Start with Why - Simon Sinek

Find out how great leaders can be successful, inspiring the people around them to act in search of innovation and for a life purpose.

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Do you know what Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr and Walt Disney had in common? Despite working in different areas, everyone has changed the world with their way of thinking, acting and communicating. They did this by starting with the "why".

But how did they achieve this? In this book, the author Simon Sinek explains practices for this power of inspiration to become more widespread, enabling people to create a lasting successful business that has a positive impact on everyone around.

Sounds promising, doesn't it? So come with me to find out more!

About the book "Start With Why"

The book was originally published in 2009. Since then, it has sold more than one million copies, translated into 36 languages.

In it, the author addresses the reason why some organizations are much more innovative and successful than others, even if they start under similar conditions.

In addition, it offers a different approach to motivate and inspire people. Its content is distributed in 6 main parts, developed along the 256 pages of the original version.

About the author Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is a British motivational author and speaker. He teaches from great corporate leaders to people from government agencies, diplomats and politicians to become more inspiring.

Simon became very famous after his first performance on TED Talks in 2009, which was the basis for writing this book. Since then, this presentation is the seventh most viewed in TED.

To whom is this book indicated?

The ideas of the work are indicated to anyone who wishes to inspire others and, moreover, feel satisfied and successful in their work.

In addition, it can inspire leaders who have the desire to undertake and generate transformative impact in the world.

Main ideas of the book "Start With Why"

  • Your "why" is your cause, your purpose and your mission;
  • Every really inspiring leader started with "why";
  • Knowing your "why" is essential to building lasting success;
  • When you lose track of your "why", it becomes harder to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration that were central to your initial success.

These ideas are developed throughout the 6 parts of the book. Let's know more about them?

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[Book Summary] Start With Why - Simon Sinek

Overview: A world that does not start with why

In the first part of the book, Simon Sinek talks about ways to attract customers. He states that most practices involve some kind of manipulation: price, promotion, fear, aspiration, group pressure, and innovation.

However, the author understands that these types of attraction are short-term solutions, which need to be applied constantly, resulting in a continuous cycle of manipulation.

This strategy ends up impacting long-term profits because it does not promote customer loyalty.

Thinking about it, Simon offers an alternative to this practice in the next segment of the book, discussed below.

Overview: An Alternative Perspective

In this part of the book, Simon Sinek explains one of the most important parts of his approach: the Golden Circle.

It consists of three concentric circles with the word "why" in the center, surrounded by the circle of "how" and the farthest is the "what".

The Golden Circle

Source: adapted from the book

WHAT: describes the activities carried out by the company. Any company in the world knows exactly what it produces. It is the easiest and most noticeable part of the circle.

HOW: it illustrates how the "WHAT" is done. Most companies know how they do what they do. Normally, it is something that differentiates the company in the market, as a proposal of exclusive value, for example.

WHY: this is where the differential is found since most companies can not conceive why they do what they do. The author clarifies that it does not mean making money, according to him, this is a result of his activity. This part of the circle defines your mission, why your business exists and why it should be important to someone.

The book "Start With Why" shows that inspiring business leaders think of this circle from the inside out, that is, they base their actions and thoughts initially on the "why", then the "how" and ultimately the "what."

Thinking in this way, the company can captivate the loyalty of its consumers, because, according to Simon Sinek, people do not buy what you do, but why you do it.

Overview: Leaders Need Followers

The best companies hire people who are already motivated and who believe in their "why". This type of company can inspire its employees, making them more productive and innovative.

The inspiring leaders we mentioned earlier did not change the world by acting alone. They achieved such achievements because other people believed in their "whys" and, from there, they began to spread the ideas and attitudes propagated by these leaders.

However, one must know how to captivate and unite those people who believe in you and your purposes.

Overview: Joining those who believe

Simon Sinek highlights the difference between energy and charisma. A leader who speaks energetically makes people feel excited and motivated to work. However, this feeling does not last very long.

Charisma, on the other hand, is an inherent characteristic of all great leaders. This is because they have a clear perception of their "why", allowing them to believe strongly in a cause or purpose greater than themselves.

The author also explains that a charismatic leader doesn't necessarily need to be energetic. A great example of this is Bill Gates.

His personality is shy and reclusive, but his charisma makes people feel inspired by him and share his great ideal. This makes your employees loyal to your cause.

Overview: The biggest challenge is the success

It is common to confuse achievement with success. The author explains that achievement is something tangible and measurable, that is, something that you acquire or achieve, as a goal. You get accomplished when you get WHAT you want.

Success, on the other hand, is much more personal and feels like a state of mind. You feel successful when you understand WHY you want to accomplish something.

Our achievements are as flags that indicate we are on the right track in the pursuit of success, which is our greatest challenge.

Overview: Discover Why

You should have heard that market research is the most important part of the preparation before starting a business. From it, the book "Start With Why" says that you can identify your consumer audience and build your product according to your market niche.

The author, however, does not agree with this. He believes, of course, that the most important part is to discover and understand his "why". This is a process of discovery, not invention.

According to Simon Sinek, you have to look in the opposite direction from the one you are in at the moment. Your "why" is inside you.

Once you have identified this motive, the hardest part is to stay true to it, so the author believes that you yourself are your biggest and best competitor.

What do other authors say about it?

In the book by Flávio Augusto, "Value Generation", he shows how, instead of working only for capital, it is important to generate value for customers. By generating value in the lives of other people in return they will generate value for you.

For John C. Maxwell, author of the "Leadership Gold", the best leaders are those who know how to listen. Listeners know what's going on because they are attentive. They learn better than others because they absorb from different places. In addition, good listeners have the ability to see other people's strengths and weaknesses better.

In "Developing the Leader Within You 2.0", John Maxwell discusses the importance of the leader demonstrating that he cares about his team and developing leaders among them. In addition, he works with the idea that 80% of his efforts must be channeled into 20% of his most important priorities in order to achieve his goals.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

The main lessons we can draw from this work are:

  • Understanding and staying true to your why is essential to sustaining a continuous and lasting success;
  • Your decisions should be guided by your primary purpose;
  • Keep your why alive within your organization;
  • Invest in people who believe in and share your ideas.

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Book 'Start With Why'

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