Start with Why – Simon Sinek Book Summary

Start with Why – Simon Sinek | Free Book Summary

Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called PASSION

Start with the End Result in Mind

The assumptions we make have a significant impact on our actions. Looking at the bigger picture and considering your end result when planning will lead to better long-term results.

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Sinek also uses this metaphor when talking about leadership. He describes two types of leader:

Those who manipulate circumstances to reach their end result.

Those who have their end result and potential issues in mind from the beginning.Free book, podcast summaries

The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.

The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is formed of three parts: ‘Why,’ ‘How’ and ‘What.’

  • What: The What of a company relates to the product that a company provides. The What of a company is the outer layer of the circle.
  • How: The How of a company relates to the approaches a company adopts. Other terms used for the How of a company are the differentiating value proposition or a unique selling point.


It is the inner core of the golden circle- try to ask these –

  • Why does your company exist?
  • Why should anyone care?

Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?

The Secret

A most successful company starts with WHY (from the core of the golden circle), but the others start with WHAT (just like, “If you buy this, you will get this specification”).

The best example can be Apple – Firstly, Apple provides a strong and clear “why”: to challenge the status quo and empower the individual. This “why” is repeated in all they say and do, plus in their products. This clear message helps Apple beat its competitors.

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

The Biological Basis of Golden Circle

The What level is directly related to our neocortex. The neocortex is a brain area specialized for rational and analytical thought and language. That said, the neocortex does not drive behavior. Instead, it merely allows us to consider vast amounts of data.

The How and Why of The Golden Circle are both associated with the limbic brain, which is specialized for feelings like trust and loyalty. This area of the brain is responsible for all human behavior and decision-making.

Thus if you start with why you will be directly connecting with the limbic brain and there will be better decision making.

Start With Why But Know How

Any worker or individual can have the energy to motivate people. But, the most important thing to becoming a great leader is to be charismatic. Charisma is a skill that inspires people around you. This charisma is tied to a leader’s Why. They have a belief in a greater purpose than themselves when they are considering their organization.

“How leaders” can be successful They are rarely the individuals (like Bill Gates) who will become billionaires who create products that change the world. Although the Why has a higher ceiling of potential, a Why still needs a How behind them to become successful.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.

Know Why. Know How. Then What?

When a company is small, the founder heavily influences its image. The founder will have a substantial amount of direct contact with their consumers. 

That said, as the company grows, the leader’s role changes. They will no longer be the most vocal part of the organization. They will instead become the source of the organization’s message.

As leaders, we must learn how to create tangible things through metaphors, imagery, and analogies. This is what a company’s marketing strategy should focus on: utilizing symbols to show the world the company’s message.

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