Book Review – “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

“There are leaders and there are those who lead. This book is about a naturally occurring pattern, a way of thinking, acting and communicating that gives some leaders the ability to inspire those around them. They are the ones that start with why.” – Simon Sinek, Start With Why

Sinek illustrates critical distinctions throughout the book between the skills required to lead and what makes a truly great leader. Understanding the difference not only helps managers, it helps all employees. He cited a study that said 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. Leaders who can inspire, not just motivate or incentivize, but have teams who are more creative and productive and who build stronger, more profitable companies. This book is about the cause, not the course, of action. 

He goes on to discuss how perception, assumption, manipulation and fear typically factor into so many business decisions throughout every department from finance and accounting to sales and marketing. While these tactics often work to successfully control operations and influence customer behavior, there are significant trade-offs. Sinek talks about the short-term gains and long-term costs that are the natural (and usually undesirable) consequences of such strategies, especially as they relate to loyalty.

Examining the 'Golden Circle'

After exploring the way things unfortunately are, he then offers brighter examples of how things could be. He examines the Golden Circle as an alternate, yet totally natural, perspective to help us understand why people (and businesses) do what they do. This concept is based on the age-old mathematical formula for proportion - the Golden Ratio.

You’ll learn more about business models like Southwest Airlines and Wal-Mart, the power of the limbic brain and there’s even something valuable to be gleaned from Dr. Seuss and his Sneetches. Other sections include helpful information about how to rally your followers and how success can actually be an organization’s greatest challenge.

One of the greatest features of this book are the free support tools and podcasts provided through the website, Sinek maps out clear takeaways and actionable next steps to help get you or your team thinking about their why. 

“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it. Where does vision come from? This is the power of why. Our visions are…the tangible results of what the world would look like if we spent every day in pursuit of our why. Leaders start with why…leaders inspire action.”

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