Start with Why 

By: Simon Sinek

Overview (from the book):

START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the 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.


  • Optimistic mindset
  • New/Different perspective on a business’s culture/viability (new to me)
  • Fitting and meaningful examples throughout
  • Simple
  • Keeps the focus on the main thing – even more so than most books I’ve read
  • Fitting examples


  • Feels repetitive at times – Could be edited to a shorter read from 230 pages


Start with Why is a somewhat different take on leadership than many other leadership books I have read.  It offers a fresh perspective, which is “Why?”, rather than just the how do effectively do something or what you and your company might do well.  When a leader or company starts with why it does what it does, the impact long term potential rise significantly.  How you do something is equally important, but it must come after the why.  What you do, while important to do well, is extremely short term and only leads to temporary successes.  Sinek focuses on breaking down the Golden Circle (and cone) which has Why? as the center and top of the cone, followed by How? then What?

Why would someone wait 6 months to get a Harley Davidson when they can buy a Kawasaki, Honda, etc.… today?  The “what” of taking that long to deliver on an order is clearly a weakness, but it is overcome by the strength of the “why” for Harley Davidson and its followers.  Other great examples are Dr. Martin Luther King, Microsoft, Southwest Airlines, TiVo and many more (both good and bad which provides excellent content).

The same principles apply to an individual leader of a company or mission.  Charisma is what Why looks like.  Energy and drive represent How.  Charisma inspires and creates loyalty; energy creates short term excitement and short-term results.  Charisma comes from a clarity of Why.


I would recommend Start with Why to my team and clients.  When applied with other literature that delves more into the fundamentals (How and What) such as 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Drive, and Good to Great, the reader will have a well rounded set of tools to successfully build a long term company or team.