The inspiring, life-changing bestseller by the author of LEADERS EAT LAST and TOGETHER IS BETTER.
In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who've watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time.
Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won't truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
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.
"Start with Why is one of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead."
-WILLIAM URY, coauthor of Getting to Yes
"Start with Why fanned the flames inside me. This book can lead you to levels of excellence you never considered attainable."
-GENERAL CHUCK HORNER, air boss, Desert Storm
"Each story will force you to see things from an entirely different perspective. A perspective that is nothing short of the truth."
-MOKHTAR LAMANI, former ambassador, special envoy to Iraq
ASSUME YOU KNOW
On a cold January day, a forty-three-year-old man was
sworn in as the chief executive of his country. By his side
stood his predecessor, a famous general who, fifteen years
earlier, had commanded his nation's armed forces in a war
that resulted in the defeat of Germany. The young leader
was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. He spent the next
fi ve hours watching parades in his honor and stayed up
celebrating until three o'clock in the morning.
You know who I'm describing, right?
It's January 30, 1933, and I'm describing Adolf Hitler and not,
as most people would assume, John F. Kennedy.
The point is, we make assumptions. We make assumptions
about the world around us based on sometimes incomplete or false
information. In this case, the information I offered was incomplete.
Many of you were convinced that I was describing John F. Kennedy
until I added one minor little detail: the date.
This is important because our behavior is affected by our assumptions
or our perceived truths. We make decisions based on
what we think we know. It wasn't too long ago that the majority of
people believed the world was flat. This perceived truth impacted behavior.
During this period, there was very little exploration. People
feared that if they traveled too far they might fall off the edge
of the earth. So for the most part they stayed put. It wasn't until
that minor detail was revealed-the world is round-that behaviors
changed on a massive scale. Upon this discovery, societies
began to traverse the planet. Trade routes were established; spices
were traded. New ideas, like mathematics, were shared between societies
which unleashed all kinds of innovations and advancements.
The correction of a simple false assumption moved the human race
Now consider how organizations are formed and how decisions
are made. Do we really know why some organizations succeed and
why others don't, or do we just assume? No matter your defi nition
of success-hitting a target stock price, making a certain amount
of money, meeting a revenue or profi t goal, getting a big promotion,
starting your own company, feeding the poor, winning public
office-how we go about achieving our goals is very similar. Some
of us just wing it, but most of us try to at least gather some data so
we can make educated decisions. Sometimes this gathering process
is formal-like conducting polls or market research. And
sometimes it's informal, like asking our friends and colleagues for
advice or looking back on our own personal experience to provide
some perspective. Regardless of the process or the goals, we all want
to make educated decisions. More importantly, we all want to make
the right decisions.
As we all know, however, not all decisions work out to be the
right ones, regardless of the amount of data we collect. Sometimes
the impact of those wrong decisions is minor, and sometimes it can
be catastrophic. Whatever the result, we make decisions based on a
perception of the world that may not, in fact, be completely accurate.
Just as so many were certain that I was describing John F.
Kennedy at the beginning of this section. You were certain you were
right. You might even have bet money on it-a behavior based on
an assumption. Certain, that is, until I offered that little detail of
Not only bad decisions are made on false assumptions. Sometimes
when things go right, we think we know why, but do we really?
That the result went the way you wanted does not mean you
can repeat it over and over. I have a friend who invests some of his
own money. Whenever he does well, it's because of his brains and
ability to pick the right stocks, at least according to him. But when
he loses money, he always blames the market. I have no issue with
either line of logic,
"A powerful and penetrating exploration of what separates great companies and great leaders from the rest."--Polly LaBarre, co-author of "Mavericks at Work."