order more than one of his books.
But this book could really be condensed to less than 10 pages, it's a lot of waffle. You are better off just Googling his Ted Talk and saving your money.
Most frustrating he didn't even explain his process of finding a why.
So he could sell the sequel...