Start With Why – by Simon Sinek

Start With Why – by Simon Sinek ‘How great leaders inspire everyone to take action’ ‘Start With Why’ is a great book about a massive mistake a lot of people are making. Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, based on the principles in this book, is the third most viewed of all time. Essentially, he argues that people make a fundamental error when they try to sell based on WHAT they do. “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it”. Grab a copy of the book here:


Here is a dot point summary of the book!


Grab a copy of the book here:


Part 1: A world that doesn’t start with why


‘How great leaders inspire everyone to take action’


  • Every instruction we give, every course of action we set, every result we desire starts with the same thing: a decision


Chapter 2 – Carrots and Sticks


Manipulation vs inspiration

  • If companies don’t know why their customers are their customers, odds are that they don’t know why their employees are there employees either



  • Playing the price game can come at tremendous cost, (short term wins)
  • The more you do it, the harder it becomes to kick the habit




  • Fear, real or perceived is the most powerful manipulation of the lot
  • Fear of going to a lesser known brand of being wrong
  • Fear that your job is on the line if something went wrong
  • We use gear to raise our kids, motivate people to obey ethics, ublic service ads, promote safety, aids etc
  • “This is your brain on drugs”



  • Implementing systems for the results you desire only to find yourself at the same habits two weeks later

Peer Pressure

Novelty aka innovation


Manipulations definitely work , every one can influence a behaviour

However there are trade offs, not a single one breeds loyalty

The main gains are short term


  • Manipulations lead to transactions, not loyalty
  • Perfect for driving transactions that is required only for 1 or rare occasions


Just because it works doesn’t make it right

  • Employees are encouraged with bonuses for short sighted decision making


Part 2 An alternative perspective


Chapter 3 – the golden circle 

  • Why – how – what
  • There are a few leaders who choose to inspire rather than manipulate
  • Golden circle shows how leaders were able to inspire action rather than manipulate to act



What – what you do

How – differentiating value proposing, unique selling proposition

Why – purpose/belief


We make great computers

They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly

Wanna buy one




Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently

The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly

And we happen to make great computers

Wanna buy one?



  • Apple didn’t introduce the ipd until 22 months after Creative, who came up with the tech first
  • Creative said 5GB MP3 player
  • Apple said 1000 songs in your pocket
  • Companies who are just worried about why do not need to differentiate themselves


Chapter 4 – This is not opinion, this is biology

  • People are willing to pay more, go to extreme lengths simply to feel like they were part of a group
  • When a company successfully communicates their why, we will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to include those products and brands in our lives
  • Apple users bond with each other


  • Limbic brain is in the center, neocortex is on the outside
  • Limbic is how we feel , neocortex helps us understand facts and figures, language etc


  • The ability to win hearts before minds is not easy
  • Absent a why, a decision is harder to make
  • Great leaders start with why, trust their gut
  • Henry Ford said “if I asked what people wanted, they would have said a faster horse”
  • If people made only rational decisions, no one would ever bu a mac. People don’t just buy them, they love them. A feeling that comes from the limbic brain


Chapter 5 – Clarity discipline and consistency

  • Clarity of why
  • Discipline of how… Hows are your values or principles that guide how you bring your cause to life
  • Consistency of what – are the results of the actions, results of the how
  • Authenticity cannot be achieved without clarity of why
  • It is authenticity that produces the relationships upon which all the best sales organizations are based


  • When the golden circle is in balance, all those who share the organizations view will be attracted to it and its products like a moth to a light bulb


  • Brad goes on a date, page 76



Part 3 Leaders need a following

Chapter 6 – the emergence of trust


  • 1914 , Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set out on Endurance, to reach Antarctica which they never did
  • Ship went down
  • Endurance journeyed across 800 miles of rough sea on life boats to find help
  • No one turned on each other and started eating each other, they all had the same why
  • Shackletons ad was “small wages, bitter cold, months of darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success”
  • The only people who applied were those who read it and thought it sounded great


  • All great leaders have the ability to find good fits for their organization
  • You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude
  • “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


Langley vs Wright

  • Langley got huge funding and assembled the best and brightest mind of his day
  • Huge budget
  • A few hundred miles away the Wright brothers had no recipe for success and no money
  • They knew why it was important to build the thing, Langley was just out for individual success
  • In 1903 the Wright brothers took a 59 second flight at an altitude of 120 feed at jogging speed


Innovation happens at the edges

  • Paying someone a lot of money and asking them to come up with great ideas ensures very little
  • Steve Jobs didn’t come up with the iphone, others inside the company did. Jobs gave the filter/context
  • Thomas Edison



  • There are always those who will take the risk. For the first time or repeatedly without the net. There will always be those who are willing to explore regardless of who is holding down the fort. These people sometimes earn their rightful spots as the innovators. These people earn their spots as the innovators. Some may advance a society, and some may end up dead before they achieve anything



Chapter 7 – how a tipping point tips

  • Connectors and influences
  • Marketers are always trying to market to the influences but few really know how
  • Innovators are the small percentage of population that challenges the rest of us to see and think of the world differently
  • The early majority are slightly more comfortable with new ideas
  • Further down the curve you encounter the people who may need what you have, but don’t necessarily believe what you believe
  • The early majority need a personal recommendation
  • You need to penetrate about 15-18% of the market
  • You can manipulate to get to them


  • Goal of the business should not be to sell to anyone that wants what you have
  • But find the people who believe what you believe
  • The why is how you cross the chasm between early adopters and early majority
  • People who market to the masses fail


Part 4 How to rally those who believe

Chapter 8 – start with why but know how

  • Energy can excite, but only charisma commands loyalty
  • Those who know their why need those who know how


  • Most people are HOW types, quite functional in the real world and do their jobs really well
  • But they will never change the world
  • Most why types end up as starving visionaries , people with all the answers but never accomplishing much themselves


Chapter 9 – Know why , know how, then what?


Chapter 10 – communication is not about speaking, its about listening

  • Filtering your decisions through your WHY you spend less time at the super market and you spend less money


Part 5 the biggest challenge is success

Chapter 11 – When why goes fuzzy

Chapter 12 – Split happens

  • At the beginning ideas are fueled by passion
  • People take on the business with 90% chance of failure
  • As $ goes up and success happens , success is the biggest challenge


Part 6 Discover Why

Chapter 13 – the origins of why

  • Finding a why is the process of discovery, not invention

Chapter 14 – the new competition


If asked, are you better than your competition?

  • If you believe what we believe and you think our things can help, then we are better
  • If you don’t believe what we believe and the things wont help you, then we are not
  • If everyone started with WHY, decisions would be easier, loyalties would be greater


Related Posts :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *