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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Paperback – December 27, 2011
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“Start with Why is 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, 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
About the Author
SIMON SINEK, the bestselling author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER, is an optimist who believes in a brighter future for humanity. He teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people and has presented his ideas around the world, from small startups to Fortune 50 corporations, from Hollywood to Congress to the Pentagon. His TED Talk based on START WITH WHY is the third most popular TED video of all time. Learn more about his work and how you can inspire those around you at StartWithWhy.com.
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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.
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.