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on January 26, 2017
As pointed out already, the message is indeed excellent and it got me interested when I first watched the TED talk.. I bought the book waiting for the author to have elaborated more on this interesting idea, with more examples and comprehensive discussion. However, the book is insanely redundant with the same 2-3 examples repeated over and over and over and over again.. The author was trying so hard to make a many-page book out of the message and it was excruciating to go through this repetition..

Save your money and (most importantly) your time and just watch the TED talk on YT..
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on May 28, 2010
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.
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on October 8, 2017
Sinek is fast becoming one of my favorite "Self Improvement" authors, though he can be a bit smug at times. I also find some of his examples (Apple, Wright Brothers) very repetitive across his books, and even within this one book. I would like to see him expand on his ideas and find other, more recent examples. An examination on how Apple is doing since the passing of Steve Jobs would be interesting as well, he did comment on how Wal-Mart began to decline after the loss of Sam Walton. I recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their relationships with others and recognize ways that good leaders can influence those around them.
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on April 26, 2014
I recently read this book because it was referenced in a couple of other leadership books. The key concept is that leaders need to create a vision of the significance of the work. Then they can ask people to do specific tasks because they understand how it fits in the big picture and adds value. I enjoyed the concept and it was well presented.

The book provides a number of well researched industry examples where companies were successful or failed as a result of the leader's ability to create and maintain the vision. It also has some interesting discussions about the difficulty in maintaining a vision especially where the leader becomes the symbol of the message (Steve Jobs and Apple for example).

I enjoyed the book and found the content useful. I only gave it three stars as I found it repetitive and too long relative to the content. This would be a good candidate for an audiobook for the gym or long car ride.
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on April 10, 2014
Simon Sinek's Start with Why is an elaboration and expansion of his well-known TED talk. Sinek takes the same argument—that a defining feature of successful movements and organizations is the presence of leadership with the clarity of vision to see why such movements and organizations exist and do the things that they do—and pads it out with further examples and details.

Also, where the video feels primarily like a motivational/inspirational piece that may strike some as offering a suspiciously simple solution to a problem that has vexed marketers and executives for as long as there have been marketers and executives, the book takes a bit more of a dip into the nitty-gritty and acknowledges some of the challenges that remain even for those who are able to get at the WHY (a concept Sinek has chosen to express in full caps) of an organization. Where the TED Talk focuses on the neccesity of leaders with the vision and the ability to communicate what they believe and to bring others on board with that belief, the book at least gives lip service to the idea that vision alone is not enough—one still needs talent that is able to implement that vision at all levels of an organization and, of course, the WHY needs to be something others can be inspired by and be willing to believe in.

I do find Sinek's premise to be convincing, though his approach sometimes feels a bit facile. Obviously, simple ideas can also be brilliant ideas and, sometimes, are brilliant precisely because they are simple. Yet, and perhaps this is just my own particular temperament, I wish he had emphasized the inspirational a bit less (including the numerous repetitions, such as "People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it") and spent more time building a stronger case for his argument. As it stands, his arguments are backed up by anecdotes rather than case studies, and while these arguments are compelling, and the anecdotal evidence to support them is extensive, it seems like it could have benefitted tremendously from a more substantial exploration of the ways in which companies such as Apple and Southwest Airlines go about building entire organizations around the concept of WHY.

Still, the book that Sinek did write is a worthwhile read and it does provide good food for thought for anyone in a leadership position looking to get a better grip on the whole vision thing.
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on January 2, 2017
I enjoy Simon Sinek as I read Leaders Eat Last a year ago. His perspectives are "spot on" as I reflect back on my career and leaders and organizations that influenced and inspired me.

I am in a career transition, and can state that my move to a new company, in a new industry, and in a new position 2 years ago was driven because of my WHY. As I look to transition again, I'm much more comfortable knowing that my WHY is much more defined and that I will be looking for roles that align with my WHY.

For those of you in, or thinking about, career transition; this is a MUST READ for you so that you're not searching for WHAT to do, but looking for roles that align with your WHY.
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on May 8, 2016
This is a great book for folks that are lost. I am a professional with 20 years of experience, I did not realize that I had lost focus of my "WHY". This book even though lengthy has inspirational stories and points what you can do not only to transform yourself or even the organization that you are part of. There are a lot of people out there who have different things than me ... If I focus on the what and how .... I would be living a very jealous life...and I do not ... I need to refocus back to my why and this book is what I needed
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This book is more than just a leadership book...or a book about strategy development...or a "business genre" book. It’s an inspiration book. It’s about discovering your purpose and then using that purpose to guide your actions and your deliverables. What’s more, you can apply its principles to either yourself or to your organization. I stumbled upon Sinek’s work and I’m grateful I have, because this book has altered the way that I establish strategy or set goals or coach my clients to establish their strategy or set their goals. In fact, it's on the list of required readings that I ask each client to complete. The Golden Circle is truly golden and I'm a better informed professional and person for having read this book. Thank you Simon.
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on February 26, 2017
A terrific dissection of what makes a brand, product or service rise above the competition by emphasizing the WHY behind our motivations to succeed, versus the WHAT approach which is a less than passionate, less inspired approach to product or service focused more on making a quick buck than delighting and inspiring the customer. This could have been a 6000 word magazine article or essay and conveyed just as much or more than 200+ pages.
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on September 30, 2017
This book is alright at best. The message is okay and redundant - motivate people with the WHY and not the WHAT. Money is a result of the WHY, not the WHY. What I found to be super annoying is that the author uses the words what and why over and over again, literally about a dozen times on each page, however he decided to capitalize them whenever used so throughout every page you see WHAT and WHY in the middle of what would otherwise be normal sentences. It made the book difficult for me to read and ruined the natural reading flow. I could understand maybe doing this in the first few pages to let the reader understand the significance but this was just annoying. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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