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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action | [Simon Sinek]

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more 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 successes 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more 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 successes 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. Their natural ability to start with why 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 led, 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 people follow them not 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.

©2009 Simon Sinek (P)2010 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

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. Highly recommended!” (William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes; cofounder of The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School)

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  •  
    Allan Mexico City, Mexico 11-22-11
    Allan Mexico City, Mexico 11-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Important Theme - Repetitive Presentation"

    I saw Simon's presentation on TED, and I think that the idea of Starting with Why is really good and important, but the book is too long and sometimes repetitive. The TED talk has it all.

    76 of 81 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Sterling Heights, MI, United States 09-12-12
    Joe Sterling Heights, MI, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2012
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    "good concepts, lacking examples"
    What was most disappointing about Simon Sinek’s story?

    continues to use Apple as a model to support his theory. would have liked to hear a contrasting viewpoint.


    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yoshida 09-19-13
    A. Yoshida 09-19-13
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    "Inspire to find why you do what you do"

    The book is insightful about what drives customer loyalty and what makes employees dedicated to their work. The only problem is that the book uses some of the same examples over and over, primarily Apple and Martin Luther King. After the first few chapters, it is clear that Apple's core beliefs are about simplicity, design, and technology and pushing the envelop on those frontiers. The products are just results of what they are about. The author also uses Dr. King as an example of his "why" -- belief for equality for all people. The message was clear and it resonated with people. The march was a result of the people demonstrating their belief. If you're interested in the topic, you should first watch Simon Sinek's TED Talk. If you want more details, then read the book. The book doesn't provide any new information, just a lot of examples.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris SAN JOSE, CA, United States 03-28-11
    Chris SAN JOSE, CA, United States 03-28-11
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    "Why do we have emotions? Market to that"

    A retrospective on how we position and sell our thoughts, our passions – both in personal & in business life. Focused on the latter, “Start with Why” strips apart well-known businesses in an attempt to exemplify what works and why in regards to gaining both employee and customer loyalty. Understanding the reasons on why some initiatives are successful and others are not, from tangible as well as intangible, emotional points of view are well explained in Sinek’s book. Although repetitive at times, the overall concept with actionable takeaways makes this a recommended read.

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 11-07-11
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 11-07-11 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great ideas"

    I really enjoyed this book. I usually don???t go in much for ???business??? books, but the reviews on this one caught my eye. The book is single minded and does not really state the obvious, if you make stuff people don???t want, the why does not really matter and if you have a better mousetrap you don???t have to start with why to make lots of money. Nevertheless the Why does matter. I have thought about and discussed the ideas in this book quite a bit, which is about the best I can hope for in such a book.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saporta Ocean Grove, NJ, United States 09-20-11
    Saporta Ocean Grove, NJ, United States 09-20-11
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    "Insightful & Painful"

    Insightfulness: 4/5 stars.
    Poor research and full-on-inaccuracies: -2/5 stars.


    Reading this book is like listening to your mechanic say:
    "People don't like horse manure, that's why the automobile succeeded in replacing the horse-drawn carriage." and: "Having a car allows you to get places faster. So without a car, you can’t get anywhere on time.”
    And then, the mechanic follows that up with very useful advice on how to maintain your car. You appreciate the useful advice, but you are blown away by some of the other comments. Oh, and the mechanic happens to be the friendliest person you know!

    The author comes across as an extremely kindhearted person, and so it pains me to write anything but the loveliest review. However, it also pains me to hear the author say:

    "A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs." Certainly, each person in the group has a reason (a “Why” as the author calls it) for being a part of the group, but those reasons are not necessarily *shared* amongst the group.

    The author makes a multitude of social, anthropological, technological and historical claims many of which are, to varying degrees, inaccurate and poorly researched. Other claims simply seem naïve of the author to make (eg. what were the Wright Brothers’ and Steve Jobs’ *true,* *deep-down internal* thought processes and motivations driving their achievements). And often times, the author exemplifies a misunderstanding of causality (akin to the horse manure/automobile logic above).

    Ironically, the skewed-logic and faulty claims are invoked to support what are otherwise insightful conclusions. (eg, it is beneficial to employees/ers to choose their respective association with each other based on a common set of values and beliefs).

    If you can make it through the frustrating distractions of repetitiveness and inaccuracies, this book does have useful tidbits.


    (he does do a good job with narration)

    65 of 74 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-30-11
    Matt Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-30-11
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    "Game changing"

    I saw Simon first doing a TED talk online. While the book is a bit repetitive, I think it might be by design. This concept is simple but VERY powerful. I constantly found myself talking about the concepts, which is always a good sign that the book is resonating with me. HIGHLY recommend it.

    31 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael Brisbane, Australia 05-25-11
    michael Brisbane, Australia 05-25-11
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    "A book for business and life"

    Simon Sinek in his easy to listen to and thought provoking book explains how business' who describe or identify themselves by their process' or what it is they do rather then why they do it, find themselves directionless and floundering in their chosen field.

    By starting with why they exist, an organisation or individual can focusing on that purpose allowing clarity and congruency within their decision making. People are inspired and motivated by the why; it allows them to identify with the individual or organisation.

