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

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4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,141 Ratings  ·  1,322 Reviews
Why do you do what you do?

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 success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 29th 2009 by Portfolio (first published 2009)
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Popular Answered Questions

Keithkashweka yes i have much desire to read this book because its very much uplifting and can be a very good business book to learn from
Shaju Dev Not just your business, anything you do in life revolves around the WHY? If the WHY? is figured out, how, what and the rest will be taken care of…moreNot just your business, anything you do in life revolves around the WHY? If the WHY? is figured out, how, what and the rest will be taken care of automatically. WHY? is the most important question one should ask before he/she starts doing anything. Cheers(less)
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Sean Gibson
Mar 02, 2016 Sean Gibson rated it liked it
Me: “I’ll take ‘Books That Should Have Been Long Articles or Essays Instead of Books’ for $500, please, Alex.”

Alex Trebek: “This book takes hundreds of pages, including at least 4,398 references to how great Apple is, to make a fairly simple (albeit important) point, and was likely written by someone from the Department of Redundancy Department.”

Me: “What is ‘Start With Why’?”

The idea at the core of this book—that successful companies can clearly articulate WHY they are in business (beyond makin
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Jesse Field
Aug 05, 2010 Jesse Field rated it it was ok
Stuart Sinek gave a really great TED Talk that summarizes the argument of this book: when we get caught up in the details of HOW and WHAT we are working on, it is very easy to forget WHY we are doing it.

For example, at the turn of the 20th century, the Wright brothers were trying to build something that would fly with no support and very little money of their own. Meanwhile, Samuel Pierpont Langley was given full government subsidy to solve the problem of flight. But the Wright brothers got the
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Andy
Nov 17, 2012 Andy rated it it was ok
Great TED Talk, but not enough to carry a book.
Says the same platitudes over and over. The main concept that persuasive argument starts with connection, then emotions, then facts goes back to Aristotle and is nothing new.
The plus-value here would come from present real world illustrations, but this is where he trips himself up in self-contradictions. For example,
Apple Inc. is great because they are so original, i.e. they don't just copy and refine, they truly "innovate." But Southwest Airlines
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Loy Machedo
Jun 27, 2012 Loy Machedo rated it liked it
Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Start With Why by Simon Sinek

TED Talks is an incredible platform for someone to either make it or break it. And in the case of Simon Sinek, the 5 Million plus views he received on his talk not only must have catapulted him to the ‘Management Guru’ status, it also ensured his book became a New York Time Best Seller.

But here let me surprise you – The book is Great and then the Author & Book Publisher Mess it up badly.

Lets start with the fundamentals.
What made Simon
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Melissa
Nov 28, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: biz-money-econ
I was completely enthralled by the first few chapters of this book, and I found Sinek's ideas about why customers (and employees) become loyal to certain companies and not others fascinating, and I'm inspired to put these ideas into practice in my own business.

Why only two stars? After grasping the concept of starting with why (versus what or how), I found myself getting increasingly impatient by story after story after story after story of businesses and individuals who either put these ideas
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Jeff
Aug 06, 2014 Jeff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Simon Sinek presents a compelling vision of how companies, organizations, and individuals can achieve success. His simple message? Start with why. Which is to say the guiding principle of our endeavors should be based not on what we do or how we do it, but rather on why we do it. According to Sinek, those agencies that can effectively articulate their "why" (or purpose) are most likely to develop loyal followers and long term success.

Sounds great Jeff, so why just two stars? Well, there's a num
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Avolyn Fisher
May 15, 2014 Avolyn Fisher rated it did not like it
I am only on page 90 and this book is driving me nuts. I usually don't review a book or make a comment before I have finished reading it but I have to get this off of my chest so I can power through the rest.

First of all, I agree 100% with Sinek in that a company has to have an established vision and mission in which the company culture hinges upon with a unified purpose. I believe that it is important to hold yourself and your company to an ethical standard. However, beyond that I think Sinek
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Lili Manolache
Apr 08, 2013 Lili Manolache rated it it was amazing
Simon Sinek describes in his book "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" how leaders and companies should work as a series of circles, i.e. "The Golden Circle" - the why, how, and what. This idea explains why organizations and leaders inspire the others. Everybody knows what they do, some know how they do it, very few people know why they do what they do. The way we communicate, think and act is very easy: we go from the clear things we know to the more fuzzy ones. T ...more
Maggie
Jun 06, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
This book was alright, for non-fiction, I guess. It’s hard for me to gauge, given my intense loathing for non-fiction books. They’re so unenjoyable.

