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Simon Sinek

How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

4.6 (1207 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Simon Sinek's 'Start with Why' encourages individuals and organizations to define their why—their deeper reason for existing. With examples from companies like Apple, Sinek explores how prioritizing purpose over profit leads to success.

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    Start with Why (Old Version)
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    How to inspire . . . and how not to

    All right! The goal here is to turn you into an inspirational leader – if you aren’t one already. Before that can happen, though, you need to understand what inspiration actually is and how it works. And to understand inspiration, it’s best to first understand its opposite.

    Sinek identifies two main ways to influence the behavior of others, whether they’re your employees or customers: inspiration and manipulation. And while companies want to be inspirational, many of them are actually manipulative. 

    Mind you, “manipulation” here doesn’t mean brainwashing people into buying products or anything; it refers to a strategy of laying out incentives. Basically, it means the carrot and the stick. Just think of the plethora of marketing messages you’re bombarded with every day. Half off, for a limited time only! Supplies limited! Buy two, get one free! These are anything that pushes consumers to buy – think clearance sales, advertising hype, and appeals to authority with claims like “Four out of five dentists prefer Trident.” Manipulation is a popular strategy – and it’s effective, too. The only problem is that it doesn’t work over the long haul.

    That’s because manipulation doesn’t breed loyal customers. When you manipulate your customers, they come to you for the good deals, not because they like you. This becomes painfully visible in tough economic times; when you have to raise your prices, your customers will desert you for a better offer, because they never cared about you or your product in the first place. And why would they? You didn’t inspire them. You just incentivized them.

    Okay, now let’s shift to the other side of the spectrum and talk about an inspirational company – let’s talk about Apple.

    Apple presents us with a very interesting example – almost a mind-boggling one. Because, on the face of it, there’s really nothing special about the company. Apple is a corporate structure like any other. It makes computers, just like Dell and Toshiba do. It also makes phones, but so does Samsung. Sure, its products are beautifully designed and work seamlessly, but so do products that other companies make. Sometimes Apple does well, sometimes not so much, and when it comes to its products or business operations, there’s plenty of criticism out there. Maybe the most noteworthy knock on Apple is that it doesn’t really offer any good deals on its products. For $1000, you could get the new iPhone . . . or you could have two brand-new Samsungs that do almost exactly the same things – or even more. But look closely. Apple doesn’t pull any carrot-and-stick trickery. It doesn’t offer any incentives. But when a new iPhone is released, what happens? People go crazy for it. They don’t do that for Samsung’s phones. 

    It’s fair to say that Apple’s customers are so committed to their brand that they behave irrationally. So the big question here is: How does Apple pull that off?

    The short answer is that Apple is inspirational. And here’s the somewhat longer one: customers deeply care about Apple because Apple starts with why. Or, as Sinek put it in his now-famous TED Talk, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Let’s dig a little deeper.

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    What is Start with Why (Old Version) about?

    Start With Why (2011) tackles a fundamental question: What makes some organizations and people more innovative, influential, and profitable than others? Based on best-selling author Simon Sinek’s hugely influential lecture of the same name, the third most-watched TED talk of all time, these blinks unpack the answer to that conundrum. As Sinek’s examples from the business world, politics, and technology show, it’s all about asking “Why?” rather than “What?”

    Start with Why (Old Version) Review

    Start with Why (Old Version) (2009) by Simon Sinek is a book that explores the importance of starting with a clear purpose and why it matters for individuals and organizations. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • This book provides valuable insights on how having a clear sense of purpose can drive success and inspire others to take action.
    • With a mix of compelling stories and real-world examples, it demonstrates the power of why and helps readers uncover their own purpose.
    • By focusing on the importance of why, this book presents a fresh perspective on leadership and motivates readers to think differently about their own work and goals.

    Who should read Start with Why (Old Version)?

    • Managers and team leaders 
    • Entrepreneurs building their brand 
    • Self-starters in need of a bit of inspiration

    About the Author

    Simon Sinek is a self-professed optimist determined to create a better and brighter future for humanity. An influential speaker and coach, Sinek has helped organizations around the world, like Microsoft, American Express, the United Nations, and the Pentagon, inspire their employees. He is also the author of Leaders Eat Last and Together is Better.

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    Start with Why (Old Version) FAQs 

    What is the main message of Start with Why (Old Version)?

    The main message of Start with Why (Old Version) is the importance of understanding the purpose behind our actions and how it drives success.

    How long does it take to read Start with Why (Old Version)?

    The reading time for Start with Why (Old Version) varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Start with Why (Old Version) a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Start with Why (Old Version) is worth reading for its insights on purpose-driven leadership and how it can transform organizations. It offers valuable lessons in just 15 minutes.

    Who is the author of Start with Why (Old Version)?

    Simon Sinek is the author of Start with Why (Old Version).

    How many chapters are in Start with Why (Old Version)?

    Start with Why (Old Version) has 13 chapters.

    1. Assume You Know
    2. Carrots and Sticks
    3. Why Start with Why?
    4. Knowing Your Why
    5. Leaders Need a Following
    6. How to Rally Those Who Believe
    7. The Emergence of Trust
    8. How to Build Trust
    9. The Biology of Trust
    10. Leadership Lessons from the Military
    11. A Lasting Trust
    12. The Origins of a Why
    13. The New Competition

    How many pages are in Start with Why (Old Version)?

    Start with Why (Old Version) contains 256 pages.

    When was Start with Why (Old Version) published?

    Start with Why (Old Version) was published in 2009.

    What to read after Start with Why (Old Version)?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Start with Why (Old Version), here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Find Your WHY by Simon Sinek
    • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz
    • Good to Great by Jim Collins
    • Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
    • The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek
    • Leadership Is Language by David Marquet
    • Drive by Daniel Pink
    • Don't Overthink It by Anne Bogel
    • The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell