Book Review: Start with Why

Start with Why by Simon Sinek is a personal favorite of mine and should be in every leader’s tool box. I have suggested this book to many other leaders and we reference it often. I have shared the book with the urgent care leadership team and we have read it and discussed it as a group.

If it has not occurred to you yet, the key question you should ask at this point is, well, why?

I’m glad you asked…


The Golden Circle

The main thesis of the book is that the greatest leaders and the greatest companies describe why they do what they do before they describe how they do it and what they do. Sinek calls this model the “Golden Circle” (pictured). He provides many examples and evidence for how this approach has been used by the Wright Brothers, Apple, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The book goes on to explain how the Golden Circle works biologically. Sinek touches on other crucial concepts as well like the diffusion of innovation curve. His argument is compelling and, like in Leader of One, inspires us to go deeper and to take action to define our personal, “Why”.

If you are curious to learn more about the value or starting with why, please watch this TED Talk by Simon Sinek:

I cannot tell you how helpful it is to be in a meeting with others who have read this book. I find that the more I get into the details on something, the more I risk, “losing the forest for the trees”. It is very easy to lose the big picture, which Sinek touches on towards the end of the book in the section, “The Biggest Challenge is Success”.

When I am in meetings or environments where everyone has read this book, it creates a needed check and balance when we start to put “what” and “how” over “why”. It always brings a smile to my face when someone speaks up in a discussion to ask, “So why are we doing this?”

The book offers an extremely important tool for teams to use to make sure that they are keeping the mission and vision in mind in daily decision making. In other words, Sinek’s concepts promote keeping the many activities of a complex organization in alignment to the organizations, “why”.

So next time you are in a situation where the group is about to do something because it seems like a good idea, but is really unaligned or outside of the organization’s scope, speak up and ask “Why are we doing this?” or “How is this action going to help us achieve our mission and vision?” Thanks to Sinek, many more of us have the tools to ask these essential questions.

Sinek closes his books with a simple request, “If this book inspired you, please pass it on to someone you want to inspire”. I found that simple ask to be very powerful. I have personally shared Sinek’s books with many.

I would ask you the same: if you find this site helpful and/or inspiring, please share the URL and ideas with others. Thank you.

TAKE-AWAY: Ask, “Why” to make sure that operational decisions are aligned with the mission and vision of the organization. Take the time to find your personal why.

Start with Why is available for purchase on Amazon for *$16

Companion: Find your Why is available for purchase on Amazon for *$20

*Prices do not reflect Amazon prime discount

Sinek offers a free daily email called, “Notes to Inspire”. To sign up, click here.