Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek

Start with Why

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action is a great book about leaders and leadership by Simon Sinek.

Why certain leaders or companies are successful, and others are not? Because “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” It’s a simple idea but it carries important consequences, if you believe in it. Said in other words, it means that why you do something is a lot more important than what you do or even how you do it. Only the Why can inspire people to follow you or buy your products.

Simon Sinek explains in the preface of his book that he “discovered” the importance of WHY at a time when he had fallen out of love with his work. It may have happened to you at some point in your life also. But then, the discovery of the WHY, he says, “Changed my view of the world and … restored my passion to a degree multiple times greater than at any other time in my life”. 

How to be an inspiring leader, according to Sinek, can be learned, it is not limited to “natural-born leaders”. If we learn to start with the WHY, and we are disciplined, we can all become inspiring leaders, or at least this is what Sinek tell us in his book.

Top 30 Quotes from Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Trust is maintained when values and beliefs are actively managed. If companies do not actively work to keep clarity, discipline and consistency in balance, then trust starts to break down.”— Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.”— Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action



“Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Some in management positions operate as if they are in a tree of monkeys. They make sure that everyone at the top of the tree looking down sees only smiles. But all too often, those at the bottom looking up see only asses.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Henry Ford summed it up best. “If I had asked people what they wanted,” he said, “they would have said a faster horse.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Innovation is not born from the dream, innovation is born from the struggle.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“That’s the problem with love; we only know when we’ve found it because it “just feels right.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place, and WHAT can we do to bring our cause to life considering all the technologies and market opportunities available today?” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Charisma has nothing to do with energy; it comes from a clarity of WHY. It comes from absolute conviction in an ideal bigger than oneself. Energy, in contrast, comes from a good night’s sleep or lots of caffeine. Energy can excite. But only charisma can inspire. Charisma commands loyalty. Energy does not.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea – we have a clear idea of how to act in any situation.”— Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it, good fortune or navigating internal politics. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“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.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“If the leader of the organization can’t clearly articulate WHY the organization exists in terms beyond its products or services, then how does he expect the employees to know WHY to come to work?” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

“Studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. If more knew how to build organizations that inspire, we could live in a world in which that statistic was the reverse – a world in which over 80 percent of people loved their jobs. People who love going to work are more productive and more creative. They go home happier and have happier families. They treat their colleagues and clients and customers better. Inspired employees make for stronger companies and stronger economies.”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Simon Sinek

Sinek was born in Wimbledon, London, and as a child lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, London, and Hong Kong before the family settling in the United States. He studied law at London’s City University, but left law school to go into advertising. He received a BA in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University.

Sinek began his career at the New York ad agencies Euro RSCG and Ogilvy & Mather. He later launched his own business, Sinek Partners.

Sinek has written five books. Start With Why, was his first book, and it was published October 2009. His second book, titled Leaders Eat Last, appeared on the bestseller lists of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk Start with Why is now the 3rd most watched TED talk of all times, with more than 30 million views, but reading the book is absolutely worthwhile.

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