Start With Why - A Book Review

Start With Why* is a book about inspiring people. It is written by inspirational speaker Simon Sinek. I first discovered Simon through his lectures that you can find on youtube. I have saved some and stored them on a playlist here.

The book starts out very simply on how you present your company. This seems like a great topic for leadership to read about :). Instead of presenting your words in WHAT we do, start by saying WHY you do things. They give the example of Apple that really stuck for me;

Wrong:
We make great computers.
They are beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
Wanna buy one?

Right:
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?

(Start With Why*; pg40-41, ch 3: The Golden Circle)

I really like how the latter is phrased. Starting with WHY gives you the context that hits the cord of the human brain (see chapter 4; this is not opinion, this is biology) . People are instinctive passionate people. In his research he finds that if it takes a long time to make a decision you start doing comparisons and the company you go with matters less. At that point you are doing feature/differentiation comparisons.

In Chapter 5 (Clarity, Discipline, and Consistency) he has an example about Southwest Airline and their success story. I'd actually never heard about it before so it was really interesting to me. He also discussed about how Southwest had a great WHY and HOW. Then he goes on to talk about the failed attempt of United and Delta and their less expensive offerings Song and Ted, respectively. He pointed out really they were the same thing, so why did one fail over the other? To me it boiled down to 2 things, 1) the failed airlines didn't have a why, so you only had comparisons (price, offerings), and 2) no loyalty. Loyalty comes from WHY. I really liked this statement from Senik, "There are many ways to motivate people to do things, but loyalty comes from the ability to inspire people. Only when the WHY is clear and when people believe what you believe can a true loyal relationship develop." (Start With Why*, pg73).

Later in the chapter he compares selling someone on a product with dating. Amusing and he isn't wrong, but felt repetitive. He shows his typical example where someone explains all the what's first. Then the rephrased one starting with why. It is interesting, he is proving that it really is the same and it is biological. People leap at a gut reaction and when you start with WHY, you do that. Interesting takeaway, it is.

So that is part 1 and 2 of the book in review for me. I'll make a follow up post about part 3 and beyond. So far, 10/10 would read again.

* : I really enjoyed this book so far. I post links out to Amazon and I may earn a small commission though your purchase if you choose to buy this book.

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