Sinek writes decently enough, and I totally buy what he’s dishing out, but I gotta say, by the 9th time he uses Apple or Southwest (or etc.) as an illustrative example, I’m a bit “I get it already!” It seems a bit...convenient.

He also contends that finding the WHY is not the hard part - it’s sticking to your WHY that’s difficult. If this is so true…w
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Experience Life
Feb 18, 2010 Experience Life rated it really liked it
We are easily caught up in the details of what we want to do, and how we are going to get it all done. Communications expert Simon Sinek argues that we’d be far better off if we more regularly focused on why we’re investing all that effort and activity in the first place. It’s the WHY, after all, that inspires action, that galvanizes people and keeps them going when the going gets tough. Embodying our WHYs and effectively communicating them to anyone who will listen, asserts Sinek, is crucial to ...more
Malleswari
Feb 05, 2015 Malleswari rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I read in my list. Simon Sinek, the author of the book, narrated very clear how great leaders started with WHY and inspired people.

The best part of this book is 'The Golden Circle', which has three layers of WHY at the core, followed by 'HOW', followed by 'WHAT', and which is very much similar to the biological arrangement of human brain of limbic and neocortex. If we have the clarity of WHY we do, know the HOW we can do and maintain consistency of that WHAT we do,
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Natalie
Dec 01, 2014 Natalie rated it really liked it
Start with Why is one of my all time favorite Ted Talks. This book is a longer version of the same concept. For the first few chapters, I did not feel that I was really getting any new information. However, the latter portion of the book went in to more specific examples of how great leaders have changed the face of their companies by focusing on Why.
Ricardo Sueiras
Jan 30, 2014 Ricardo Sueiras rated it liked it
I got this book via a recommendation from a friend, so I was probably one of the few that had not seen the TED talk which contains much of the information within this book.

I was interested in this book as I thought it would provide some useful insights and background into helping understand the critical success factors into driving change. I am pretty passionate about a lot of tech stuff, and looked at this book as perhaps revealing how others translate passion into action, and how these compare
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Annemieke Windt
Feb 20, 2013 Annemieke Windt rated it liked it
In his book Start with Why Simon Sinek makes a case for companies to have a clear Why as the underlying principle for doing business. Using the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King and Apple as primary examples Sinek states that companies that are clear about why they are in business have a better chance of loyality from costumers, even when the company experiences setbacks.

Sinek claims that companies that only have What they make and How they make it at the heart of their business will suffer di
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Fred Leland
Nov 28, 2011 Fred Leland rated it it was amazing
This book was very well researched and written in a way that indeed gels with the Author Simon Sinek s "WHY" of inspiring others. The book is based on the premise of most people know what they do. Some know how to do WHAT they do. But very few know WHY they do what they do. Most think from what to how and then on to why. Simon Sinek submits...start with WHY and the how and what will come naturally. By WHY he means whats our purpose,and beliefs behind what we do? The book provides great examples ...more
Chad Kettner
Jun 21, 2012 Chad Kettner rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Simon Sinek offers a life-altering and business-changing message: "Start with Why". Why do you do what you do? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should people care?

The golden circle - the "why, how, and what" - is grounded in biology. If you were to look at a cross-section of the brain from the top, you’d see that it corresponds perfectly.

Starting at the top, our ‘newest’ brain, our homo-sapien brain (also called our neocortex) is our “what” and is responsible for all our rationa
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Nick
Feb 12, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
Simon Sinek’s smart book with essentially one idea: most brands and leaders tell us to buy or follow by talking about what and how, whereas the great ones start with why. So, for example, PC manufacturers tell us to buy their computers because of the features of the machine. But Steve Jobs’ Apple tells us that they are against conformity and in favor of cool designs that make life better. They make things like computers. Now, don’t you want to buy one (and join the revolution)? A subtle shift, b ...more
Henry Manampiring
Jan 01, 2014 Henry Manampiring rated it it was ok
DON'T WASTE TIME READING THIS. WATCH THE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE INSTEAD.

I was lured by this book because of Sinek's TED video. Great video and idea, and I should have stopped there.

I feel that the book can be cut by 75% without losing its message. What's really annoying is the overuse of Apple as a example. Like, really? There are other examples in the book, the massive use of Apple story is just irritating.

Borrow the book and skim through it. But it is not worth buying. Watch the TED video for fre
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Shannon
Jan 27, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it
There were many stories and companies we could identify with and learn from. They may not have the best role models for leaders but their leaders had a clear vision of their beliefs and I learned my own why and how that will guide my decisions and growth.
Chad Warner
Jun 27, 2015 Chad Warner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chad by: Barbara Littles
This book explains that people buy from a company because they believe in its values, not because of the quality of its products or services. In Sinek’s words, “People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Customers and employees want to be part of a higher cause (your WHY), so you need to share yours and show how your products or service advance that cause. If you watch TED Talks, you’ve probably seen Sinek’s 2009 talk, How great leaders inspire action, which this book expands on.

