Start with Why by Simon Sinek (Summary + Review)

Each month at Dotedison, we go through a book that has benefitted the way we do our work. Last month, we talked about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, where we learned that being a leader is more than what you do, it’s who you are. This month, we’ll be going through Start with Why by Simon Sinek. 

This book focuses on the why not just of marketing or business, but of life. The whole book is based on the premise that, to be truly happy, everything we do needs to have a reason. Below, we’ll give our summary and wrap up with our overall review.

Start with Why: Summary

Sinek’s entire book is based on the theory that humans are drawn to the pursuit of meaning. Even doing everyday things like grocery shopping show how we desire to make meaning for ourselves. When we’re faced with a choice between two products, we will choose the one that stands out more to us, or, in other words, the one we believe says something positive about us. It’s the reason that you might choose an Apple iPhone over the hundreds of cheaper, higher-quality alternatives.

From this foundation, Sinek describes several concepts to help you implement why into your personal life and your work environment, all with the belief that giving yourself and your workers a strong “why” will inspire them, ultimately making them more loyal, happy employees.

The Golden Circle Explained

Perhaps one of the best-known and most-used concepts is The Golden Circle. Sinek is famous for his TedTalks, and this is one idea that gained a lot of traction after one of these speeches but is now foundational to Start with Why.

the golden circle

The general concept is that, although you must start with why and keep it at the core of everything you do, it is not enough to have a “why” by itself. After all, the book isn’t just called “Why,” but rather, Start with Why. Once you’ve established your why, you should build on top of it in a concentric circle where the next layer is “how.” Answering your how is more than just the literal logistical plan, but rather that how you do your job is important and must always support the why.

The third and final concentric circle is “what.” In a world without “why,” “what” just becomes pointless data of the results of your “how.” But when it’s a part of The Golden Circle, the what serves as proof of the why, showing that what you believe in is worthwhile.

The Golden Circle, while mostly conceptual, has many real-world applications that can bring new life to your business. It also is the one idea Sinek presents that most greatly summarizes the whole of this book.

Our Review

Start with Why should be required reading for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of marketing and business. So many businesses out there suffer for a lack of unifying reason for existing, but with understanding why giving people a vision is so important, it can guide and direct companies and their marketing towards a better, more engaging future. Without a doubt, we recommend this book!