    Simon presents his thoughts in a logical and easy to follow manner. His voice is enjoyable, and he presents his material passionately and with conviction. I enjoyed his presentation thoroughly and recommend it highly to anyone interested in developing a why to their business or interests in life.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Machesney Park, IL, United States 01-28-11
    Andrew Machesney Park, IL, United States 01-28-11
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    "Fantastic book - so so quality."

    As far as the book goes, there's been very few idea books that have kept my attention this well through the whole book. The sound is a little tinny and I couldn't turn it up too much without some distortion and also, when playing it on my iPod, it would freeze whenever switching to a new chapter.

    22 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew San Diego, CA, United States 03-13-11
    Matthew San Diego, CA, United States 03-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Amazing"

    This is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read/listened to. It not only offers insights into how to run a successful business, it also provides guidance on how to live a fulfilling life.

    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 154 results PREVIOUS1216NEXT
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  • Ian
    Broadway, United Kingdom
    5/26/11
    Overall
    "Why Read This Book?"

    This book has changed the way I talk about our business. Not only does Simon Sinek have me communicating differently, he's also got me thinking differently. By stripping back the commonality of what and how, understanding and rediscovering the WHY has reinvigorated my passion for what I do. I believe that if you read this book, like me, you'll never look at the world in the same way again. If this review encourages just 1 person to read/listen to this and it has the same positive effect on them that it's had on me then this review will have been worthwhile. That's why I've been tapping away at my keyboard for the last 5 minutes.!

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Mat
    LeicesterUnited Kingdom
    2/17/11
    Overall
    "Superb!"

    This is definitely one of the best books I have read/heard, period. The core concept that runs through the book is clear from the outset, but Simon Sineks incredible way of allowing the reader/listener to understand the concept is brilliant. I have not stopped talking about this book to everyone I meet, as it rings true not just in the business world, but also in the real world. I found it incredibly inspirational when it comes to being a leader as well as understanding my own life decisions.

    It was so good that I have actually purchased the physical book after listening to this audio version.

    A Must listen/read!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Malcolm
    Wiltshire, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Lest we forget"

    Let's face it, management theory is for the few not the many. Its all about how we can do what we do better, with more intelligence or emotion or flair. And to me it has its limits. But this book is a real exception. Simon Sinek is not much interested in what we do, or how we do it. He wants us to go back to the "Why". For me, in a significant public sector role in a service which had lost its way, this book accompanied me on a 40 minute drive to work every day, and still does some days. Sinek talks a lot about Apple and other companies which do things differently, and comes back time and time again to the why as the thing that matters, not the what or the how. If you are a half decent manager, particularly in the UK public sector, you probably need no reminders of what and how, but the system conspires to make us lose sight of why. This book readdresses that and is well worth the read/listen.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Ralph
    Bexleyheath, United Kingdom
    8/11/11
    Overall
    "Inspiring"

    I found this book immensely inspiring. I am thinking up ways to differentiate myself, form differentiating organisations and inspire others.

    The criticism given by others on this book, that the anecdotes and examples become repetitive are valid; and this loses a star. However the book is really good and well worth a read/reread. I will be following up on this with some of these lectures on the “golden circle" which are available on YouTube.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "An absolute essential for everyone"

    This is the most powerful audio book I have ever listened to. This will open your mind to the reasons why you do what you do and if you were unclear beforehand this will certainly help connect with your reasons for doing what you do :)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • simon
    Esher, United Kingdom
    5/4/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "superb!"

    This really is a book to inspire you, Infact the best business related book I have heard.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • sophie
    HALIFAX, United Kingdom
    12/24/12
    Overall
    "A must read for any business owner"

    A very informative book on how to build a long term following for your brand. This book takes you away from traditional marketing to help you build core long term company values that are reflected in every step of the decision making process. Highly recommended!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Phil
    Totnes, United Kingdom
    11/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The whole book is in the title"
    What disappointed you about Start with Why?

    This entire book is in the title - the rest is tediously repetitive anecdotes and padding, mostly about how wonderful Apple is.


    What could Simon Sinek have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Add some meaningful content.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Sinek’s performances?

    No thanks.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was nicely read.


    Any additional comments?

    I would like a refund.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Leticia
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome concept"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If your smart enough to grasp the concept in the first chapter the book becomes a little boring. It is sooooo repetitive!! The case studies are bad however I think it could have been 200 pages shorter. Life changing - YES! But I really didn't need to hear why I should find the why more than 100 times. His youtube videos are far more engaging.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Simon Sinek again?

    Yes


    What about Simon Sinek’s performance did you like?

    Well read


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    Yes


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Adrian
    Northbridge, Australia
    3/24/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent - packs a huge punch"
    What made the experience of listening to Start with Why the most enjoyable?

    This books starts slowly, I though it was a Gladwell or Pink clone and, quite honestly, I nearly gave up. But I was on a long walk with my dogs and I had an hour of listening to do. Then it starts to heat up in chapter two. Each chapter from then on is clear, crisp and compelling.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The essence of the book, namely 'asking WHY, before jumping into HOW and WHAT' is applicable on an incredibly personal level, as well as applying to business and leadership. The message is authentic and honest. I initially thought 'here we go, another book referring to Apple and SWA' but actually ... this book does a better job than most explaining the success of those companies, despite the flaws of their founders. Excellent piece of research and something I will use


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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