Acco
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Tyler Suzuki Nelson
Start With Why is a book by Simon Sinek. After watching his TED talk, I decided to check out his book on the sample topic. That is, in this book, Sinek argues "How great leaders inspire everyone to take action". Although I agree with the fundamental premise of this book though, I was not impressed with the presented argument.

In his book, Sinek provides a plethora of examples of people and companies who succeed, or not, and then provides an explanation that he ties to as their WHY (their purpose)
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Terhi Salonen
OK, I know; this is like all those ten thousand other business books that claim they have some new insight on how to succeed in your business. I know that Sinek doesn't really reinvent the wheel here. And I know that if I was a bit more skeptical or cynical by nature,I wouldn't probably feel this way about the book. But.

I'm actually proud to be as wide-eyed as I am. I'm the first to admit, I get way excited very easily. The cautious ones tell me that even maybe too easily - and probably worry th
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Michelle Despres
Jun 30, 2014 Michelle Despres rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, nonfiction, us, business
Started reading the library copy and ended up buying my own copy. It's that good.

What I didn't like: A few sections dragged out a bit too long. I was tired of hearing about Apple (although Apple is a perfect example of The Golden Circle, which is what the book is about) and Southwest (although some of the Southwest stories are brilliant).

What I liked: Examples included historical and non-business stories. So many of the stories are genius. I have used some of the stories in my work to help expla
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Gs Srinivas
Nov 08, 2014 Gs Srinivas rated it it was amazing
Another great book to read, Great concepts, clearly explained and a must read for anyone struggling business, Simon used some real examples of leaders and organisations, and they succeed because they focused on why they do what they do, and best thing he says that "the role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen", he mostly used Apple as a example but that is acceptable, because Apple company knows what they doing and why they doing. I watched Simon TED video as ...more
Will
Oct 29, 2015 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't usually write reviews, and I'm not going to change that by writing a really long one. So, all I'm going to say about this book is this: If you are interested in why people are illogically passionate about some things but not others, then read this book.
Haggai
Jun 22, 2015 Haggai rated it liked it
Simon Sinek takes a great 20 minute TED talk and belabors about it too long to be interesting. He is repetitive and dilutes his message to the point of boredom. Yet nothing can take away the basic good idea behind this book- I would suggest everyone watch his TED talk to get to know it.
Tera
Jul 10, 2015 Tera rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
This should be required reading for literally everyone on the planet. It has completely changed how I look at and think about almost everything, especially writing. So insightful. Words can't express how life-changing this book is.
Shanon
Jan 25, 2016 Shanon rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for every college student and for everyone in any form of leadership role in the real world. It goes beyond "finding your passion" and gets to the real root of how to be successful. While the book focuses on businesses that are successful by pointing at the leaders and why they started in the first place it is completely applicable to everything we do in life. Why are you trying to lose 10 pounds
Why do you go to work every day
Why are you doing whatever it is
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John Britto
Jun 01, 2015 John Britto rated it really liked it
"Start with Why" by Simon Sinek is a nice inspiring book. In this book The author clearly explains how the great leaders have become leaders, What made them to become leader in their era. He inspires the people to do great work through this book. He speaks about the theory that he worked out, that is "Golden Circle". The theory goes as follows "WHY" is in the inner circle and "HOW" is the next outer circle and "WHAT" is the outer most circle. This theory exactly overlaps with biology of human br ...more
Abilash Amarasekaran
Jan 30, 2015 Abilash Amarasekaran rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for any one with a curious mind. Most of the stories are explained with reference to famous companies we know of like Microsoft and Apple. The concept is that the author explains why the companies are good in what they do and why everyone gravitates towards them. .... see I just asked two whys.

If we can grasp why we do the things we do we will be great at it. Not only greatness but the passion we have will flow to others too... but that is just part of it. I use to think th
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  • The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business
  • The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
  • Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements
  • Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences
  • Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
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  • Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
  • The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself
  • Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders
  • Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
  • Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big
  • To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win
  • Anything You Want
  • Who: The A Method for Hiring
  • The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations
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Simon Sinek is an optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.

Described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect,” Sinek teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. With a bold goal to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home everyday feeling fulfilled by their work, Sinek is leading a movement to inspire people to do the
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More about Simon Sinek...

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“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” 105 likes
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.

Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief - WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.

For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea - we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation.

Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order.

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down.

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”
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